October 21, 2012

The Demise of Sky Rape

PUSHMASTER PICKS '012: WEEK SEVEN

By ROBB WITMER FULL    
MAYBE LOOK FOR THE BALL ONCE IN A WHILE.


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.


Last night I personally witnessed the worst defense in College Football history: the 2012 West Virginia Mountaineers. If you have a strong stomach, check this team out some time. On any given play, only one or two of the eleven players seem to have an idea of where the ball is, and even they don’t act like they know what to do with that information.

October 17, 2012

NFL Week 7 Point Spread Breakdown

By ROBB WITMER FULL    
THERE HE GOES AGAIN.


This part of the season, when the league goes all topsy-turvy and loosey-goosey, is the only time I can make any sense of Professional Football. It must be because my judgement is so incredibly deformed that it’s the only peg that will fit into the warped hole of NFL chaos.

The underdogs were 10-4 against the spread and 8-6 straight up last week, throwing America into a tailspin so steep and swift that we’re looking to cling to anything, anyone — even a slithering boob like Mitt “Magic Underwear” Romney — if it will, or might, give us a better chance of landing softly.

Nothing this season has been as schizophrenic as the narrative surrounding Peyton Manning. ESPN has been on an endless up-and-down bender like a junkie with a day job. In Week 1, Manning reclaimed his status as one of the best quarterbacks of all time and the Broncos were Super Bowl contenders. By Week 3, he was a washed-up chump hanging onto his career solely on name recognition. Week 4? He was a wizard again, slicing through the Raiders’ secondary like a surgeon. In Week 5, he was a noodle-armed fogey who can’t throw the ball more than ten yards downfield. Now, through six games, Manning is once again a Football God amongst mere men by virtue of an historic comeback.

This is getting tiresome. Why can’t we all just agree that he’s a good quarterback that is now less good because of old age? I suppose that would be asking a lot, especially of in-game commentators who are too busy jizzing all over the broadcast booth every time Manning does a hard count, or points to the left or right before a snap.

No less than once on Monday night, Jon Gruden claimed Manning has “willed” Willis McGahee into being a productive running back. Certainly, no quarterback in NFL history gets more credit for his team’s running game than Manning. Part of this is fostered by the myth — perpetuated for nearly two decades — that he stands alone in the dominion of Football in changing the play at the line of scrimmage. It’s preposterous, of course. Nearly every quarterback above the junior high level has checked into a run out of a pass play, or vice versa, but somehow we’re supposed to assume that Manning has a much deeper understanding of the intricacies of pass-vs.-run because he makes a show of it.

Enough already. Peyton is not only not the best quarterback of his generation, he’s no better than the second-best quarterback in his family, and I write that having never seen Archie play.


LAST WEEK: 8-6-0 | SEASON: 29-28-1, 50.9%

Seahawks v. 49ers (-7)
I finally figured out what the Seahawks are: 49ers 2.0. A badass defense and a passable quarterback. I’m curious what Russell Wilson’s glove size is compared to Alex Smith’s. Let’s take the points and hope the Niners continue to slide. Pick: SEAHAWKS (+7)

Titans v. Bills (-3)
This is when the Bills start their run to the 2012 AFC East title. Pick: BILLS (-3)

Cowboys (-2) v. Panthers
Should be the ugliest game of the day, maybe the year. If not ugly, at least very sad. PANTHERS (+2)

Ravens v. Texans (-6.5)
I don’t care who’s hurt for the Ravens, this is way, way too many points. RAVENS (+6.5)

Redskins v. Giants (-5.5)
The Giants are the best team in football right now, so I suggest betting on them now, before they turn into the worst team in football for a couple of weeks... After which they will once again be the best team in football. Pick: GIANTS (-5.5)

Saints (-3) v. Buccaneers
The theme of the season: if I’m having trouble making a decision, I just pick the underdog every time. Pick: BUCCANEERS (+3)

Packers (-5.5) v. Rams
Aaron Rodgers is rolling now. Game over. Pick: PACKERS (-5.5)

Cardinals v. Vikings (-6)
Is it John Skelton, or Josh Skelton? Who cares? The Cardinals are falling back to earth faster than Felix Baumgartner. Pick: VIKINGS (-6)

Browns v. Colts (-3)
By my calculations, there is a 90% chance this game comes down to a last-minute field goal attempt. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a three-point head start when that happens? Pick: BROWNS (+3)

