Prognosticating Team Canada

2015_wjc_can_herewego_crowdSo now we know.  I started this piece last week, but without knowing who was going to at least be invited to team Canada’s WJC training camp it would be ridiculous to jump the gun with that information coming out soon.  But here we are.  The list has been released, and now it’s time for the brass to build a winner.

 

A winner?  What am I talking about?!  I’m certain the fans and media have already written Canada off, as is the trend these days.  Fans and media have a tough time grasping the fact during down periods for Canadian hockey that they aren’t the underdogs, they’re just simply on par with the other four contenders (the United States, Sweden, Finland and Russia).

 

The truth that not many want to admit is that if one of these countries get a hot goaltender that they’ll likely take the tournament.  Last year none of them did, which played in perfectly to the style the Fins were playing and they took it.  Everyone thought Canada was so horrendous, yet they lost to the Fins thanks to a fluke penalty by Joe Hicketts on a clearing attempt.  That doesn’t happen and Canada gets the one goal, there is a pretty good chance they go on to win gold.  But because that didn’t happen, they’re awful and the sky is falling.

 

This year, in addition to the tournament being back on home soil, the goaltending to me looks better than it has in most of the last seven years (I’d say Fucale/Comrie in 2015 is the one exception).

 

I would GUESS that Carter Hart is the starter in goal.  Yes he plays for Kevin Constantine and there for he doesn’t get much action.  But watch the kid play.  How does he move, how is his quickness, how technically sound is he, this isn’t tough to track.  If you’re scouting a goaltender, why would you care about what the shot clock says at the end of the night?  Track the quality shots, the quality saves that get made.  Anyone who watches Hart will tell you he’s a stud, and the only thing that is a concern moving forward is his size and the trend which is going on in the NHL of wanting bigger goaltenders.  Make no mistake though, this kid is an elite junior goaltender.

 

Connor Ingram should be the backup, but keep in mind that Michael NcNiven is a Montreal Canadiens prospect.  It wouldn’t be just that, he has real solid numbers this season too for Owen Sound this season, but that little added bonus could push a kid like Ingram or even Hart to the side.  I hope not, but Hockey Canada doesn’t exactly have a track record of pushing politics aside (*cough* Steve Spott/Ryan Murphy *cough*).

 

I don’t really like to get into omissions.  I used to.  I used to get extremely rattled at guys who I thought needed to be on the team when really I was just loving everyone who was a first round pick like a complete d-bag.  Having said this, I’m really not getting why Connor Hobbs or maybe even David Quenneville weren’t at least invited to this camp over a guy like Victor Mete.  There are only three right handed shot D-men on this list, and none of them are great PP guys.  Hobbs and Quenneville, in the WHL….not the Q….the dub…are well over a point per game this season (Hobbs has 29 points in 21 games, Quenneville has 31 points in 24 games).  I’m really not getting that one.  I know Hobbs isn’t the best skater, and Quenneville is a really small kid (5’8), but having these kind of weapons to put out on the PP to me is too valuable to pass up in my opinion.

 

Having said that, this team still has enough to make a pretty good defence core.

 

Getting Jakob Chychrun back from the Coyotes would be nice, but I don’t see it as a necessity.  More often than not, guys coming back from the NHL to play in the World Juniors is a bit of a let down.  They’re living their dream, and then it gets taken away from them.  Not to say that the World Juniors isn’t a dream too, absolutely it is, but it’s not as big of a dream as the NHL.  So what tends to happen is a lot of these kids don’t perform the way many believe they will.  Plus, this team is pretty deep on the left side of the D.

 

Chabot and Juulsen seems like a lock to be the top pairing.  For me, Dante Fabbro as long as he’s back to 100% by the start of the tournament should be on the 2nd pair with either Chychrun or Jake Bean.  Fabbro isn’t an elite skater, but his hockey sense is off the charts and he’s a kid who just does everything very well.  I was extremely high on him going into last year’s draft, and felt he should have gone much higher than 17th to Nashville.

