September 2010 Archives
Someday in the not too distant future, I will be taking my PE exam. On that magical day, I will no longer be spending all my free time studying for said exam, and may once again write something on this here forum on a more regular basis. Someday. But at least today you get some more of my expert advice.
NY GIANTS (-3) over Tennessee
Daytrader and I had a long heart-to-heart about the Giants last week during half time of their butt whupping by the Colts. Ultimately, we feel it came down to the coaching. The Giants came out in a dime defense, which means you take out all your big fat linemen and play the pass. The Colts responded by saying, "Thank you very much," putting all their big fat linemen in, and then running the ball down the Giants gullet.
Merely a week after watching Houston run up and down the field on the Colts, the Giants, perplexingly, came out throwing. Then, down three scores at the half, they had to keep throwing and throwing. All those drop backs gave Freeney and Mathis, the Colts defensive ends, lots of opportunities to sack Eli. And sack him they did, including a strip-sack that led directly to a Colts touchdown.
In short, the Giants coaches were outsmarted. Or they outsmarted themselves. This week, they get back at home against a Tennessee team that suddenly looks out of sorts. And with Chris Johnson coming to down, I don't expect to see them try that dime defense bullshit again.
At least, these are the things I tell myself so I can sleep at night.
NEW ENGLAND (-14.5) over Buffalo
I give you your suicide pool whipping boys of 2010, the Buffalo Bills!
Cleveland (+10.5) over BALTIMORE
I don't have alot of rules in life, but this is rule #1: never take a team favored by more points than they have scored in a game all season. Baltimore has only scored 10 points in each of their first two games.
TAMPA BAY (+2.5) over Pittsburgh
Once you are done laughing, listen up: Pittsburgh is going to be starting their eighth string QB this weekend (I think Steelers starting quarterback is up their with cop and fireman as the most dangerous job in America right now), and Tampa Bay showed they can stop a team with a shitty quarterback and a good running game (Carolina). So I'll take the points at home, thank you very much.
Cincinatti (-3) over CAROLINA
What, exactly, happened to Matt Moore? The way that bandwagon crashed it looks like it was driven by Dale Earnhardt.
Atlanta (+4) over NEW ORLEANS
Here's the real question: which QB should I start in my fantasy league, Drew Brees or Matt Ryan?
KANSAS CITY (+3) over San Fransisco
Wait, you mean I get a 2-0 team hosting an 0-2 team AND three points?
Detroit (+11) over MINNESOTA
See Rule #1: Minnesota scored 9 points week 1 and 10 in week 2, and yet is favored by 11 here. This is my upset pick of the week: I say Detroit wins outright and ends Minnesota's season.
HOUSTON (-2.5) over Dallas
Is this a misprint? It's only 2.5 points, not 12.5 points? Because I would still take Houston. Dallas is done. I tried to warn you, Suze.
Washington (-2.5) over ST. LOUIS
What a choke job by Washington. Nice job blitzing on fourth and ten, leaving the best wide receiver in the game in single coverage. Although when Gary Kubiak elected to punt instead of kick the 53-yard field goal (or just trying for the first down) inside Washington territory in overtime, I thought that was game over for Houston. What a total lack of testicular fortitude.
Philadelphia (-2.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Andy Reid's mistake wasn't making Michael Vick the starter. It was making such a big deal out of Kevin Kolb in the first place. We're talking about KEVIN KOLB, for fuck's sake. Andy Reid once again proves Rule #2: Walrus' are terrible at making decisions. Don't let a walrus coach your football team.
DENVER (+5.5) over Indianapolis
Hold your horses, Colts fans (get it?) Denver isn't liable to hand the game over to you the way the Giants did last Sunday night. Let's see them earn one first before making them heavy road favorites.
SEATTLE (+5.5) over San Diego
This line is an over-reaction. Seattle is still a very tough place to visiting teams to play.
ARIZONA (-4.5) over Oakland
Let's just keep going, okay?
MIAMI (-2) over NY Jets
I'm not saying that drunk driving is ever okay, but isn't it a hundred times worse when a rich guy does it? Braylon Edwards could pay a guy $100k a year just to drive him around when he's drunk, the same way Plaxico could pay a guy $100k a year to carry his gun for him. At least when a poor guy is doing it, he can justify it: what was he supposed to do, leave his car there?