Jaguars v. Raiders (-4)
Literally nobody cares who wins this game. Pick: JAGUARS (+4)

Jets v. Patriots (-10.5)
This spread seems really high, but I just can’t — CAN’T — pick the Jets against what appears to be an above-average team. Pick: PATRIOTS (-10.5)

Steelers (-2.5) v. Bengals
How are the Steelers favored against anybody? Pick: BENGALS (+2.5)

Lions v. Bears (-6)
The Bears are getting a little big for their britches, while the Lions are just now finding their pants. Pick: LIONS (+6)


Robb Witmer Full (@robbwitmer) is just happy we haven't had Tim Tebow to kick around this season, regardless of the concerted efforts of the fine folks at ESPN.

October 14, 2012

The Return of Bo Jackson?

PUSHMASTER PICKS '012: WEEK SIX

By ROBB WITMER FULL    
MARK "DONKEY SALAMI" SANCHEZ: THE HUMAN RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR.


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.


Since my strategy of waiting till the end-of-week to make my picks worked out to such an astonishing degree (3-2!), I’ve decided to stick with it a smidge longer. I should note, however, that I was one bounce in the Chargers’ favor away from employing the next wave of pickery technology: a random number generator.

I’ll keep that one in my back pocket for now. It probably won’t be too much longer before my winning percentage is flirting with the 20’s again.


WEEK SIX PICKS

LAST WEEK: 3-2-0 | SEASON: 9-16-0, 36.0% | LIFETIME: 331-314-20, 51.3%

COWBOYS (+3.5) v. Ravens
I don’t think the Ravens have any interest in this game. Certainly, America doesn’t.

Bengals v. BROWNS (+2.5)
The Browns have to be up for this game, since it has to be one of the only games they’ve circled on the schedule as a possible win. It’s their Super Bowl, and when they win I expect they’ll carry Brandon Weedon off the field on their shoulders and dump Gatorade on their head coach’s head, whoever that is these days.

Colt’s Bar & Horsebeef Grille v. JETS (-3.5)
The Peyton-less Colt’s are quickly becoming one of my favorite non-Steelers teams, and there’s nothing I’d like to see more than a post-Manning Indianapolis resurgence, but I think people are getting ahead of themselves with this team. I just don’t think they can keep it up for another week. The Jets are going to be playing like their jobs are on the line, because for the most part, they are.

GIANTS (+7) v. 49ers
I liked this spread at the beginning of the week when it was 4.5, so I obviously love it at 7. I’m tempted to find out what happened. Like, did someone important get injured for the Giants? Did the 49ers just sign Bo Jackson? Has Jason Tuck covered his entire face with his facemask so that he can’t see any goddamn thing? Eh, who cares? Maybe all of these things have happened, but knowing about them would go against my strict, new “no information” policy on making NFL picks.

VIKINGS (+1) v. Redskins
In the eternal words of Jerry Seinfeld, what is up with the Redskins? Who are these people?

Stations, 11:23 AM EDT, Sunday


Robb Witmer Full (@robbwitmer) is inching his way back to relevancy in the PushMaster Invitational

October 11, 2012

NFL Week 6 Point Spread Breakdown

By ROBB WITMER FULL    
BRANDON WEEDEN: THE FUTURE KING OF OHIO


LAST WEEK: 5-9-0 | SEASON: 21-22-1, 48.8%

Steelers (-5.5) v. Titans
I would love to take the points on the home ‘dog, but the Titans’ specialty this season is getting absolutely smoked by everyone they play, with the exception of the circus win they had over the confused Lions. I’m definitely not buying into the Steelers, since they seem to be coasting by on reputation at this point, but the Titans are clown shoes all the way. Pick: STEELERS (-5.5)

Bengals (-1.5) v. Browns
The Browns are screaming toward a two-win season — if things go their way a couple of times — so it’s almost hard to believe this spread is real. The Bengals are bouncing around the league like an empty Big Gulp in a Formula One race car. They win, they lose, but not in a way that requires any attention. Usually, the exceptionally bad teams wait until weeks 11-16 to pick up their few measly wins, but this game against the Bengals could be the one that the Browns have circled. Pick: BROWNS (+1.5)

Colts v. Jets (-3)
There is no way the Colts can keep this up for long. Pick: JETS (-3)

