by Tommy Gimler
I had a friend tell me that I should write an article today on Manti Te’o being a homosexual, but I told him much like Lance Armstrong admitting he took every PED known to man, that it wouldn’t be news.
Instead, Rakesh and I are going to check in on what the “experts” are thinking in regards to tomorrow’s NFL games. The most surprising part is that some of these fuckshows are still getting paid to predict the outcomes of these games even though they’ve been about as accurate this year as Mark Sanchez.
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals – 49ers (-4.5) O/U 49
David Turley (ESPN Insider): The key for me is if the Falcons can match them score-for-score. The 49ers’ defense is very good, but in today’s NFL that’s not as much of a guarantee of success as it once was with all the rules favoring the offense. If the Falcons execute like they did in the first half against the Seahawks (another very good defense), they’ll live up to their No. 1 seed and exceed people’s expectations. If they don’t execute, they’ll get run out of the building. I’m counting on the former (and just pray they don’t play too conservatively if they get the lead again). The pick: Falcons.
WhatIfSports.com: According to the computers, which simulated this game 501 times, San Francisco is victorious 55.9 percent of the time by an average score of 22-20. The pick: Falcons.
Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): Atlanta will have trouble getting to Kaepernick because of the 49ers’ strong line and the full support he gets from Frank Gore and the traditional running game. The diversity of San Francisco’s balanced offense should keep the Falcons off-balance. Prediction: 49ers 34, Falcons 27. The pick: 49ers.
Anthony Brancato (Bleacher Report): Yes, much has been said, and written, about the Falcons and their “easy” schedule. Yet they won and covered in all three of the games they played against teams with winning records during the regular season. It’s also worth noting that they beat the same team at home, 34-0, that the 49ers lost to at home, 26-3! ATLANTA 26, San Francisco 21. The pick: Falcons.
Ed Williams III (RotoWorld): This line is just begging people to take the Falcons, so maybe I’m falling into a trap here, but I’m going with the home team. It’s very easy to overreact to last week’s games, so I’m going to try and look at the bigger picture here. The Falcons had a horrid second half against the Seahawks, but a win is a win. Finding someone who liked the Falcons last week was like finding a needle in a haystack. The pick: Falcons.
Rakesh The Intern (Daily Upper Decker): Everybody and their mother are talking about Colin Kaepernick right now. He is hot like that Furby doll that every parent had to have at Christmas a few years ago, boss. But he is different quarterback on road, bro. The silly American public bet heavy on 49ers, so I’ll take Falcons to cover, bro. The pick: Falcons.
Analysis: It’s not a great sign for the 63% of the betting public who jumped on San Francisco when four of the five random experts we looked at take the Falcons. Or is it?
So far, David Turley has been a turd betting against the spread in the playoffs (1-4), although he hit at 54.1% during the regular season. WhatIfSports.com might be 7-1 straight up this postseason, but just 3-5 against the spread. Brancato was just 2-2 straight up last week and Williams is 4-4 this postseason. So, that begs the question, “What in the Jesus fuck do these guys get paid to do?” Hell, I’ll take half of their pay to play a few games of Madden and tell you what percentage of games the 49ers came out on top, and what the score was.
And then there’s our Indian intern Rakesh, and he doesn’t get paid shit. He might smell like a bag of pig shit, but the kid sure can pick football games. He’s 5-2 against the spread this postseason, so if he likes the Falcons, then we’re going to load up the money we should be paying him on the Dirty Birds. The DUD says take the Falcons +4.5.
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots – Patriots (-7.5) O/U 51.5
David Turley (ESPN Insider): As a contrarian bettor, it does give me pause when it appears that everyone is on the same side. Obviously, the Ravens match up with the Patriots based on recent history and these teams know each other very well. That should result in a close game. The concerns are that the Patriots are 4-0 SU at home in AFC title games. So just like last year, it’s tough to go into Foxboro and win, plus the Pats don’t take the foot off the gas and are very capable of tacking on that extra score to cover the number (which is why bettors love them so much!), but anything over a touchdown has to be a take. The pick: Ravens.
WhatIfSports.com: According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com football simulation engine, the Patriots claim victory 62.3 percent of the time by an average margin of 24-21. The pick: Ravens.
Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): The Ravens are armed with quarterback Joe Flacco, who sizzled in the playoffs over two seasons and has the confidence of having outplayed Brady in the teams’ past two games. The Ravens have won at Foxborough in the 2009 season’s playoffs with their current core and know they were right there in last season’s 23-20 loss in the AFC title game. Ravens 33, Patriots 30. The pick: Ravens
Anthony Brancato (Bleacher Report): The underdog is now 3-0-1 against the spread in the last four Pats vs. Ravens games. NEW ENGLAND 30, Baltimore 27. The pick: Ravens
Ed Williams III (RotoWorld): After last week, I think the Ravens have a ton of momentum. No one gave them even a puncher’s chance against the Broncos, and it was just assumed we’d see another Brady-Manning clash this week. Joe Flacco flashed “elite” talent, and Torrey Smith had a monster game. They put up 38 points against a team that was ranked third in the entire league against both the pass and the run. The pick: Ravens
Rakesh The Intern (Daily Upper Decker): Look, bro. The point of the story is this. There is no reason the Patriots should be favored by more than three points in this game, and to be at -9.5 and now -8 is ridonkeylous or whatever the kids in this country are calling it these days, bro. Uncle Omkar would think that something is up here, buddy, and even though he is now in prison for fixing matches and hitting Aunt Tanvi, I’m going to agree with him, bro. The pick: Patriots.
Analysis: When 56% of the betting public load up on the Ravens as well as all five of the “experts” we looked at, then one of two things is going to happen. Either the boys in Las Vegas are going to lose their fucking ass or the Patriots are going to beat the Ravens by double digits. I’m going to side with our smelly, smelly intern and say that Vegas knows something that the betting public does not, and if that hits, we might just give Rakesh a give basket of soap and cologne as a little thank you. The DUD says take the Patriots -7.5.