 

Reading between the lines on what Bob McKenzie was saying yesterday, it sure sounds like they’re set on having Jeremy Lauzon and Philippe Myers as their 3rd pair.  I’m….OK with that.  I worry though, because Hockey Canada for the last seven years or so seems to get hung up on getting guys with chemistry on the team, passing over bigger talents in the process.  And I’m the guy who always harps on building a team rather than amassing talent.  But blindly taking guys just because they play together isn’t the answer either.  It’s new coaching, new systems, new teammates, it’s completely different from what those two or in some cases a full line of guys have been playing with.  But Lauzon and Myers have pretty good credentials, so I’m good with that as the third pair, just as long as both guys actually deserve to make it.

 

As for the 7th guy (should Chychrun not return), I’d probably get homerish here and say it should be Kale Clague, but I’d like to think I’m saying that more so because he can play either side, where a kid he’ll undoubtedly be competing with in Samuel Girard, doesn’t normally play the right side.

 

Up front this year, especially now with Strome and Barzal back in junior, they’re loaded.  Easily the strength of the team.  I had trouble getting the forwards down to 16 let alone 13.  Again, much like Chychrun, Lawson Crouse would be nice to have back, as would Anthony Beauvillier, but I don’t think either guy is needed.  I would personally prefer to have Tyson Jost centring the 3rd line, but they’re so deep down the middle that they can afford to put Jost on the wing, and Pierre-Luc Dubois would be the top LW on most World Junior teams yet should they get those two back he might be pushed down to the 3rd line as well.  Nolan Patrick is likely going to be pushed to the wing, Sam Steel will likely get pushed to the wing if he even makes the team (I would sure as hell hope so, but stranger things have happened), Nic Roy could get pushed to the wing too.  This team is just insanely deep down the middle.

 

So in talking about all this, I THINK this is the roster that I would go with today, ignoring the lines as this is more of a depth chart, and I’ll suggest that they don’t get any of the NHL kids back:

 

Jost – Strome – Gauthier

Dubois – Barzal –  Stephens

Steel – Roy – Raddysh

Howden – McLeod – Joseph

Patrick

4 QMJHL, 4 OHL, 4 WHL, 1 NCAA.  Perfect balance that should keep all the leagues happy.  Left Blake Speers off seeing he only has played one game this season, yet it sounds like they want him on the team.  So then I didn’t know who I take off.  They might end up putting a right handed shot on the left side which would leave a kid like Brett Howden at home.

 

Chabot – Juulsen

Bean – Fabbro

Lauzon – Myers

Clague

No OHL D-men.  Does Victor Mete make this team because of that?  I hope not, because he’s not as good as most of the other LH shot D-men, but don’t be shocked if it happens…

 

Hart

Ingram

McNiven

Obviously the only thing to find out here is the order.  All three kids are having great seasons.  I think without a doubt Hart should be the starter, but a case can be made for Ingram.

 

But let’s be honest.  None of us really care that much who is on the team, we just care that they win.  As I said off the top, they have all the ingredients.  They always have all the ingredients, but it’s brand new teams in a short tournament which is always unpredictable.  It comes down to getting a hot goaltender, good coaching, and good special teams.  If those things happen for Canada, it’ll be the 2nd gold in three seasons, and maybe some people can shut up for a few minutes about how the sky is falling for Canadian hockey.

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 12 Hot Takes

drewbreeslosangelesramsvneworleansrcx67ezkkyglWELP…I could cry.  Since Sunday night, I could cry.  I’ve been feeling it lately betting football, so I decided to make a big bet.  Not in terms of money (although, 60 bucks is a lot more than the usually gutless 10-20 I lay on games), but in terms of odds.  If I won the bet, 10 grand.  That went out the window thanks to the Dolphins not stopping the 49ers on a 4th and freaking 15!!  How do you not stop a team to close out a game when it’s 4th and 15?!?  They didn’t, but I could still win pretty big because that game was only a push, not a loss.  I still had 5200 I could pull in, nice little Christmas gift.  It won…had the Calgary Stampeders simply won.  The biggest underdog that I bet against in the entire bet, 10 games, was the one that beat me and cost me 5200.  It sucks knowing I was SO close to winning 10 grand, but it REALLY sucks that I got down to three games to go and the virtual guarantee cost me 5200.

