Sunday, February 5, 2017

rugby for fairies...bowl 51

6-5.  It all comes down to this...whether Bokolis is going to send everybody to the window yet again.

Falcons (+3) over Patriots - The prevailing thought from the pundits- Bokolis realizes that those words are dripping with incongruous juxtapositions- is that the Falcons have the better players, but Brady and Belichick, Belichick and Brady...  This is in the vein of what Bokolis brought up in the conference championship predictions.  Sure that holds water, that this pair, with so much championship game experience, would rise to the challenge and the moment.

Then, on the heels of Matt Ryan being awarded the league MVP, they hit you with the nugget, that the league MVP has had a shit time of it in the ensuing super bowl.  So, whythefuck do you award this thing the night before the super bowl?!  To debunk such a statistic, since the MVP is a subjective award, maybe the guy wasn't the real MVP.  Didn't Bokolis say it was the E-Double?  I forget.  Regardless, my cognitive dissonance is screaming that it's high time for mean reversion.

Bokolis can point to the Patriots' soft schedule; someone else can point to Brady being 11-1 against that schedule.  Someone else can point to the Falcons' inexperience; Bokolis can say that it doesn't mean shit and these Falcons have lit up every team they've played, including the Broncos, whose defense didn't slip all that much from last year's vintage, yet pounded the Patriots.  Pundit A will say that Belichick will look to take away the Falcons' biggest threat; pundit B will tell you that the Falcons were 6-0 and lit it up when Julio Jones was not a factor.

With Brady/Belichick, of the Patriots six super bowl games, five have come down to the last minute.  All of them have been decided by three or four points.  The Patriots are 4-2 straight up, but 2-4 ATS.  They have not scored in any of the opening quarters.  Of the 17 times the underdog has won, the average point spread was 6.6.  Of the 19 games in which the the line settled at 4 or less, the underdog has won 9 of those games outright, but did not cover in any of the losses*.

This assumes 49 was pickem and 13 was -4 and the game was a push.

The point is, supporters of both sides can make compelling and confusing cases with statistics and conjecture, but it doesn't mean much.

It seems rather clear that the Falcons do have the better roster.  What we don't know is whether turnovers will factor, whether Belichick will carve out a large enough tactical advantage to overcome this, whether the Patriots' defense will continue their red-zone stinginess.  Bokolis believes all of those variables will have to come up for the Patriots for them to win this game.

Bokolis' view is that, the Falcons defense is being sold short, and that the Pats receivers will be proven to be shaky.  If the Falcons score three TDs, the Falcons will likely win; if they score four TDs, the Patriots are fucked.  I'm leaning towards that latter one.

Bokolis is only cosigning the Falcons, but here's some other stuff that is worth what is being paid to view it:  the Pats should stay below 30 and the Falcons are about 50-50 to reach their 27, but will not cosign any position on the total number.  The play will be to buy two points on the Falcons and lay the -150 on +5.  Even though the lines on the prop bets are ripoffs grabbing the Falcons to win the first quarter is also likely.  Of course, if they don't win the first quarter, they are unlikely to win the game.  Since the Pats have all fallen on 3 and 4-point margins of victory, I'm also going to look into margins as well.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rugby for fairies 2016 conference championships postmortem

Both of the conference championships went as Bokolis said they would.  The third game proved beyond both the Packers and Steelers, and they both laid eggs.  Of course, both had drama- flu drama, plane drama, etc., and other loser's excuses.

Both totals fell right by their numbers, also pretty much as Bokolis said they would.  Fittingly, had I cosigned them, I would've split.



The Packers didn't so much as crack as they shriveled up.  Nonetheless, this wasn't the anticipated shootout, even if the total did manage to climb above the number.  But, the lads took a bath on this game.

The problem was, these muthafuckas wanted to play a middle instead of using the Packers as a hedge.  Bokolis was in the car and I couldn't micromanage the process.  From a distance, I couldn't talk them out of it.  They cocked it up on both sides of the play, putting too much on the Packers and not enough on the Falcons.

The thing that infuriates the fuck out of Bokolis is that they do these {redacted} teasers.  In (gridiron) football, this means that, in this case, you can take 4 teams and buy yourself 13 points of leeway, but all four have to win.  I hate them because they always put too much on them, it always works out that, with all that buffer, far less consideration is taken in the decision making process and, invariably, one of the picks is simply to make up the numbers, because there's no way that can happen.  This time, the no way was the Packers losing by more than 18.5.

