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.