 

I know this is NFL hot takes, but let’s hit on the Grey Cup for a minute here because I don’t talk much CFL and the league deserves more exposure and should get it from knobs like myself.

 

20 years ago I watched one of the best Grey Cup’s of all time between the Esks and Argos in a blizzard.  I remember being at my Grandma’s watching the 89 Grey Cup between the Riders and Ti-Cats, but I didn’t watch any of the game.  I was probably too concerned with getting a glass of Beep and getting her to make me some Zoodles…loved me some Zoodles!  That was the best Grey Cup of all time, but the 96 Grey Cup was maybe the most important of all time.  Because in 96, there was serious talk about the league surviving.  Fast forward to 2016, and the league isn’t in THAT kind of trouble, but I do fear it is in trouble.

 

With the country being so nuts about the Jays right now, and the NFL now being so accessible to us, the CFL faces a major uphill battle.  And it doesn’t help that currently it’s most vital markets are in down swings.  Saskatchewan I view as vital because of how big their fans make the league feel.  Toronto is vital because of how big they can make the rest of the league feel, and to a lesser extent Montreal.  It’s not a good scenario for the league right now, and I hardly hear any talk about the league amongst people I know.

 

So with all that being said, what a perfect time to get maybe the story of the year with 41 year old Henry Burris and the Redblacks upsetting one of the best regular season teams in CFL history.  The game literally had it all and while it wasn’t one of the best played games in CFL history, it may have been the most exciting.  It couldn’t have come at a better time for the league, and I really hope this is the beginning of a turnaround.  I would love to see them do some things with the salary cap to bring in more star power, but that’s a discussion for another day.

 

The Detroit Lions are going to win the NFC North ladies and gentlemen.  It’s going to essentially be by default, but they are going to win it.  It’s basically Matt Stafford on offense, and then a defense that stops teams JUST enough for Stafford to lead them on a game winning drive late, just like he did against the Vikings on Thanksgiving.  Other than that game there wasn’t much to add about the Thanksgiving day games.  Cowboys/Redskins was great, but nothing unexpected, and then the Colts/Steelers was a dud once we found out Andrew Luck couldn’t go.

 

What a difference a year has made for the Arizona Cardinals.  Most people picked them to go to the Super Bowl.  They aren’t going to the Super Bowl, nor are they going to the playoffs.  What’s really shocking is their defense is number 1 in the league in YPG.  And obviously they weren’t that good on Sunday.  But Carson Palmer has gotten really old, really fast.  I don’t know if it’s the playoff loss to the Panthers that’s still haunting him or if he’s just fallen off a cliff.  I just know that they’re done.  If you look at their remaining schedule, they’ll be lucky to go 2-2 in their next 4, which would put them at 6-8-1 going into their final game in L.A.  Done.

 

I still see the Ravens as a TOTAL fraud despite being 6-5 and leading the NFC North.  They don’t have one decent win under their belts.  They beat the Steelers I guess, but that was with the Steelers starting a still very beat up Ben Roethlisberger.  And even that game they did most of their scoring on special teams.  If they beat the Dolphins Sunday, it’ll be their most impressive win of the season.  This team has a good D, but nothing else.  They’ve just got insanely lucky thus far with their schedule.  Watch for them to drop three of their next four.

 

The NFC version of the Ravens is the Giants.  I won’t go on and on about them again this week, but just keep in mind what I said last week:

I would not be shocked if the Giants lost their final five games of the season.  The lightest of their final five is the 6-4 Lions at home.

 

Man, nobody is talking about them, but the Saints…at least offensively…have been back in full force this season!  Brees just has too many weapons to work with, and their O-line is playing really solid.  Only 5-6, but they got a massive game in two weeks in Tampa, then they get Tampa at home again in week 16.  Their chances aren’t great to make the playoffs, but they aren’t dead yet.