The only smart thing Bokolis managed on this game was to have them take the Falcons to win the first quarter.  I correctly speculated that, one way or another, the Falcons would have the ball to start the game because the Packers would defer if they'd won the toss.  At 31-0, I tried to get them to take the Packers in-game, that the Falcons would not keep focus.  By this point, they were shaken and they refused...should have sold it harder.

Undaunted, the boys laid the hammer on New England money line, but took the Steelers at +8, again looking for the middle.  This time, Bokolis was settled and made sure they got in as a hedge.  After all, of all the happenings on Sunday, I was most certain of a Patriots victory.

After New England opened by taking the field goal on 4th & 1, Bokolis told the lads that, if it were any team other than New England, I'd say to rip up the tickets.  Ruthlessbuggerer didn't hand it over, at least not while the game was still in reach.  But, losing Bell was always going to be the problem, even with a capable backup.

Notwithstanding, even when the Steelers missed the extra point on their first TD, it seemed more like cause for ridicule than relief.  Brady had three very easy passes to make for his touchdowns, as the Steelers only had blips of pressure and were quite soft in coverage against an ordinary receiving corps.

When the first half ended on 8, Bokolis had the boys lift the hedge by taking the Pats second half at PK.  I have to lament that we didn't lay the hammer on New England in the second half.  We spent most of the second half looking for early super bowl lines (NE -3) and wondering whether the under that we didn't take would hit.

Hitting both games gets Bokolis to 6-5 for the playoffs on this channel, nominally ahead, but effectively even.  Getting y'all to the window for another year will hinge on the bowl.  I already know who will win.  But, why do anything before we have to?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

rugby for fairies 2016 Conference championships

Bokolis likes both favorites, even if I think the lines are a bit steep for comfort.  There will certainly be points bought, even some hedging with the Packers, which sounds great at 7.5 or 8, even at -150.  The Pats will be bought down, as I don't think the Steelers will have it.  I'm leaning over on the early game and under on the later game.  We'll see what the in-game action offers.

FALCONS (-5.5) over Packers - This line started and 4/4.5 and has walked upwards and the total has similarly walked up to 61.5 from 60.  There is plenty of -6 out there.  It's a big number to have to lay, especially when the prevailing thought is that the last team with the ball will win.  But, Bokolis isn't going to pick a Packers loss and cover because I won't take credit for any Packers victory.  If you believe in karma or some other bullshit, you might believe Rodgers has got some magic going on.  He's had a hail mary change a game.  He's made a pinpoint throw on the run in a high-pressure situation.  He's played at a level that Bokolis has only seen from Montana and dome-Brees.

So, what rationale can any maniac have for picking against Rodgers?  People may treat these games as completely independent events, but winning a third playoff game takes more than a great player.  His magic is going to run out and this time, he won't be able to carry his ordinary teammates.

This time around, he's going against an offense that has lit up everyone they have played this year.  While the Cowboys put up 31, they did most of it playing catch-up, and did a lot of it because the Packers are not equipped to close out the game.  The Falcons will put up 31 because they feel like it and, if they feel like putting up more, they will.  Maybe Rodgers won't crack, but the Packers will.

Even though we're almost obliged to do it, Bokolis is not going to advise to go over such a big number.

PATRIOTS (-6) over Steelers - The Patriots have been at this for so long that dealing with their games involves its own dodgy rationale.  If you pick with them and lose, the lament is, how could I pick a team with that receiving corps.  If you pick against them and lose, the lament is, how could I pick against Brady and Belichick.  If you can get past that, you'd see that the Patriots have been rather predictable:  they bog down in Denver, have dogfights with Baltimore and handle the Steelers.

Accordingly, Bokolis sees that, similar to Green Bay, a third victory will be beyond the Steelers.  While I don't think Brady will light up the Steelers, I'm going to rely that the Patriots will again be able to confound Ruthlessbuggerer and that he will make some mistakes.  Bell should do well enough, but won't run roughshod.

Monday, January 16, 2017

rugby for fairies 2016 divisional post mortem

Well, Bokolis scrounged out a winning week, splitting the matchups and picking up the over on the Seahawks.  The 3-2 week leaves it at 4-5 for the playoffs.  The trends I offered went 7-1, including all four totals...16 of those plus signs up, 3 down.

The plays Bokolis settled on with the lads are not exactly the same- and sometimes contrary- from what gets listed here.  As with last week, the in-game action helps tell the story of the weekend.