Green Bay (-3) over CHICAGO
Wow, you mean Chicago beat both Detroit AND Dallas! That's amazing, that they were able to beat those two horrible teams, only one of whom they technically should have lost to. Give me a break.
Last week: 4-11-1
Here are this weeks picks (home team is listed in CAPS).
Kansas City (+2) over CLEVELAND
In wagering on Cleveland last week, its not that I forgot Jake Delhomme was their quarterback, per se; its that I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt on a new team against what should be a putrid Tampa Bay squad. Well, he was who we thought he was.
GREEN BAY (-13) over Buffalo
Down by five, with under a minute left, needing a touchdown to win at home, I watched in disbelief as Buffalo executed dump off pass after dump off pass until they were dumped off the field with a loss. Tea Party members watched that game and thought, "Jesus Christ, these guys are really conservative."
Baltimore (-2) over CINCINNATI
Look out, Cincinnati fans: I think they are coming back down to Earth this year, and I mean hard.
TENNESSEE (-5) over Pittsburgh
As Kevin pointed out last week, I continue to believe in Tennessee.
Philadelphia (-6) over DETROIT
I reserve the right to call a mulligan on this game if Andy Reid starts a concussed (and also just terrible anyway) Kevin Kolb instead of Michael Vick. Andy Reid, did you see the Eagles play last week, or did you run out to eat an entire pizza during the game? Are we sure that you didn't also get a concussion at some point, because I just can't imagine why you wouldn't start Vick the rest of the season.
And speaking of Detroit: Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously wrote regarding hard-core pornography that it is hard to define, but "I know it when I see it." Mr. Calvin Johnson, touchdowns are apparently very hard to define, but that, sir, was a touchdown, and only people who picked Chicago in their suicide pools would argue otherwise.
Chicago (+7.5) over DALLAS
Why don't we wait for Dallas to actually score more than 7 points in a game before we install them as over 7 point favorites, shall we?
(Confidential to the Suze: WHY ARE YOU PICKING DALLAS IN THE SUICIDE POOL?!?!? You are picking a team that LOST over a team that WON! Just pick Green Bay like every other sane person! You will rue the day, my dear.)
CAROLINA (-3.5) over Tampa Bay
Matt Moore threw what might be the worst interception I've ever seen last week against the Giants. I didn't even know there was such a thing as quintuple coverage until I saw him try to throw to the guy that was in it. And yes, I'm aware I'm picking him. It's Tampa Bay, they aren't starting 2-0.
Arizona (+6.5) over ATLANTA
How many text messages and voice mails do you think Larry Fitzgerald has left for Kurt Warner by now, begging him to unretire? 1000? 2000?
Related: did Matt Leinart watch Derek Anderson play last week while cutting himself?
MINNESOTA (-5.5) over Miami
Stories of Brett Favre's demise are greatly exaggerated, and here's why: he skipped training camp. If there is one position player who cannot get away with skipping training camp, its quarterback. You could tell that his timing was off with his receivers, he didn't trust anybody except his tight end Shiancoe, and his two favorite targets from last year were injured or suffering from crippling migraines. Now the migraines have been cured, he's had another week of practice, and he'll be at home instead of in the opener against the defending champs (a game which the champs never seem to lose, year after year). The Vikings are going to be just fine.
OAKLAND (-3.5) over St. Louis
Like Detroit, St. Louis is another team that hasn't been able to shake last year's stink off, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The Rams were rumbling in for a touchdown after a turnover when Cardinals receiver Steve Breaston stripped the ball away in what has to be the hustle play of the year so far. Instead of being up 20-10 the score remained 13-10, which is the kind of thing that happens when you are a losing team.
Seattle (-3.5) over DENVER
Not just an unexpected victory, but an unexpected ass whupping of San Fransisco by Seattle last week. I can only assume some sort of recruitment violation by Pete Carrol is the reason.
Houston (-3) over WASHINGTON
I said last week that if Houston wants to be a playoff team, they have to beat Indy at home. They did it. Well, if they want to be a playoff team, they need to beat Washington on the road.