 

Of course they have to win those games against Tampa, who are coming off win’s at Arrowhead against KC, and now at home against the Seahawks, and the Bucs are starting to look like the team I’ve been expecting them to be.  It seems like every year I have the Bucs to make this massive improvement and at least challenge for the NFC South.  Well now they’re finally doing it.  Jameis Winston is coming along nicely (although as Johnny Manziel would tell you, having Mike Evans to simply throw it up to is a nice luxury to have, most underrated WR in the league), their D is really solid, and with Doug Martin healthy their running game is pretty good.  Those will be a couple of sneaky big games between the Bucs and Saints coming up.

 

What a game that was in Oakland.  Again, I still don’t see the Raiders winning the AFC West, but they’ll be a big threat to anyone in the playoffs.  I’ll also go out on a limb (hot take, HOT TAKE!!!) and say they’ll be Super Bowl favorites heading into next season.

 

I don’t know if what I just watched in Philly was good from the Packers, or bad from the Eagles.  One thing I’m pretty certain about is Carson Wentz has digressed a lot since week 3.  Member that (oh and for all you fake South Park fans, at least get the f***in joke right when you reference it, they’re “Member berries”, not “Remember berries”)?  Wentz was the next Peyton Manning!  How could the Rams be so stupid to take Goff over Wentz?!  The hot take community was all about that one.  Well now, Goff looks ok and should get better, and Wentz is getting worse.  There is a long way to go in both these kids careers, let’s just settle the f*** down on both of them.

 

I have to hit on my picks ATS.  I went undefeated!  How sweet is that?!  Well, not too sweet, because I only won two games?!?!?!?!  2-0-3.  Three freaking pushes!  Better than loses, but that’s just annoying.

 

Speaking of betting, as has now become the way I end this piece, here’s a look at how I did predicting the betting lines for the upcoming week 13 games.

 

Dallas -3.5 at Minnesota

Spot on.

 

Kansas City at Atlanta -3

Falcons are -4, so that’s another win.

 

Detroit at New Orleans – 2.5

Ouch!  Up to -5.5 for the Saints and climbing.  Public must be on the Saints hard after seeing them put 49 on the Rams.

 

Los Angeles at New England -11

Another loss as the Pats are -13.5.

 

Denver -6 at Jacksonville

Back in the win column, though the Broncos are only favored by 5.

 

Houston at Green Bay -3.5

Apparently opened at this, now at 4.5.  Still a win.

 

Philadelphia -1.5 at Cincinnati

Even after the loss, Eagles are favored by 1.  Pretty surprised at this, likely would take the Bengals with how Wentz is trending.

 

Miami at Baltimore -2.5

Another one within a point as the Ravens are favored by 3.5, and as I said when I predicted this line…take the Dolphins!!

 

San Francisco at Chicago -2

Bears by 2.5, and climbing.  The 49ers are winning this one outright.

 

Buffalo at Oakland -3.5

Raiders only by 3.  Pretty surprising to me as I thought if anything they would be favored by 4 or 5.  Early money has gone on the Raiders though so this will move that way.

 

NY Giants at Pittsburgh -6

Steelers by 5.5.  I’m terrified to bet the Giants right now, and the Steelers are far from safe to bet as well, but my inclination would be to take the Steelers here.  Again, I just think the Giants are such a fraud, so perhaps Vegas is trying to bait the public into taking the Giants?

 

Washington at Arizona -2.5

Bingo, Cards by 2.5.

 

Tampa Bay at San Diego -3.5

Bingo, Super Chargers by 3.5.

 

Carolina at Seattle -6.5

Was bingo earlier in the day, Seahawks now up to 7 point favorites.  A win, but I enjoy saying bingo.

 

Indianapolis -2 at NY Jets (this is IF Andrew Luck is playing)

Damn.  Read that it opened at the Colts -2.5, but is now a pick’em.  Still, 12/16 within a point.  Not to brag, but DAMN I’m good at this!

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 12 Picks ATS

qfcrqzlkBack on track baby!  So as I said in my “hot takes”, if you look at four of my last six weeks against the spread, I’m a ridiculous 15-4-1!  Unfortunately in the two weeks previous to last, I was 1-8-1.  I don’t get it.  It’s like you’re dominating time of possession, dominating in total yards, yet thanks to a tipped pass and two freak fumbles you’re only leading by a field goal.  I’ve been picking real good this season, but for whatever reason I went ice cold for two weeks.  Now 30-23-3 on the season.