Right off, the Seattle play hurt a bit, as the line ran all the way to 6.5 and we bought two points to run it to 8.5.  Bokolis expected a tight game, but it totally changed on that bullshit penalty that nullified the massive return by Devin Hester, who nonetheless blessed us with one more- possibly his last- show of brilliance.  To call a penalty when two guys are on the ground tugging at each other as the ball is being kicked smacks of over-regulation...that's the nice way of putting it.  This is the playoffs!

That said, the Seahawks secondary was lost.  Bokolis must say that Atlanta did an excellent job of wearing and breaking them down, getting better as the game went on.  How much of that was because of a momentum change after the penalty, we'll never know.

The saving grace was that the over hit- Bokolis cheekily told the lads beforehand that, while I didn't expect them to get to 60, I was certain they'd get to 54 (the number was 51.5).  We had designs on taking the Falcons -1.5 for the second half.  However, with the Falcons already up 9 points, that would've exposed us to getting fucked both ways if the game fell on 9 or 10.  That was enough to ditch the idea.  The over was the bigger play, which was virtually washed out by the odds on the Seahawks play.
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When the Texans were down 14-3 and failed to convert that 3rd & 1, Bokolis was just about checked out.  I was thinking, call me later with the 35-6 result.  Then, a bunch of nonsense happened, and the Pats were held on a goal to go situation, so it was a scramble to get to the half up by 4.  Nonetheless, I cheekily told the lads that the Pats would still cover.  Though I didn't cosign it, I suspect they cheekily took the Pats in the second half.  One of my guys took the Texans/under reverse for both the first half and the game.  I tried to get him to hedge after he hit the first one, but he has some serious ADD and hedging would've played games with his central nervous system, especially when he's not following the rest.

Again, Bokolis got -15, but told y'all -16 and the line ran to -17 as the late money scrambled to the home side after the fifth convincing home victory of the playoffs.  Order was restored in the second half, but the Pats needed that last field goal to cover- that incongruous noise level you heard as the ball went through the upright is known as the gambler's cheer.
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This GB-Dal line settled on 5 so, despite Bokolis giving y'all the Cowboys, we grabbed the Packers at +7 (buying two points at a cost of -150) and took the Cowboys ML at -220.   The late switch-up was the expectation of mean reversion from the home teams being 6-0 against the spread to that point.

The amount of Cowboys fandom/sentiment in the inner group and their connections also spooked Bokolis- I didn't have much conviction in them anyway- but this play was the only happy medium I could achieve with these guys.  Not surprisingly, there was way more money laid on the Cowboys ML than the Packers at +7.

There was plenty of time to hedge in-game, but we took the over (53.5, Bokolis instructs never to buy points on combined totals) as a semi-hedge because I expected a Packers cover/victory to be accompanied by them scoring over 30 points.  After the Cowboys early field goal, we grabbed the Packers at +7.5 without having to lay further odds.  aside- I always raise a people's eyebrow when the first score is a field goal...it may not mean much, but I always see it as a sign of weakness.  After the Packers scored on their opening possession, we grabbed them again at +3.5.  Seeing poor body language on the Cowboys during their second possession, we grabbed the Packers one last time after the next change of possession at +1.5.  Again, I'm dealing with Cowboys fans, so this is NOT an easy thing to do.

Despite what Bokolis saw and thought, the Cowboys managed to drag themselves level at 28.  Despite being soft most of the day, they toughened up in a few key moments, and the referees, who let the Green Bay offensive line hold with impunity, let the Cowboys defensive backs off on a few holds of their own.  At this point, the lads are texting, they're gonna win! we should've never did that last one...I knew they'd come back.  It's called hedging for a reason, you muppets.

They called a pass interference on the Cowboys on a foul that clearly occurred before the pass.  Given the leeway typically afforded in those situations, that was another brutal call.  The Packers banged home a long field goal after being held, so those extra yards gave them just enough to poke their noses out front...sort of a big deal.

Leaving everything aside, the Cowboys biggest mistake on their last drive was spiking the ball on first down from the 40.  There was not so much urgency that, with a timeout remaining they needed to burn a down in that situation.  As it turned out, they were held on downs and banged home a long field goal of their own to tie at 31, but they left Rodgers time.