Jacksonville (+7) over SAN DIEGO
BOLD PREDICTION ALERT: Somebody other than San Diego is winning the AFC West this year.
New England (-3) over NY JETS
Lost in all the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over the Jets loss last week is this: they lost by one point, AND 4 of those points came from almost directly from a bogus running into the kicker call in the 2nd quarter that kept a drive alive that would have ended in a field goal that ultimately resulted in a touchdown.
That being said, the Jets offense is among the worst I have ever seen (says the man who drafted Shonn Greene in the 2nd round of his fantasy league and is already mentally checking out), and New England will reassert their dominance over their AFC East rivals.
NY Giants (+5.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
Houston has given the league the blueprint for beating Indy this year: run the football. And the Giants can run the football. I loved what I saw from the Giants last week: they were up against an inferior opponent and didn't just beat them, they throttled them. They stepped on their neck. I am officially excited for this season.
And if you are wondering, here is what a jinx looks like: CBS puts up a graphic that says the following: "Bob Sanders has played 45 career games, and missed 47 career games due to injury." Five seconds later, Bob Sanders is out with an elbow injury. He is Sam Jackson from "Unbreakable."
New Orleans (-5.5) over SAN FRANSISCO
Don't understand why this line isn't higher. San Fransisco had already quit on the season midway through the second quarter last week. That game was an embarrassment. They are going to get lit up.
Last week: 8-6-2
I may have mentioned this before, but it needs to be said again: I am like a crackhead about to get my crack fix on crack rocks. I am EXCITED FOR THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. I'm been watching any football-like substance I could get my eyeballs on for the last 9 months, including high school football, college football, pre-season football and, god help me, futbol.
So while some other people might not like the new Thursday opening night tradition, for me, it is like finding an oasis in the desert. And in that oasis, there is a football game on.
I'm taking over the picks column this year; not that Daytrader did a bad job, per se. I mean, he did PICK all of the games, as in, he did manage to announce a choice about what his opinion of the outcome would be successfully. But if you were gambling based on his advice, then you are not reading this, because you sold your computer at the pawn shop and your electricity has been shut off. Also, you were murdered by your bookie for unpaid debts. Such a tragedy.
Home team listed in caps:NEW ORLEANS (-5) over Minnesota
A rematch of the NFC championship game at the same stadium. So what's changed since New Orleans won this game by 3 points last year? As far as I can tell, the Saints are as good as ever, while Minnesota has gotten worst: Sidney Rice, their #1 receiver, is out; Percy Harvin, their #2 receiver, can't see straight through his migraine headaches; and Brett Favre, who took a brutal pounding in the NFC title tilt, is already getting injections in his ankle just thinking about facing this defense again. That has to be worth at least 2 more points.
In fact, I can't believe Favre is playing. If he wasn't on this silly consecutive games streak, he probably sits this one out, right? Or stays retired until Week 4?Carolina (+6.5) over NY GIANTS
Speaking of rematches, here's another: in the last game the Giants ever played in the old stadium, Carolina came in and beat them by, if I remember correctly, 1000 points. Again, I have to ask: what has changed? Yes, I am a Giants fan, so maybe my pessimism about the season is clouding my judgment, but the Giants have to prove to me that they are going to be a different team this year, and a breakout pre-season by their #5 wide receiver is not what I mean.
(Quick side note: do you think it sucks as a professional athlete having a name that rhymes with "boo"? Victor Cruz, the aforementioned breakout, would get the "Cruuuuuuuuz" call every time he made a play, but if you were paying attention, it just sounded like booing. Same thing for former Yankee great Mike "The Moooooose" Mussina.)Miami (-3) over BUFFALO
I looked at this game long and hard for my suicide pool pick. Buffalo is going to be one of those teams you can pick against all year (ultimately, I decided to wait until Buffalo goes back to Miami to pick them). Quick, name a player on Buffalo. The only one I can think of is Lee Evans, which I sometimes get confused with Bob Evans
, which just makes me hungry. But Miami will win this game; they get a break by going to Buffalo in early September, when it is still warm, rather than, say, late September, by which time upstate New York has transformed into a frozen hellscape from which none may escape.PITTSBURGH (+2.5) over Atlanta
Ben Roethlisburger didn't play defense, and Troy Polamalu is back. This is going to be a low scoring game - take the points on the home team.Detroit (+6.5) over CHICAGO
Detroit, one of last year's punching bags, is going to be significantly better this year. Sure, significantly better doesn't have to mean good, or even over .500; it can mean 6-10. But they've got a young team with some talent at a spot other than wide receiver now that Matt Millen is making the draft picks anymore.
