Remember that old 1950s ditty called “Accentuate the Positive?” Of course, you don’t and neither do I. The point is the second line of that song goes “eliminate the negative.”
Not one of the three of us did that last week with KP, Croshere and yours truly all ringing up wrongly in the red.
The purpose of this season-long exercise is not to continue to hear myself think while I fruitlessly bang upon my keyboard. No, the point is to prove to everyone here just how difficult it is to come up with winning wagers.
For example, the three of us scoured the entire slate of college and pro games. We had our pick of the litter, chose the games we were most confident in and still went a collective 6-9, finishing a combined $110 in the hole. That’s no way to make a living.
Fortunately, Week Two brings with it a shot at redemption and an all-new celebrity guest. You guys know him from his captivating and feather-ruffling website Dubsism. Allow us to present fellow internet lurker, J-Dub.
But first, my redemption songs…
Give me $50 on Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-12)
Did you see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys last week? Of course, you did. Sure, the Bucs almost lost had it not been for the eight-millionth, fourth-quarter, game-winning drive of Tom Brady’s career. As well as the Cowboys played that night, most watching knew the Bucs would find a way to pull it out. On a related note, did you see the Falcons play host to the Eagles last week? No disrespect to the Eagles but the Falcons looked like they might be the worst team in the league. They still can’t score in the red zone and they can’t protect Matt Ryan who has to be wondering how Matt Stafford was lucky enough to get out of Detroit. Twelve points isn’t much to lay with a team like the Bucs that can score at will, especially when they play against a team like Atlanta that can’t score at all. Tampa Bay’s pass rush is better than Philly’s and the Eagles had Matt Ryan running for his life. Add to the fact that Atlanta can’t run the football unless they run it backwards and you have all the makings of a blowout. Bucs cover the twelve.
I’ll take $40 on Kansas City (-3 ½) at Baltimore
It’s a short week for Baltimore who lost a heartbreaker in Oakland, er… Las Vegas Monday night. One friend joked that the Ravens technically lost that game twice, which makes perfect sense if you tuned in. With so many injuries, I feared the Ravens would be off to a rough start and they are. Now they stare down a Chiefs team that looks determined to pee in everyone’s Wheaties all season. The Chiefs are only laying 3.5 in Baltimore. That’s a sneeze for the Chiefs offense. It looks an awful lot like the Ravens are going to start the season 0-2 as the Chiefs cover.
I’ll gladly gamble $30 on Alabama at My Beloved Alma Mater, the Florida Fightin’ Gators (+15)
Okay, I’ll take a stab at some college. The #1 team in the galaxy, the Alabama Crimson Tide, roll into Gainesville this weekend to face the Gators who are getting a whopping fifteen points at home. Of course, ‘Bama can beat anyone by fifteen in a single quarter but the Swamp should be pretty rowdy on Saturday afternoon. While Bama brings Bryce Young, the Florida Gators have a young phenom of their own. Even though he pulled up lame with a grade one hamstring strain against USF, all signs point to the one they call AR-15 suiting up on Saturday. Redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson is already turning heads in Gainesville and has the orange-and-blue faithful wondering how soon he’ll steal the starting quarterbacking job away from Emory Jones. Coming off the bench, all Richardson has done in two games so far is rush for 275 yards and compile a passer rating of 261.2. Either one of two things will happen on Saturday. Either Richardson meets the NFL talent that is Alabama and is brought back to a stark reality or he breaks open a few plays and shows everyone he’s of the most exciting young talents in college football. I’m a homer hoping for the latter so I’m taking Florida plus the fifteen.
Give me $20 on Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks (-5 ½)
Remember how I was super high on the Titans last week? How I gushed about them running away with the AFC South? Did you see what the Cardinals did to them? Did you hear the name Chandler Jones mentioned a few times? That’s because Jones sacked Ryan Tannehill five times on Sunday, marking only the 18th time in NFL history a player has recorded that many sacks or more in a game. I’m not suggesting Seattle will do to Tennessee’s offensive line what Arizona did. That’d get somebody fired. Clearly, the Titans will shore things up. But the Seahawks continue to go about their business unnoticed until someone finally realizes they remain one of the best teams in the league. They’re only laying five and change at home in front of the 12th man, who’s been waiting a long time to lay eyes on their beloved Russell Wilson. Titans play hard but limp out of Seattle 0-2 as the ‘Hawks cover the five-and-a-half.
Finally, $10 on Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5 ½)
So, the Steelers go into Buffalo, who every last prognosticator in America had already ushered into the Super Bowl, and beat them… and the Steelers still get no respect. Don’t believe me? ESPN had the Bills ahead of Pittsburgh in their latest power rankings!!! They’re back home in Week Two hosting the Raiders on a short week. The Raiders, as you may recall, won a game they had no business winning, against a Ravens team has a healthy Lamar Jackson and that’s about it. Meanwhile, the Steelers will continue to fly under the radar until people give them the respect they deserve. Big Ben has his three healthy receivers in Johnson, Claypool and Smith-Schuster and are only kicking the tires on rookie Najee Harris who should score his first NFL touchdown this Sunday. The Steelers are a far more balanced team offensively than Baltimore and it will show on Sunday. I’ll take the Steelers at home to cover the five-and-a-half.