They get to 3rd & 20 with like 12 seconds left.  On the prior play, Rodgers gets sacked on a clean hit from behind, which left everyone surprised that Rodgers didn't fumble.  Bokolis' instant analysis was that he didn't fumble because the white boy that sacked him didn't go for the strip sack, because white boys don't go for the strip sack.

Rodgers leaves the pocket and rolls left.  Because these guys have no game awareness, they always fail to realize that, when a QB breaks the pocket, you are allowed to check the receivers for loose change.  It is imperative that you throw them off their routes because you are not going to be able to mark them for the extra time that Rodgers has bought.  Guys closer to the line of scrimmage have a dilemma, because they will have to choose whether to leave coverage to tackle the QB.

But, DBs 25 yards down the field are committed to coverage.  They have to latch on to a receiver and throw him off his balance so that he cannot roll with the QB.  Rodgers has been regularly doing this for...all of his career, really, but with regularity in the last month, for all of the NFL universe to see because he's been the standalone game.  He flicks his wrist and shoots the ball 30-40 yards; it's uncanny.

The Cowboys failed to tend to this, Rodgers burned them for 35 yards and the kicker banged home another long one at the gun.

At least we hit on all those hedge plays.  No muthafuckas, at least you had Bokolis to save you from yourselves.  I didn't count on winning, nor want to win, the last one.  For all they dumped onto the Cowboys, all those hedges didn't even get them even.
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One of Bokolis' homeboys is on vacation in Mexico- it IS MLK weekend- and sent me a picture of the people in the room next to him.  They are Chiefs fans, and they decorated their room- and left the room open- for the game.  They actually hung a lighting fixture that lit up "KC" on their balcony.  Don't worry, it's a resort; the pirates aren't coming to get them.

Since he was complaining all through the Cowboys game about having to listen to the Spanish broadcast, Bokolis told him to ask those people about an English broadcast...because those muthafuckas don't look like they speak Spanish.

Silliness aside, this line went off at Steelers +2.  Bokolis caught all sorts of flak about having these guys piece in at -1.  The action is also in on the ML (+110), +2 and +3.5 (-140).  There was no hedging here, as I took a stand against the Chiefs.  That I had these guys in 7 days ahead of time should have made this abundantly clear.

Of course, we had the under, for both the half (22.5) and the game (45).  Despite Pittsburgh racking up yards only to settle for field goals, the aberration of a quick strike by the Chiefs had Bokolis thinking trouble.  I thought it was done for when the Steelers were on the 5 at 9-7, but Ruthlessbuggerer matched Alex Smith's interception with one of his own.  Still, since the Chiefs went 3-and-out, I had to keep the Steelers at bay.  Thankfully, they took their sweet-assed time.  Not only did they take a delay of game penalty, they ran the clock when the play clock restarted, which the Steelers ran down to :05 before running the next play.

The Steelers did get into field goal territory by the 2-minute warning.  But, they then pulled out some playbook they must have found after Herm Edwards left it behind years ago.  They got conservative and settled for another field goal.  With 55 seconds left, keeping the Chiefs out of the endzone was never going to be an issue.  But, the cunts go and fumble the ball with :03 left.  Pittsburgh lined up for a 58-yard field goal attempt, which had Bokolis thinking of a Kick Six by the always dangerous Tyreek Hill.  Not only did the Steelers come to their senses but, instead of a hail mary, they simply dumped it off to Antonio Brown, who ran for 20 yards before running into a checkpoint of Chiefs.

Bokolis gave the best stripper Thank you I could muster.  I packed it in on the in-game action at that point.  Picking up the first half under gave enough of a buffer and there was no hedging to do.  I was certain the Steelers had this, and the lads were pot-committed enough.

As far as the larger game, Bokolis was not worried about the quick strike on the Chiefs first drive, even though, as you heard Al Michaels say, almost on cue, that the Steelers hadn't allowed a touchdown on their first defensive series all season.  It is not all that uncommon for any shit team to look great on its first drive, especially when the plays are scripted, which Andy Reid usually does.  The Chiefs walked to the locker room with just those seven.

Just like Bokolis told y'all, the Chiefs were good for 17 points.  With the Steelers trying to get to 21 the hard way, 17 points wasn't going to cut it.  So the Chiefs had to go for one extra and missed.  Thank you.

Early lines for the conference championships are Falcons -4 (60) and Patriots -6 (51).  Not feeling anything just yet.

