My big present this year was a vacation, so don't think I fell off a bike or something. All is well here at the office.
Betting the last week of the season is tough. You have teams that are fighting for the playoffs, and you have teams that are eliminated already. You have teams that are already assured of their playoff spot, and they bench anyone with talent so that they don't lose Tom Brady in some meaningless game.
All of them can screw up your betting card. A Detroit can beat an Indianapolis today, and it will matter very little to the bookie's collection specialist if Indianapolis benched all their good guys.
A lot of gamblers dodge Week 17, but we here at East Of Boston play hardball... and we know that Chaos creates Opportunity. You have to go with your gut, and damn the torpedoes.
Steelers vs Bengals (-6)
This looks like the final game for Bill Cowher and that superb chin of his. Cincy should stomp them, but Bill deserves to go out better than that.
Rams (-2) vs Vikings
Minnesota cut their best wide receiver on Christmas Eve, so they deserve the beating I hope to see them get.
Lions vs Cowboys (-13)
This looks like Matt Millen's last day as GM of the Lions, but so have the last several years of Detroit's week 17 games. "Fire" isn't a harsh enough verb for what should happen to Millen.
Carolina vs New Orleans (-3)
New Orleans should rest everyone, and Carolina should send all their players into the stands to apologize for how poorly they played this season... even if the game is in New Orleans.
New Orleans, 10-9
Jaguars vs Chiefs (-2)
We bade them our mitch last week, and the pattern should continue against KC at home.
Bills vs Ravens (-9)
I like their D, but Baltimore isn't going anywhere in the playoffs this year. They can cover this spread, though.
Texans vs Browns (+4)
I wouldn't bet on this game with a bad check, and neither would Daglivak... who is a bad Czech. If a set of circumstances exist that somehow allows BOTH teams to lose a game... this is where they could occur.
Titans (-3) vs New England
The Mafia seems to assume that we will rest our starters and play our bench, and Belichick looks too smart to cross the Mafia.
Tampa (-3) vs Seattle
Old friend Deion Branch dropped 4 passes last week, and even the punter refers to him as a "p***sy."
Raiders vs Jets (-12)
I see an upset here, although I can't think of a coherent reason as to why I see an upset... Oakland stinks like the bathroom the morning after a family with like 4 huge sons and a huger father go drop a paycheck at the Mexican place.
Falcons vs Eagles (-8)
This would be a pretty good bird fight if it happened IRL. Maybe they could starve 'em both, then lock them in a cage or a mountain gorge somehow. I'd bet the Falcon, but I'm not really expert in that area. Philly's going nowhere in the playoffs but First Round Exit Blvd.
Dolphins vs Colts (-9)
The Colts are favored to win it all every year, and they choke every year. The bettor in me is waiting for the time when they aren't favored to win it all, at which point they will engage in a rarely seen Disappointment Victory. Offhand, I'm thinking 2009 as the time when these particular stars align in this manner.
Cardinals vs Chargers (-13.5)
Unless they rest everyone for the playoffs, Sandy should beat the Cards like an overseer.
49ers vs Broncos (-10)
If you detonated a nuclear bomb in Colorado after all those blizzards, the suddenly melted snow would roll down the mountains to form a rarely-seen Inland Tsunami that would wash Nebraska dirt all over Ohio. Well, probably not... but it would be cool.
Packers vs Bears (-3)
Brett's last game (if he has an ounce of class) looks to be a chilly beatdown at the hands of a brutal Chicago defense. Just like the Inland Tsunami mentioned above, it'd be cool if Brett went 37-45 with 5 touchdowns to win a 3 OT thriller in his final game. Also just like the Inland Tsunami mentioned above, it most likely isn't going to happen. Ah, what the Hell...