 

San Diego at Houston

Chargers -2.5

I don’t particularly LOVE this bet, but I do like it.  Make of that what you will.  Chargers are coming off a bye, Texans are on a short week so that’s a pretty big positive right there.  I also know the Chargers are the better team.  And being less than a field goal spread, that’s where I simply like to go with the favorite.  The Texans have given me a lot of scares this season due to being better than I give them credit for, but I still feel confident enough in the Chargers here to take them at -2.5.  -3 or -3.5, you should think about taking the Texans.

 

San Francisco at Miami

Dolphins -7

It’s a big number, but you need to swallow the points here.  First off…one of my favorites…yes I spell like an American when I’m talking NFL….West coast team playing a 10 AM PST game.  Another thing I like, the Dolphins are emerging as a really good team under Adam Gase.  Another thing I like, the 49ers are terrible.  That’s as black and white as I can get with this one.  49ers will have trouble scoring, Dolphins won’t, as I said off the top swallow the points.

 

Tennessee at Chicago

Titans -6

Another big number here.  Titans in Chicago, normally you wouldn’t take the Titans by 6 over anyone on the road.  But this Titans squad is pretty good.  I believe this team is winning the AFC South.  And how are the Bears going to put up points?  I love Jordan Howard, but that is literally all they have on offense.  They have a solid defense (10th in the NFL in YPG), but they aren’t shutting out Mariota, and he doesn’t turn the ball over.  So while I don’t expect a lot of points going on the board, I do expect the Titans to win this one comfortably.

 

Carolina at Oakland

Panthers +3

This is a pretty big QB matchup, as it could pit the reigning MVP against the future MVP.  Carolina is winning this one outright, but even at +3 it’s even money right now.  Luke Kuechly is a big absence for the Panthers without a doubt.  But that D is still solid.  I don’t care what the numbers will say for this season as a whole, we all know they’re fully capable of shutting down anyone when they’re on.  Also, the Raiders D won’t give Newton any problems, and Mr. Frontrunner can light a team the f*** up when nobody is raining on his parade.  I love the Panthers here, and I don’t think I’m done talking about betting this game…

 

Kansas City at Denver

Chiefs +3.5

The Broncos are off a bye.  The Broncos are at home.  I love the Chiefs here.  First of all, more than a field goal is always nice in a game that’s essentially a pick’em.  Also, I really believe the Chiefs are the better team.  The more film coaches get on Trevor Siemian, the worse he gets.  That’s not a coincidence.  Aqib Talib is back for the Broncos and Jeremy Maclin is out for the Chiefs, but the problem there is the Chiefs don’t use their WR’s a ton anyway.  I’d expect a very ugly Sunday night game with it coming down to the wire.

 

Over/Under

1-1 last week, 4-2 overall (only done this for three weeks).

 

Carolina at Oakland

Over 49.5

Love this one.  LOVE IT.  As I said above, QB frontrunner will be in all his glory as the Raiders D doesn’t believe in being good despite having one of the best pass rushers in football.  Derek Carr on the other hand lights up everyone.  So 49.5 is a gift!

 

Green Bay at Philadelphia

Over 47

I think you’re starting to notice that I refuse to bet the under.  My theory is that if you bet the under it is always in question.  When you bet the over, there is a threshold that once it’s broken, you win.  Makes sense to me, likely makes no sense to you, but regardless I’m just done betting unders, never win them, and then you’re hoping for a boring game.  Anyway, this is much the same as the bet above.  The Packers D can’t stop anyone, and Rodgers puts up points on everyone.

 

Guessing the Lines (week 13)

8/16 last week, 23/44 overall (only done this for three weeks).  I aim here to be within a point of the line.

 

Dallas -3.5 at Minnesota

As I’m writing this it dawns on me that this bet will be up somewhere, you’ll have to take my word on it but I didn’t see it yet.