That's all the fuck I've got.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Rugby for fairies 2016 playoffs divisional round

During this NFL season, Bokolis has relied on the team trends to pick the winners.  Personally, I put more stock in the over/under and was really picky on letting the trends pick a winner against the spread, but I'd let it find me outright winners.  So, before getting into the games, I'm going to tell you what I perceive the trends to say.  These are ratings range from 1-5 ++.

Seahawks:     +++      Over:    ++++
Patriots:         ++        Over:    +
Packers:         +++      Over:    ++
Steelers:         +          Under:  +++

The NFL pulled a fast one and effectively flexed out the Pit-KC game into Sunday night.  On the surface, the reason being given is that a nasty ice storm is coming through Kansas City starting Sunday morning and continuing through the day.  The upshot is that they're going to have us up until midnight on a Sunday night, even if many of us don't have work on Monday.  Since moving a game after scheduling it is unheard of- they didn't even stop the fog bowl- the cynic would conclude that the NFL, still suffering in the ratings, jumped at the chance to move a game to prime time.

In all four cases, we have matchups of teams that played in the regular season.  The NFC matchups were close affairs, while the AFC games were utter thrashings.  Only division champions are left, so these are certainly the big boy games.

Seahawks (+5) over FALCONS - We all remember the regular season matchup- actually, Bokolis doesn't remember shit...oh, wait...Atlanta got hosed on a non-call on pass interference and Seattle snuck out with the victory.  Seattle has done nothing on the read all season, except when they felt an attack of pride at New England.  They didn't score a touchdown in Los Angeles, Tampa Bay or Arizona.  This is consistent with the Seahawks of prior years, but was something forgotten as they made two bowls.

We were told that their offensive line was utter shyte.  But, when it mattered, they walked right through and over the Lions.  The deal is, whether home or away, their offense played according to how Russell Wilson's leg felt.  Similarly, we've been told that, without Earl Thomas III, the secondary has been shaky...unless it hasn't. 

For Atlanta's part, they've been carried by the play of Matt Ryan, who has been better than very good.    They have the nastiest muthafucka in the league at wider receiver.  Even though they lit up almost every team they've played, their play at home has not been as dominant as you would think for a dome team.

These are the big boy games, so Bokolis has got to go with the side that has operated in them.  Regardless, I love the over, enough to add it in here.

PATRIOTS (-16) over Texans - Let Bokolis first say that I can get -15 with no issues.  I'm listing 16 because it seems to be the midpoint between the range of lines and the most common.  I don't have much conviction on this game.  I'm basing it on the first meeting.  Sure, the Texans will show more pride.  That's why the spread isn't 27.  Their defense is better, but their offense is worse.  I think they will struggle to score more than 10 points.  So, even if the Patriots limit themselves to 27, that would be enough.

COWBOYS (-4.5) over Packers - The trends like the Packers and this, for many of the Cowboys, their first rodeo.  You saw what happened to the pretenders last week.  The difference is that Dallas has already beaten Green Bay, as well as other good teams, in their place.  Dallas is also home, as the top offensive line and the true MVP of the league at running back.  But, they seemed to level/tail off the last 5 games.  Are they about to hit the wall?

Green Bay has not had much of a secondary.  Further, they are being overvalued because of last week's result, which was as much a Giants capitulation, marveling at the resurgent Rodgers- he must have stowed away his DreamKiller- and conveniently forgetting the first 25 minutes of that game.

The thing that has impressed Bokolis about Dak is that he quickly learns from his mistakes, sometimes in the next series.  He was impotent against the Giants, but I strongly suspect the cold and windy Jersey night had a lot to do with it.  The climes are pleasant in jerry's world.

Steelers (+1.5) over CHIEFS - Bokolis was needled by my boys, who are breaking my balls for the line head-faking me and going the other way.  So much the better, I say.  I think the Chiefs are cunts.  The two best skill players are on the Steelers.  The question is whether Alex Smith and the 17 points he'll provide, combined with some Ruthlessbuggerer mistakes, are enough to hold off the Steelers.

Unless the Steelers spend the extra time in the barbecue shops, Bokolis is not worried about the time change.  I am worried about the Steelers pedestrian performances on the road this season.  The funniest stat I saw out there was that the Steelers are 6-14 ATS outside the Eastern time zone.  How many games have the Steelers played outside the Eastern time zone this season, you ask?  Zero.