Chicago, meanwhile, is a team in total disarray. Just remember when Ndakomong Suh is running back his strip-sack of Jay Cutler for a touchdown, and everybody is booing (Cutler doesn't rhyme with boo, so you can tell the difference), I warned you.Cincinatti (+4.5) over NEW ENGLAND
Before you go crazy, check out this
. Yes, the day the NFL season kicked off, Tom Brady was in a car accident. Yes, I know he's fine. That's not the point. It's an omen: this Patriots season is when the wheels finally come off. It's over. And if that's still not enough of an omen, check out this.
Cleveland (+3) over TAMPA BAY
The line (3 points) means the bookmakers think the Browns and the Bucs are just as good (or, if you prefer, just as bad), but I don't buy it. The Browns showed life at the end of last season (winning against Pittsburgh and putting 41 up on KC down the stretch), and Josh Cribbs is a legitimately exciting player. The only thing exciting about the Bucs is that I get to pick against them in my suicide pool all year.
JACKSONVILLE (-2.5) over Denver
If nobody shows up to your home games, does it still count as home field advantage?
HOUSTON (+2) over Indianapolis
Is the AFC South the best division in football? Tennessee has Chris Johnson, the best player in the game and, once Kerry Collins' corpse was pushed overboard last season, finished 8-2 after their 0-6 start. Indy is the reigning AFC Champion and still has Peyton Manning. And with even a reasonable amount of luck last season, rather than the multiple groin kicks they received, Houston would have finished 10-6 instead of 8-8.
One of those should-have-won games was against Indy, IN Indy, when they lost a touchdown on a freaky goal-line fumble that was overturned on replay when Houston stupidly called a timeout that gave the refs time to review it, AND when the choker of a kicker choked on a kick.
If Houston is ready to make the next step, they win this game at home. And I think they are.
TENNESSEE (-6.5) over Oakland
Go ahead, pick Oakland. Three Chris Johnson touchdowns and 250 yards later, you'll feel really dumb.
PHILADELPHIA (+3) over Green Bay
The football pundit-industrial complex has gotten very excited about Green Bay this pre-season. Until I see them do it in the regular season, I'm taking the points for the home team.
San Fransisco (-3) over SEATTLE
The lines are always very conservative week one. If this game was replayed in a month, this would be at least a touchdown. And I would STILL take San Fransisco. Seattle may be the worst team in football, and they have a new coach straight from college, which never. Ever. Works.
Arizona (-4) over ST. LOUIS
After Matt Leinart's junior year, when he won the Heisman, he was the consensus overall #1 pick. Instead, he went back to school, took a single ballroom dancing class as his entire course load, lost the national championship game, slid to #10, couldn't beat out an elderly man for the starting job, and then, when the elderly man finally retired, instead of getting that job, he was traded to Houston. The lesson, as always: don't take ballroom dancing classes.
WASHINGTON (+3.5) over Dallas
I wouldn't want him as my Super Bowl quarterback (unless they institute a rule change where vomiting is worth 3 points), but D McNabb, in week one, at home, in revenge mode against a Dallas team that embarrassed him in the playoffs? I'm okay with that.
My bigger concern for Washington is Clinton Portis, who couldn't get on the field last year without suffering a concussion. I think by the end of the season he would get a concussion if he had an especially vigorous bowel movement. He was openly considering retirement before the season. Is his heart (or his brain) really going to be in it to win it this year?
NY JETS (-2.5) over Baltimore
I'm hoping that Hard Knocks and the Jets preseason was an elaborate ruse to make other teams think they would be throwing the ball this season, and then they will come out Monday night and rush for 300 yards while Sanchez has 10-15 drop backs. Also, I'm hoping Antonio Cromartie can make it through the game without getting another woman pregnant.