 

Kansas City at Atlanta -3

 

Detroit at New Orleans – 2.5

 

Los Angeles at New England -11

 

Denver -6 at Jacksonville

 

Houston at Green Bay -3.5

 

Philadelphia -1.5 at Cincinnati

 

Miami at Baltimore -2.5 (take Miami!)

 

San Francisco at Chicago -2 (what a HORRIFIC game this will be)

 

Buffalo at Oakland -3.5

 

NY Giants at Pittsburgh -6

 

Washington at Arizona -2.5

 

Tampa Bay at San Diego -3.5

 

Carolina at Seattle -6.5

 

Indianapolis -2 at NY Jets (this is IF Andrew Luck is playing)

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 11 Hot Takes

ap_16325786687289It’s seriously U.S. Thanksgiving week already?!  That basically marks the beginning of the end of the football season.  That’s depressing for a guy like me.  Can’t football players just stop getting concussions and play year round?  Is that too much to ask?!  Like…just quit getting conky’s guys.  That’s all you have to do!

 

I guess I’ll start in Cincinnati where the Bengals look to be finished now that A.J. Green is likely done for the season.  Marvin Lewis is likely going to lose his job, but Tony Kornheiser brought up today something I’ve been thinking about with Cincy and that is Lewis took that organization from bottom feeders to being consistently good.  He’s a damn good head coach and if the Bengals let him go I’m sure it won’t take him long to find a gig elsewhere.

 

I say it every week and I’ll say it again: the Cowboys just continue to beat expectations every week.  I made sure to stay away from betting them this week and sure as shit they beat a 7.5 point spread against the Ravens who matched up well with them.  All the pro’s in Vegas were taking the Ravens, Colin Cowherd who has picked well over 60% this season was on the Ravens, and I just stayed away.  Thursday they are -9 if you can believe it, and a good team like Washington SHOULD cover that, but I just can’t bring myself to touch it.

 

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I don’t think we’ve ever had a Thanksgiving day schedule where the first two games were this sexy.  Cowboys and Redskins in a massive NFC East tilt, and before that we get the Lions and Vikings both coming off big wins in a battle for the lead in the NFC North.  It wasn’t pretty for the Lions against the Jags, but that’s how they’ve won all season.  Total offense they’re 25th.  Total defense they’re 19th.  Yet they’re just making plays at the right times.  The Vikings finally snapped their losing streak against a Cards team that just hasn’t been right all season, so this is the game that’ll prove whether or not they’re back to normal.  Unreal news coming out yesterday that Adrian Peterson might be back before the end of the season.  Say what you want about the way he raises his kids, but the guy is a freak of nature.

 

Tampa Bay beat KC in Arrowhead?!?  The Colts held a good offense to 17 points?!?  The Bears lost?!?

 

Speaking of the Bears…I’m not going to talk about them any further.  But I will talk about the team they played, and I’m going to say it now (hey, it’s finally an actual hot take!!!) that the NY Giants, after they beat the Browns on Sunday, will be the worst 8-3 team in NFL history.  That team is awful!  Yet they’re about to be 8-3.  I mocked it early in the season about people who would say that they were the worst 2-0 team in league history, assuming they would improve.  Well the same shitty team is now about to be 8-3.  They’ve hardly improved, but they have benefitted from a very weak schedule.  After the Browns game though, watch out.  I would not be shocked if the Giants lost their final five games of the season.  The lightest of their final five is the 6-4 Lions at home.

 

Jared Goff was…fine.  You have to remember that the Dolphins D is one of the best in the league, the Rams O-line is bad, their receivers aren’t good, and their offensive play calling isn’t good.  So other than Todd Gurley (who has underachieved a bit this season himself), this was an awful spot for a rookie QB which is why they’ve been sitting the kid!!!  I don’t think they will, but the Rams really need to get both Jeff Fisher and Les Snead out of power.  Those would perhaps be the hottest job openings in football should they open up, so it might be the perfect time to clean house after the season.  I love Jeff Fisher, but he has needed to bring in a top end offensive co-ordinator for 10 years now and refuses to do so.