But Andy Reid off a bye, dude?  He's 19-2?  First off, throw out the three in the playoffs.  Coming off a bye in the playoffs means a home game, which you are supposed to win.  Besides, the last playoff bye was in 2004 (pause to lament how fast time marches on that 2004 was that long ago).  He's 3-1 with the Chiefs, if that's what's important.  Andy Reid is also the guy who makes curious calls in the big games, making curious calls and going away from the team's strengths to button up.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Rugby for fairies wildcard postmortem

On the surface, Bokolis going 1-3 in the wild card round of the NFL playoffs seems like just another year...I'm always 1-3 after the wild card.  As discussed in the previous post, the sea change in wagering is to the point that using your powder on picking to a pre-game point spread is so last century.  In fact, going at it alone is so last century, as there is ample analysis out there and insight to be gleaned by corresponding with other gamblers.

For example, Bokolis is involved with a group that picked up a trend that, for the college bowl games, the play was, first half under.  If it hits, be done with the game; if it did not, place double the amount on the second half under.  This strategy worked in 7 of the first 8 bowl games before it came to my attention.  I would never have picked up on it because I was too busy making fun of the guys for betting on teams and circumstances about which they knew nothing.

Bokolis never had any objecting sentiment, so the strategy played and kept working, all the way through.  The notable exception was the Rose Bowl, and Bokolis looked the whole group off going under there.  My exact words were 100 points is not out of the question.  I'm not trying to brag because it came in at 101- I only took a line that they would easily hit 75 points.  More importantly, even though we all thought USC would handle Penn State, I kept the group on message to key on the over, where we were confident.

The point is, this past weekend, Bokolis had my boys all over the in-game action.  Of course, it doesn't play here because trying to post this kind of stuff real time would take away from the real work.  I relate it because it helps tell the story...you'll just have to believe me, or not.  Otherwise, the only thing to write would be, what you saw this weekend was four teams that played in the playoffs last year played against four teams that didn't play in the playoffs last year.  That's the extent of the analysis.

This hadn't dawned on Bokolis during the first game.  My anti-Texans bias had me leaning Raiders, but I wasn't exactly heavy...as per some texts to the group, I'd feel better waiting for a decent 2H line on the Seahawks than I do about the game lines.  Make no mistake- I don't like either of these games. Of course, I immediately get bombarded with c'mon WTF you gotta take a side!  I explained that, if you're playing x on the game line and subsequently playing 5x to 10x on in-game bets- do I really need to be so married to a pick that I'm going to chase it down the rabbit hole?

Therefore, it was easy to jump off the Raiders when, in a case of if at first you don't succeed at cocking things up, keep at it, they ran their first sets of plays without trying to get the ballpast the line of scrimmage.  They even ran some version of a screen three times in six plays, until Clowney finally intercepted it.  The ensuing touchdown (and 10-0 score) prompted a panic-buy of the Texans at -10.5, even though Bokolis hadn't yet completely lost faith in the Raiders.   When the Raiders broke off a punt return and finally looked like a viable offense on a short field, I was thinking it was a mistake.

So no chirping for that one.  We'll save that for the under 44.5 grabbed on in-game and, in particular, the under 27.5 for the first half that we grabbed during the quarter break (score was 10-7).  They asked, do you see more than 10 points in this quarter after seeing 17 in the first???  Yes it was ???  Recall that it was widely thought that both teams would struggle to score.  Bokolis' response was, I see exactly 10...do it.  After the fact, I teased, if you looked hard enough, I'm sure there were odds for exactly 10.  There may have been a few cunts sprinkled into that exchange.

To show that I hadn't picked up on the trend, Bokolis' post-mortem on the Raiders was, I can't believe the Raiders were the ones to lay an egg.  Right down to the o-line, coach called bullshit game, receivers didn't want the ball, even the punter couldn't punt.  Notice that I didn't pin any of it on the quarterback starting his first game.

Similarly, in Seattle, the Lions didn't show up at all.  As pointed out in the prediction, it's not like Bokolis expected the Lions to win- I had the lads on Seattle money line while it was still -380; between gmes, it shot up to -500- but I thought we'd get a half of decent football.  The best the Lions could do was two 50-yard field goals.  As Seattle 2H was my most confident pick of the weekend, I had the boys send it in- Seahawks were -3 (GIFT!)- and, like picking up a pack of gum at the counter, we grabbed under 23 on the way out, or at least we tried to...the line dropped to 21.5 before we could get out the door.  My consoling was that there was little chance that it falls on 22.