Chiefs v. Buccaneers (-3.5)
Schiano is frantically trying to get “blowing up the victory formation” into the first-half game plan. Here’s hoping he’s successful. Pick: BUCCANEERS (-3.5)

Raiders v. Falcons (-8.5)
The Falcons are going to suffer an unexpected loss very soon. This could be it. Pick: RAIDERS (+8.5)

Cowboys v. Ravens (-3.5)
The Ravens have been unimpressive of late. The Cowboys are consistently inconsistent. Pick: COWBOYS (+3.5)

Lions v. Eagles (-4.5)
The Eagles are always fucking things up, but it’s been working out for them as underdogs. As favorites? I don’t see it. Pick: LIONS (+4.5)

Rams v. Dolphins (-3.5)
I want so badly to not believe in the Dolphins, but if they keep winning I’m going to have to come to terms with some things. Pick: DOLPHINS (-3.5)

Patriots (-3.5) v. Seahawks
The Seahawks’ D is Big Time, but overall Seattle can’t be for real. Pick: PATRIOTS (-3.5)

Bills v. Cardinals (-5)
I want so badly for the Bills to be competitive, but I’m too goddamn old to believe in Santa Claus. Pick: CARDINALS (-5)

Vikings v. Redskins (-2.5)
The Redskins are favored? Free points! Pick: VIKINGS (+2.5)

Giants v. 49ers (-4.5)
I think this line might be a misprint, but I’m going to run with it like an ATM just gave me an extra $10,000. Pick: GIANTS (+4.5)

Packers v. Texans (-4)
There’s been something off about this Packers team, but the Texans are too boring to exert their dominance on national TV. Pick: PACKERS (+4)

Broncos v. Chargers (-2)
The Battle of the Wishy-Washy Teams. The Broncos are a little more Washy, while the Chargers are slightly more Wishy. Pick: BRONCOS (+2)


Robb Witmer Full (@robbwitmer) is going to figure out this damn National Football League if it kills him.

October 7, 2012

The Nation's Premier Horsebeef Restaurant

PUSHMASTER PICKS '012: WEEK FIVE

By ROBB WITMER FULL    
IS IT LUCK, OR HORSEBEEF?


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.


My winning percentage this season would be kind of funny if it didn’t make me want to drive a flaming school bus full of orphans into an active volcano. In a desperate attempt to shake things up, I’ve decided to wait till the weekend to make my picks in order to let the matchups settle in my mind, to allow any glaring weaknesses in my logic to show themselves.

It wasn’t until I was typing my picks out that I realized that I had picked five home teams. Instead of this being an indicator of certain doom, perhaps its a dawning of a new age of PushMaster Excellence for myself.

Hey, we all have a bad four week stretch every now and again. The key is to shake it off, not let it bring your season down. It’s nothing a gang of NFL home teams can’t fix.


WEEK FIVE PICKS

Last Week: 1-4-0 | Season: 6-14-0, 30.0% | Lifetime: 328-312-20, 51.3%

Packers v. COLT’S BAR & HORSEBEEF GRILLE (+7.5)
By going with the 5dimes lines this week, I gave up a point on the Patriots game in order to take the extra half point here. The thinking is that Colt’s probably needs more help than the Patriots do. We’ll see how that works out, though I do think the Nation’s Premier Horsebeef Restaurant (TM) has a legitimate shot at winning this game straight up. There’s just something up with this Packers team...

Bears v. JAGUARS (+5.5)
It would seem that the Jags are totally outmatched in this game, until you realize that “being outmatched” is something that doesn’t really exist in the NFL. Plus, how many non-shitty games can Cutler realistically have in a row?

Seahawks v. PANTHERS (-2.5)
The Seahawks are a cute little team. I wonder what Russell Wilson wants to be when he grows up.

Broncos v. PATRIOTS (-7.5)
After I declared the Patriots to be “over” a little more than halfway through last week’s game, Tom Brady went about the business of making me look clownish, which is exceptionally easy to do in the early part of this season. Well, the tables are now turned, Tom Brady is on my side, and he has a little message for the rest of you:



Chargers v. SAINTS (-3.5)
This is one of those picks that appeals to me BECAUSE it makes no goddamn sense.

5dimes.eu, 10:44 AM EDT, Saturday


Robb Witmer Full (@robbwitmer) has yet to have a winning week in the PushMaster Invitational, but it's only Week Five, so the orphans are safe for now.

