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.