Bokolis turned out to be correct on the Lions bombing the second half.  But, we found out after the fact that Stafford was pretty much useless with his shanked middle finger, and that was the explanation for the poor second half performances.  Well, this time it was also the explanation for a poor first half performance.

There was so much anti-Dolphins sentiment out there that the Steelers shot up all the way to -12.  Sunday was more busy-with-life for Bokolis.  I had been running around, but was listening in the car.  It is amazing the perspective you can gain from just listening to the game.  With television, the broadcasters refuse to let the game breathe.  Because they have to say something, they often say things that are contrary to what you are watching, which actually worsens your experience, whether you consciously sense it or not.  On the radio, the tone of voice of the announcers conveys as much as their words.  Their word conveyed that the Dolphins did not bring their winter jackets with them.  When I finally got in front of a TV for a minute - during the third TD drive- the body language was as I expected.  So it was an easy move to grab the Steelers 2H at -3.5.  The boys also grabbed the under, but I wasn't in a position to cosign.

Bokolis was again on the run.  But, we had discussed the script of the Giants-Packers game beforehand.  The script was technically holding at 14-13, but the wheels had come off the wagon well before.  I had advised the lads that, for the first quarter line, to take the team who got the ball first.  Green Bay won the toss, but deferred.  The idea had been that since the line for the first quarter was  Packers -0.5, the Packers were the play.  When they deferred, the Giants became the grudging play.

aside - When discussing modern wagering, Bokolis forgot to point out that one of the main features is the ability to buy pup to two points at half-point intervals.  So, we were on the Giants for the game at +7.5 and we felt sooooo good about it.  I got flak for taking the Raiders, but not so much for the Lions, as the 2H play on the Seahawks was a heavy play.  Buy the time of the Steelers, I was conscious of what the returning playoff teams were doing to the debuting sides.  While my heart was on the Giants, the big picture of what I was seeing was telling me otherwise.

When discussing the path of this game with the lads, Bokolis saw Rodgers- when I speak of the Packers, I always speak in terms of Aaron Rodgers- getting consecutive scores at some point.  Where the Giants were at that point, I reasoned, would determine how this game would play out.  So, when the Giant's scored to cut it to 14-13 with 5:16 left in the third quarter, on the surface, that's about where we were supposed to be.  But it doesn't mean we were on the rails.

After a Green Bay punt, the Giants had possession deep in their own territory with about 5 minutes left in the second quarter.  At that point, I told the boys that this was the most important possession of the game.  It was imperative that the Giants see out the half from there.  If they didn't, given that they were only up 6-0 despite their dominance to that point, they would lose.

They went 3-and-out.

Rodgers blew down the field in three plays and a minute twenty five.

Well the Giants may be able to withstand that blow because they have enough time to do something here.  They go 3-and-out again, keeping their top two running backs off the field on 3rd and 1 and running with Rainey, who has consistently proven to be as useless as tits on a nun.

The Packers were using time outs all the while.  Crunched for time, they only managed to cross midfield and the half was set to run out on them after throwing a ball deep down the middle, only to have the receiver drop the pass, serendipitously, as it turned out.  The clock stopped, leaving time for one heave into the endzone pile-up, which the Packers caught for a touchdown.

In a few minutes, this year's Giants had turned into last year's Giants.  Bokolis had just walked in to see it. My last text to the lads was, don't ask me, I'm steaming.  I hope they knew what to do.

In the ruin, one of my buddies said, as a Cowboys fan, I'm not so upset with the result.  Bokolis immediately responded that his boys haven't been in the playoffs either.  We'll see what lesson they learn.

Looking forward, I had them grab the Steelers at -1 last night because Bokolis expects this line to be up to -3 by game time.  It hit -2.5 today, before settling back to -2.  I suppose that it will move some more once people feel better about Ruthlessbuggerer's ankle.  The Patriots line might hit -30.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Playoff Eli and the backup QBs

Bokolis knows what y'all muthafuckas want.  I've sent you to the window for something like 5 years running, so this time of year has been like a second Christmas to y'all.  Well, look here baby- you hittin' them corners too goddamned fast...you need to slow this muthafucka down, you understand.



In a serious departure from form, Bokolis has watched a lot of rugby for fairies this season, particularly the NFL.  I went and involved myself in one of those survivor pools.  I lasted until week 13, but this pool is giant and I knew I was done for after week 10.  After settling on week 11 last year, there were still so many people left this year that we had to start picking two teams for week 13, which sunk me.  Six people actually made it through the regular season and they are apparently having issues settling on a chop, so they forge ahead into the playoffs.