THE WIFE HATES SPORTS WEEK TWO PICKS
50 – NFL: New England Patriots (-6) at New York Jets
Zach Wilson had an up-and-down first career NFL start at Carolina, finishing with 258 yards passing, two TD’s and an INT. The majority of those yards came in the second half. This week, Wilson faces mastermind Bill Belichick, who tends to feast on rookie quarterbacks. Expect Belichick and the Pats to confuse Wilson and force multiple turnovers. New England covers on the road.
40 – NFL: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-11.5)
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers laid an egg last week against the Saints. A very large egg. So, why take Green Bay this week? The Lions did show some fire in a furious comeback attempt versus the Niners last week. Despite that, CB Jeff Okudah (ruptured achilles) is out for the year. Rodgers and the Packers have had a week to work on last week’s issues. The game is in front of a wild Lambeau crowd. So while three of the last four games in this series have been decided by a TD or less, my gut says the Packers will be ready by the time Monday night arrives. Packers win by two TD’s.
30 – NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-12.5)
The last six games in this series have resulted in 50 or more points scored. Atlanta looked abysmal against the Eagles in Week 1. Brady and the Bucs survived Dak and the Cowboys. Matt Ryan was hit nine times last week and sacked three times. He failed to come close to the 200-yard passing mark, despite still having the likes of Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts to throw to. Now he faces an extremely talented Tampa Bay defense on the road. Oh, and that Brady guy… with all the weapons he has to throw to. My gut says the Falcons will need to score 38 to win. Yeah, not happening. Bucs cover.
20 – College: Auburn Tigers at Penn State Nittany Lions (-5.5)
Maybe I’ll regret being aggressive with this one. Still, the Penn State defense has been impressive in the first two weeks, while Auburn has yet to be battle tested, facing Akron and Alabama State. Enter Beaver Stadium and the Penn State White Out. While the Nittany Lions are near the .500 mark in White Out games, this is still a difficult atmosphere for a first year SEC coach to play in. Finally, per Phil Steele, Auburn is 3-7 straight up / against the spread in true road openers. Give me the Nits at home.
10 – NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals (-4)
Did you see what the Cardinals did to an extremely talented Titans team last week? It was a beatdown. Chandler Jones alone had five sacks in the game, including an NFL record three in the first quarter. Kyler Murray played very well and clearly enjoyed all the weapons he has to throw to. Meanwhile, Minnesota was erratic and struggled against a lesser Bengals team. I expect Kirk Cousins to struggle, especially if the Cardinals can piece together a defensive performance similar to last week. Cards cover at home.
CELEBRITY GUEST’S WEEK TWO PICKS: J-DUB
For reasons only these two know, they asked me to be their “celebrity picker, ” Believe me, this ain’t like getting that duty on College GameDay. No trip on a private jet, no tsunami of drunken cheerleaders, and no hair care tips from Rece Davis. But at least neither of these guys smell like Corso’s pee-leak pads…yet. I guess it’s only fair considering I’m not even at the same “celebrity” level as your local weekend news anchor cutting the ceremonial ribbon opening a new Buffalo Wild Wings.
Regular readers of SportsChump might know me from our occasional collaborations. But hopefully you have higher-brow reading habits, which means you most assuredly aren’t familiar with me. Every year around this time, I run a series called the J-Dub Gambling Challenge where I wager on college football. Normally, I avoid the National Football League, but what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Well, this isn’t Vegas, but the Chump lives in Tampa, and that city would be just like Vegas…in the sense if Fredo Corleone had been given the chance to run Havana.
In any event, here’s my “celebrity picker” picks, for which I’m breaking my normal disdain of gambling on the NFL. You can always head on over to Dubsism if you want to see my college plays…
$50 Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts (+180)
In my primer on gambling, you will see I’m not a big fan of “money line” bets. But when Caesar’s is giving away this kind of money, you have to take it…especially since this all stays in “Tamp-Vegas.” The bottom line is the Rams aren’t that good and the Colts aren’t that bad. Colts all the way.
$40 Buffalo (-2.5) at Miami
When I saw Vegasinsider.com giving me this line, I grabbed it and ran like a thief in the night…which is almost as fast as Corso and SportsChump and their geriatric prostates run for the men’s room. To quote Chris Berman, “Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.” Look for the ‘Phins to get stampeded.
$30 Carolina at New Orleans (Pick)
See what I just said above about finding lines like this. Saints win their second-straight “non-home” home game.
$20 New England at New York Jets (+210)
Another “money line” play because I just can’t resist the chance to be on the right side of history. When the Pats lose this game, look for the “end of the Belichick era” headlines. J…E…T…S…Jets, Jets, Jets!
$10 Kansas City (-2.5) at Baltimore
Keep this little tidbit in mind for future reference. Don’t trust the Ravens until they show they can come back from being down 10 points. Chiefs roll.