 

I don’t know what more needs to be said about the Packers at this point, but I’ll gladly talk about the Redskins.  Some credit needs to be given to Jay Gruden.  He stepped into one of the biggest shit shows in the NFL.  Remember when he became their head coach?  Memba?!  It was all about RGIII and “make RGIII great again” may as well of been the motto.  They had no young talent thanks to blowing their wad in the draft on getting Griffin, and it was just a shit show.  Now, they look like they have their QB (Cousins isn’t a franchise QB, but they can win with him), and the offense in general is 2nd in the league in total yards.  It’s a playoff team for sure and I believe they’ll end up being the 5th seed in the NFC and a brutal matchup for one of the Vikings, Lions, Falcons or yes, possibly even the Buccaneers who are now only a game out in the NFC South.

 

My Raiders win again!  Sweet, but sweet because that gave me a 4-1 week ATS!  So in my last four winning weeks I’m now 15-4-1.  The only problem was the previous two weeks I was 1-8-1, but we can pretend that those two weeks didn’t happen if you want?

 

Finally, guessing the line.  How did I do this week after going 50% last week and getting 13 of 14 games within 2 points.

 

Minnesota at Detroit -1.5

Lions are -2.5, so only a point off, which if you’ve been keeping up with these you’d know that counts as a win.

 

Washington at Dallas -3

WAY OFF!!!  As of writing this, the public who is head over freaking heels on the Cowboys, have this spread now at Dallas -9!!!  I’m still scared to bet that with how hot the Cowboys are, but taking Washington +9 is a very intelligent bet to make.

 

Pittsburgh -4 at Indianapolis

It’s off the board right now with Andrew Luck likely gone with a concussion, but I’d be shocked if it’s right because of that.

 

L.A. at New Orleans -6

Saints -7, that’s a win.

 

Tennessee -4.5 at Chicago

Titans only -3.5, but again, that’s a win.

 

Arizona at Atlanta -2

A little bigger than I expected, with the Falcons favored by 4.  Might be a solid move to take the Cards, but the Falcons will be off their bye.

 

NY Giants -6 at Cleveland

Giants are -7, so another win.  I wouldn’t be SHOCKED if the Browns finally got their win here.  If they don’t, 0-16 is likely on the horizon.

 

San Diego at Houston -1.5 (I’d take the Chargers, but believe the Texans will get favoured)

Not on the board just yet as the Texans/Raiders game just ended, but I looked it up and apparently it’s a pick’em.  I’d still take the Chargers.

 

Jacksonville at Buffalo -6

Damn, this one is now up to Buffalo by 7.5.  Jacksonville is bad, but I don’t know if I’d trust the Bills that much.

 

Cincinnati at Baltimore -3

Ravens -4.5.  Much like the Bills, I know the Bengals suck, but can you really trust the Ravens?

 

San Francisco at Miami -7.5

Dolphins -8, so another win.

 

Seattle -7 at Tampa Bay

Early betting loves the Seahawks, but the line hasn’t moved yet from Seahawks -5.5.  A devastating loss for yours truly.

 

New England -7 at NY Jets

Pats -7.5.  Another win.  I’d think hard about the Jets here as they always play the Pats tough.

 

Carolina at Oakland -2.5

Wow, -4 for the Raiders according to what I googled (not on the board right now).  I’d take the Panthers here.  Not a Cam Newton fan but he should destroy this Raiders D.

 

Kansas City at Denver -2

Broncos -3, which is a win but I’m guessing I’d have been bang on had the Chiefs not laid that egg at home against the Bucs.

 

Green Bay at Philadelphia -3

Eagles -3.5, so that’s 8.  50% again this week.  Not bad, in my opinion.  I wish I could bet the games as good as I can predict the lines.

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

 

 

NFL Week 11 Picks ATS

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee TitansIt’s been a REAL shitty last two weeks!  1-8-1 in that time.  26-22-3 now on the season.  Just two weeks ago I was on a three week run of 11-3-1 (I’ll bring that up for the rest of the season, just you watch) and I was 25-14-3.

