September 6, 2012

The Golden Shower of Green Points

PUSHMASTER PICKS '012: WEEK ONE

By ROBB WITMER FULL    

PEYTON MANNING: THE BEST PRACTICER IN SPORTS HISTORY.


For the eighth consecutive season, the author is competing in the PushMaster Invitational Football Pool, the greatest gambling pool in the history of Sport. Every week players must make five picks against the point spread, college or pro, overs or unders.


Welcome to the only season that matters. As the PushMaster Invitational begins to overtake us like a thundersnow cloud, and Football seeps into every crack of our lives, a select few choose to stand tall and embrace Success and Sportsmanship to the bitter end.

That end is more bitter for some than others. While Mr. Beef was busy spending his lavish winnings on spray tans, hair frosting, scrotum buffing, and chest waxing in preparation for his tryout to be the first male model in Price is Right history, poor Claybone spent the entire off-season haunted by endless visions of 0-5 weeks, and fitful sleep thanks to vivid dreams of self-cannibalization. The dreams are probably unrelated to his performance in last year’s Invitational; it’s hard to say for sure.

But even he has chosen to let the hot wash of Gambling Action drip off of him like honey yet again. The draw of the foremost Internet Football Pool in the Milky Way galaxy is undeniable, and 2012 promises to be, perhaps, the greatest year in Football history.

The plot lines are as thick as the toupée Ripper wears when he’s going “incognito” at Cruze nightclub: Peyton Manning looks to extend his legacy as the Greatest Practicer of All Time; The New York Jets are allegedly trying to make the playoffs with a mind-boggling combination of bad quarterbacks; Most or all of the Saints defense is locked up in Alcatraz.

In the PushMaster Command Center, we prefer to take a slightly more esoteric perspective on the Football season. There’s no reason to waste time on worrying who will win the AFC South, or which Big East team will fall ass-backwards into whatever will be this year’s least consequential BCS bowl. Screw all that noise to the wall — we’re looking for wins of our own here.

Something that can make or break a season is finding your horse (or Horsebeef, if you will). If you can spot a team about to take a nosedive for a good 8-10 week stretch and you hop on that pony as soon as it comes around the bend, it could be worth 5-6 wins in a season, a massive sum.

One team I’ve got my eye on is Pitt, which has been in a slow collapse for about five years now. This weekend, the Panthers started their most recent inconsequential season by losing to a completely-average Division 1-AA team. The suspensions of six players had an effect, but there’s no excuse for getting completely shit-hammered by Youngstown State... unless you consider being a magnificently incompetent team to be an excuse. Which might very well be the case. I’m not privy to the exact details of the Pitt roster, but what reason exists for Tino Sunseri to be the starting quarterback of an almost-major football program?

When picking a pro team to fall into the shitter, it’s too easy to go with the Cardinals or Browns or Whoever. Everybody knows these teams are boiled shit, so the value disappears. The Jets, however, are prime candidates to have a total team meltdown. They have a gaping chasm where the quarterback should be standing, and their coach is a gigantic asshole. Under the microscope of the New York media, this team could easily end up more gangrene than Gang Green. I can’t wait.

The bottom of the League can also provide some of the best value bets in sports when betting ON the shit-ball teams. Some of the most storied teams in Gambling History were about 2-14 straight-up, but 11-5 against the spread. The Colts are going to be better this year just by virtue of the fact that they’ll no longer have a line-cook under center (enter Andrew “Horsebeef” Luck), and thanks to how bad they looked last year, their season could be a never-ending string of double-digit spreads. Watch closely, bet carefully.

These are but mere samples of the Unbeatable Strategy that I have been honing and sharpening since mid-February. This year I will wield my Gambling Skill like a mystical cannon dropping enormous heavy balls on any and all foes... Can you smell the horsebeef I’m cooking?


WEEK ONE PICKS

Pitt v. CINCINNATI (-4)
Though no one would be surprised if either of these teams wins the Big East this year (my money is on Temple), the Pitt football program continues its march through the Forest of Irrelevance. Yinzstachio, anyone? Cincinnati probably blows too, but I like how Pitt already has some momentum behind their suckiness.

Tulane v. Tulsa OVER (57)
I picked this matchup of (probably) future Big East members because I’ve always had a hard time keeping these two programs straight. Tulane, Tulsa, Green Wave, Golden Hurricane (both singular); I barely know the difference, and I don’t want to. This way I can root for both offenses like they’re one giant golden shower of green points.

Southern Cal v. SYRACUSE (+26.5)
I do this every single year. I tell myself that I will stay away from making picks that are a sure path to madness, but then I black out, come to, and there it is: a Syracuse game on my list. Damnit.

WASHINGTON (+23.5) v. Lsu
Speaking of absolutely stupid picks. For some reason I want to believe the Sarkisian Huskies are better than they actually are. I don’t know what it is. The uniforms, maybe? This is not exactly a way to hold on to the momentum I captured at the end of last year by virtue of a 27-13-0 finish.

BILLS (+3) v. Jets
I have this weird feeling that the Bills are going to be a pretty competitive team this year, maybe even make a run at the division if/when the Patriots start their inevitable decline. One thing is certain: the Jets are a disaster offensively. After giving the worst quarterback in the league an inexplicable contract extension, they went out and got the other worst quarterback in the league to back him up. Then again, is there such a thing as momentum in a Football picks league?

Justbet.cx, 8:32 P.M. EDT, Tuesday


Robb Witmer Full is the 2006 PushMaster Invitational champion. He has a lifetime record of 322-298-20, which is pretty decent if you think about it. Read about other decent things on his Twitter feed.