October 4, 2012

NFL Week 5 Point Spread Breakdown

By ROBB WITMER FULL    
WHEN ARE WE GOING TO BE ALLOWED TO ADMIT THAT THIS LOOKS FUCKING STUPID?


With October comes one of the most maddening aesthetic tics in all of sports: pink uniforms. We all know why we have to put up with these abominations, and that’s that slathering macho men in pink causes breast cancer to curl up in the corner and die of shame.

This trend now has so much inertia that it’s reaching the level of permanence that “singing God Bless America in honor of the fallen heroes of 9-11” at baseball games has been at for a couple of years now. Surely we can’t spend every Sunday seventh inning stretch for the rest of our lives musing over 9-11, but will anyone ever have the balls to stop this practice? Certainly no one who’s in the position to do so.

So here we are with pink all over the goddamn place, which I can live with once or twice a year. But for a whole month? Let’s use some simple math: NFL teams play sixteen games, with roughly four of those that will take place in October. That means that every season, for a full quarter of their games, teams are wearing pink as a substantial part of their uniforms. Ergo, pink is part of every team’s permanent color scheme. Are we supposed to be okay with that?


LAST WEEK: 9-5-1 | SEASON: 16-13-1, 55.2%

Cardinals (-1.5) v. Rams
No team in the league can melt minds quite like Arizona. The Cards are the leading cause of Gambling Insanity this year; The Rams have Jeff Fisher's mustache. Pick: RAMS (+1.5)

Browns v. Giants (-9)
The Giants are completely schizophrenic, and the Browns are delusional enough to not yet figure out how bad they really are. Pick: BROWNS (+9)

Packers (-7) v. Colts
There’s something wrong with the Packers. Seriously wrong. Can’t put my finger on what it is yet, but it’s there. What’s the money line on this game? Pick: COLTS (+7)

Eagles v. Steelers (-3.5)
Both of these teams have a lot of shit to work out, and neither of them is very good right now, but the Steelers need this game more than the Eagles do. Pick: STEELERS (-3.5)

Falcons (-3) v. Redskins
Washington is secretly happy with the two wins they already have, so while the Falcons will fall back to earth and lose in the next couple of weeks, this isn’t the game. Pick: FALCONS (-3)

Ravens (-6) v. Chiefs
The Chiefs are playing like they don’t want to be in the league any more. Maybe they shouldn’t be. Can we trade them to the SEC for Alabama? We’d even take Georgia or LSU if there are some future considerations thrown in to sweeten the deal. Pick: RAVENS (-6)

Dolphins v. Bengals (-4.5)
Is Ryan Tannehill a for-real NFL quarterback? No. Pick: BENGALS (-4.5)

Bears (-5.5) v. Jaguars
This makes no sense right? The Bears should be 7-9 point favorites here, so what’s the deal? The oddsmakers must smell a Cutler meltdown, and so do I. Pick: JAGUARS (+5.5)

Seahawks v. Panthers (-3)
This is as home-fieldy as a game can get. The Seahawks have no chance. Pick: PANTHERS (-3)

Bills v. 49ers (-9.5)
A part of me is waiting for the Niners to fall apart this year. It just feels like it’s going to happen. Truthiness, people. Pick: BILLS (+9.5)

Titans v. Vikings (-5.5)
Everything about this game screams overtime. If it doesn’t go into OT, my entire reality will come crashing down around me. Pick: TITANS (+5.5)

Broncos v. Patriots (-6.5)
This past weekend, with the Bills surging ahead to a 21-7 3rd quarter lead, I loudly declared to the pub-goers around me that the Patriots were “over.” Six New England touchdowns later, I was taking a flogging from every direction possible before I was thrown out of the bar for my own safety. Pick: PATRIOTS (-6.5)

Chargers v. Saints (-3.5)
How could the 0-4 Saints be favored against a 3-1 Chargers team? You are a cold, heartless bitch, NFL. Picks: SAINTS (-3.5)

Texans (-8) v. Jets
The Jets are turning into exactly the team I thought they would. Tebow Time is just around the corner — right on schedule — meaning a nose-dive is imminent for the Jets. The Texans are boring and predictable and good. Pick: TEXANS (-8)


Robb Witmer Full (@robbwitmerhas a winning percentage of 55.2% picking NFL games the past two weeks, but stands at 30% for the season in the PushMaster Invitational. Go figure.