The upshot is that Bokolis paid very close attention to the NFL this season...and it takes up way to much of my time.  A couple of venturing sorts even enlisted my help in picking some winners.  After a long retirement, what I've found is that you can do all sorts of degenerate gambling online.

Unlike the old days of calling the book on the phone, it's all online and, whereas you would bet the spread and the totals, you can now take the money line, bet each quarter, bet in-game, to say nothing of the prop bets.  Most importantly, you can buy points when you take the game lines.  For these purposes, I use the prevailing lines.

These days, data are abundant and available.  If you can process information and understand  patterns, dynamics and body language, you can gain a serious advantage on the house because, while the house has far better data gathering capabilities, its processing and modeling is relatively primitive.

Bokolis won't say that I've come out of retirement, but I've made a few people happy this season.  Now that I've set myself up to fail, I'll tell about the NFL playoffs.  As always, remember that this information is worth about what you paid to read it.

Raiders (+4) over TEXANS - This is quite a tough game to pick, but the Raiders can definitely pick off the Texans here.  The QB matchup is the unknown Cook missing his left tackle vs the known scrub Osweiler, demoted to backup and elevated due to the concussion of his replacement.  With Cook, all we know is that he had an effective half of football last week against a far better defense, albeit a defense that had the game in hand.  The sentiment is that Houston, having almost won (in Mexico) against a full-strength Raiders, is home and its defense will carry them through against the third-string QB.  Bokolis disagrees, and has decided that Osweiler is bad even beyond his play.  I've decided that people just don't want to play for him, as Denver's offense magically shaped up when a chicken-armed P.Manning was restored and the Texans offense regressed as the season wore on, ostensibly as people replaced faith in with bitterness for the $72 million quarterback.

Lions (+8) over SEAHAWKS - It's been said that the Lions haven't won a road playoff game since, like, 1954...and that Stafford is, like, 1-23 on the road against teams with a winning record.  Bokolis harbors no illusions about the Lions clipping the Seahawks here. But I see the Seahawks coming out flat and rallying to win.  Since I'm not excited about the game pick, I'll also be keen to find a good second half line for this one.  While the pundits are chirping about Detroit having been behind in the 4th quarter in every game this year and winning 9 of them, I will focus on the last three games, where the Lions have laid an egg in the second half.

STEELERS (-10.5) over Dolphins - The Steelers tend to respond in a big way when their pride's been fucked with.  In the regular season game in Miami, courtesy of Jay Ajayi, it was definitely fucked with, and Pittsburgh will be eager to redeem itself.  The Fish will be out of water in the Pittsburgh winter and will capitulate in the second half.  Laying the wood is a worry but, as with the Lions, Bokolis would be shocked if the Dolphins won this game.

Giants (+5.5) over PACKERS - Around NYC, everyone is acting like they have the roadmap.  They've seen the Giants twice ride to Super Bowl victories from this position, so they think it's all set up to happen a third time.  Despite the offense trudging along for the balance of the year,  there is suddenly this talk of a Playoff Eli, where in the face of the smallest margin for error, E.Manning magically puts it all together to find razor-sharp focus, eliminate mistakes and inaccurate duck-throws, and carry his team to narrow victory.  He's got five playoff road wins!  He's got as many playoff victories in Lambeau as Aaron Rodgers!

The fans and analysts cling to these statistical anomalies and the magic carpet rides without acknowledging that E.Manning has no playoff victories in seasons other than those in which he won his two Super Bowls.  They tacitly admit, even without properly acknowledging, the impact the defenses had on those two rides.  This year's defense seems to have rounded into form, having clamped down on Dak, Stafford and (what a scrub!) Cousins in the past four weeks, even as it didn't handle the squirmy Wentz down in Philadelphia.

To Bokolis, that's the cause for concern.  They will be up against Rodgers, a master at buying time to either throw his receivers open or scramble is way to a first down.  You can certainly count on 21 to 24 points out of him.  That may be beyond the capability of a middling offense, however uptrending, and the idea of Playoff Eli might be better applied as a name of a rock band.  Nonetheless, according to Football Outsiders, the Giants have played to the most consistently close scorelines (it's down there in other notes) in the history of...their history, anyway.  I like getting the points, but let's wait until they win a game before trotting out Playoff Eli.