KANSAS CITY (+4.5) over San Diego
Remember when SD almost lost to Oakland in their first game on Monday Night last year? I remember.
Maybe you like to watch sports or listen to rock music while you are on the treadmill, but I prefer to pace myself with Wheel of Fortune. Jogging in place while the wheel clicks away gives me time to think about the important things in life. Things like "why is this asshole buying a vowel when he must know the answer" and "you're spinning?! But you've got 12 grand in the bank and there's only one goddamn consonant left!!"
In fact, since Wheel of Fortune is a game, I've decided that it must have a definite optimal solution. Consider the puzzle below, one which I imagine even the reddest red state moron would be able to tease out:
One vowel, 2 Bs, an L, a C, and a K are left. You've already got $8,000 in the bank, including an all expenses paid vacation to the Sandals resort in Jamaica and a shopping spree on Etsy.com to spend on human centipede merchandise
. Do you spin or solve?
It really comes down to how much risk you can tolerate. Based on this wheel
, and assuming that the probability of landing on each spot is equal and that the Lose a Turn spot is essentially the same thing as the Bankrupt slot (the guy with the lifetime NRA membership next to you is DEFINITELY solving this puzzle), we can calculate the expected value of your next spin. Then we can make a chart. That chart looks like this:
In this context, a singleton is a letter of which there is only one, i.e. the C, L, and K. The twofer is the letter of which there are multiples, i.e. the B. The twofer has a higher expected value because you get money for each instance of the letter appearing in the puzzle.
In our example, even if you have $8,000 in the bank, a spin with a twofer in the board will net you an average value of nearly $700.
Now: is there opportunity cost associated with solving? That is, by solving now, not only do I lose the value of this spin, but of all future spins. Consider the example above again, except start with only $5,000 in the bank. The average value of that spin was $921, because I was risking much less money on a bankrupt or lose a turn spot. There are still letters left. What is the value of those future spins?
On Spin 1, I start with $5,000, and the average value of my spin, because there is a twofer left, is $921. However, if I want to know the value of future spins, that presumes that I did not land on the bankruptcy spots; i.e., the starting value of future spins is not $5,921, but rather the average value of all non-bankruptcy spots on the wheel, which is $730 (or $1,460 with a twofer).
On Spin 2, I would theoretically start with an average of $6,460, and only have singletons left. The average value of that spin is only $130. Additionally, my leveraging (that is the ratio of money I'm risking to money I'm potentially earning) goes from a reasonable 5.4:1 to an absurd 50:1!
Here's how the value of the second spin changes with money in the bank, assuming you will use the twofer on your first spin:
This graph shows that, with anything about $2,000 in the bank, you become what I would consider over-leveraged on your spin (greater than 10:1) and with more than $6,000 in the bank, your bet becomes a loser. It also shows that, in most cases, there is little to no opportunity cost lost unless there are multiple twofers or higher left in the puzzle once you've solved it.
This confirms the strategy that I've long assumed to be correct on the show: once you've determined the answer to the puzzle, you keep going until there are only singletons left or you exceed $10,000 in the bank, whichever comes first. Wheel of Fortune: SOLVED. Next, please.
Last night, I watched almost the entire Boise State/Virginia Tech college football contest. Why did I do this, when I couldn't give less of a shit about college football? Because I am a junkie, and I've got the shakes. The NFL season is so tantalizingly close, but I need it. I need it now. College and playing Madden aren't doing it anymore. If there was a way I could start turning tricks (or, preferably, turn Suzi out as my ho) to get my football fix now, I would be typing this from a street corner.
This means that our essential NFL coverage here at the OC is about to crank up, with all the (horrible) NFL picks and (meaningless) power rankings you can shake a stick at. And it starts with the annual Pro Football Picks League on Yahoo!(.)
Last year, I overdid it with checking the options boxes, as we had both confidence points AND picking against the spread. This year, I've dialed it down: you just have to pick winners (no spread), but the confidence points remain. If you want to join, here's the info:
Group ID: 54140
Group password: boobs
And here's the link
. See you there!