Week Six Advice for NFL Suicide Pools
by Drew Mangione - 10/13/2006
The pool of sweat beneath me around 4 p.m. Sunday was tremendous. My friend's leather recliner is certainly worse for wear. However, once the early games were over and the dog lapped up the tsunami of worries, my suicide pool slots were safe and only my pride was in jeopardy. I believed my analysis was sound last week, but the football is a fickle game.
I looked at six games with spreads of a touchdown or more. The favorites went 6-0 SU, but 3-2-1 ATS. The two teams I picked were the ones that failed to cover. Indy won by just one as 19-point favorites, and Carolina won by eight in a game they were giving 8.5. In suicide pools though, all that matters is picking correctly, not comfortably. The only down side to the weekend is that no players were eliminated, leaving two less teams for me to choose from in my quest to dominate the still 12-member field.
On Sundays, when the bets are won, wasted worries are easily smoothed over by good food. And despite changing my clothes only to soak them again with my tears as a Jets fan, there isn't much a little chicken adobo can't fix. Drumsticks boiled in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and peppercorns for 30 minutes then grilled to perfection can take the edge off even the worst of days.
With each week I'm feeling less secure and it may take still greater culinary exploits to ease my concerns. For the third straight week, Pinnacle Sportsbook has six games with a touchdown spread or greater, but two are road favorites and others are among the league's most inconsistent teams. Let's take a look:
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-15), 8:15 p.m., Sunday: On the surface, this one looks like a no-brainer: Oakland may be the worst team in football and Denver is picking up steam among the pundits as one of the defensive giants, allowing just 8.5 ppg. But outside of points allowed, Oakland's defense stacks up. The Broncos give up 305.8 ypg on 4.7 yards per play, while the Raiders give up 294.8 ypg on 4.6 yards per play. Both teams are in the middle of the pack against the rush, surrendering 3.9 yards per carry. Denver's offense has been abysmal, scoring just 12.25 ppg, and if they take Oakland for granted, Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan might shock the world.
Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys (-13.5), 1 p.m., Sunday: T.O. Need I say more? He's criticizing another quarterback unjustly. Did anyone else see those balls go through his broken fingers? Anyway, it might actually be a good thing. The Tony Romo cries have died down and Houston has the worst passing defense (295.2 ypg) and can't stop the run either (4.7 yards per carry).
Chicago Bears (-11) at Arizona Cardinals, 9 p.m., Monday: Football's best team visits the league's biggest underachievers on the sport's biggest weekly stage. California kid Matt Leinart looked good in the first quarter last week, but I'm not so sure he'll be able to get off to that kind of start against the brutal Bears defensive line, unmerciful linebacking corps and greedy secondary. If the Cards were undefeated right now, I'd still be interested in the Bears for this one. One problem: it's a road game.
San Diego Chargers (-10) at San Francisco 49ers, 4:15 p.m., Sunday: Another road favorite. Last week when the big favorites dominated, they were all at home. The 49ers have looked good with Frank Gore atop the rushing leader board and Alex Smith breaking out last week. Last year, San Diego was great at building up believers, then dropping what looked like an easy win on paper. Marty is still there to blow this and the 49ers have done a good job protecting their quarterback.
Tennessee Titans at Washington Redskins (-10), 1 p.m., Sunday: I saw the Redskins in person this preseason and I was not impressed, but the Titans may be the one team rivaling Oakland for the league's basement. Every dog has its day and Tennessee almost beat an undefeated Indianapolis team that will host Washington next week coming off their bye. The 'skins could get trapped here, looking past the emerging Vince Young and Travis Henry's power running game.
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7), 4:15 p.m., Sunday: Can a struggling Superbowl champion be a touchdown favorite at 1-3 against a 2-2 team with a quarterback who is so distracted it seems he completes more passes to the other team? It seems the oddsmakers are counting on the "due" factor for Roethlisberger & Co. Former Eagles defensive back Herm Edwards has solidified Dick Vermeil's horrendous defense (4th in total defense), even if the offense is down.
Where does this leave me? All this negativity and I'm left without the comfort level I desire to make my pick. Well, as I said earlier, I need to be correct, not comfortable. I think I'll be taking the Bears to seal the fate of the Dennis Green in Arizona and the Cowboys to bounce back from their shortcomings in Philly.
Slot one: Patriots, Ravens, Dolphins, Eagles, Panthers, Dallas Cowboys
Slot two: Cardinals, Bengals, Ravens, Falcons, Colts, Chicago Bears