 

If there has been something I’ve learned it is who to stay away from and who to ride.  I’m staying away from the NY Giants and Philadelphia as you don’t have a damn clue what you’re getting from those two teams week to week.  Then you have teams like Green Bay, Dallas, and Cleveland (even though I’ve gone the other way on them) who are fun to ride right now.  Green Bay is always losing ATS, as are the Browns, where the Cowboys are beating the line every week, although I’d just stay away from the Cowboys/Ravens game this week.

 

Buffalo at Cincinnati

Bills +2.5

I don’t really like the Bills, but it’s becoming clear that the Bengals just aren’t a good football team.  So you combine that with the fact that the Bills are off a bye week and the Bengals are on a short week and I really love the Bills to take this one outright this week.  Of course I talked in the opening about teams you can’t and can trust this season, well these are two teams that have been pretty consistent week to week.  The Bills are better than I give them credit for, the Bengals are much worse.

 

Pittsburgh at Cleveland

Steelers -8

The Browns are getting their teeth kicked in every week.  I believe this line is only 8 because the Browns are on extra rest this week, but the Steelers are now a bit of a desperate football team.  They’re a game back of the Ravens in the division and lost what is so far their only head to head matchup.  Even though it’s a big number, I believe the Steelers are going to come out on fire for this one after losing that heartbreaker to Dallas.  And if the Steelers are fired up, it’ll be a blowout because the talent difference between the two teams is too big.

 

Tennessee at Indianapolis

Titans +3

I like the Titans outright.  This is a line that is predicated on past beliefs that aren’t reality this season.  The Colts aren’t good, and I know they’re off a bye week.  But while I’ve loved that being a betting go to in the past, we are starting to see since the new NFL CBA that the bye week is really only beneficial to teams with great coaching, and the Colts don’t have great coaching.  The Titans on the other hand are on fire.  Marcus Mariota has me really believing in him becoming a franchise QB and their running game is going to overmatch the Colts.  I don’t think the Titans run away with this one.  I would guess how it plays out is the Titans get up big early, the Colts comeback, but the Titans pull out a close one.

 

Green Bay at Washington

Redskins -2.5

This game is much like the one above.  The public still loves Green Bay, and still hates Washington which holds this line down to only 2.5 and has me ALL FREAKING OVER the Redskins this week.  There is clearly something rotten in the Packers locker room and I don’t think it is something that’ll be resolved this season.  The Packers at this point need a high draft pick, need to part way’s with Mike McCarthy who I believe is a fantastic coach but much like John Harbaugh, Marvin Lewis, and maybe even Mike Tomlin it is just time to move on (going to be a ton of coaching changes this offseason).  The Packers literally have no running game, which allows defenses to load up against the passing game which of course is normally the Packers strength.  I do think the Packers will battle hard in this one, but the Redskins will take it by a TD or so in the end.  Also don’t forget, this is a revenge game of sorts for the Redskins after being bounced by the Packers in last year’s playoffs.

 

Houston vs Oakland

Raiders -6

Notice that says “vs”, not “at” with this game being played in Mexico City Monday night.  So it’s a neutral site game, both teams are off their bye week, but I love the Raiders here in a bit of a blowout.  Brock Osweiler is just not a good QB, and the more time is going on, the more film coaches have on him, the more they’re exposing him.  So with two weeks for the Raiders coaches to game plan against him I think the chances are high that the Raiders D will make him look real bad in this one.  The Texans D meanwhile is solid even without J.J. Watt, but nothing special.  The Raiders O-line should own the Texans front seven, giving Carr time to pick apart their secondary.

 

Over/Under

1-1 last week, 3-1 overall (only done this for two weeks).

 

New England at San Francisco

Over 51

It’s safe to say that the Patriots on their own could by themselves go for 51 this week.  They won’t be happy after losing on Sunday night, and a nice little tidbit here is that Tom Brady grew up a Niners fan and doesn’t get to play at home very often.  He’ll be at his best in this game.  Now last week I had this same logic, and it was the Cards who let me down.  But I said, Chip Kelly’s play calling will put up points, and he has Colin Kaepernick at least playing confident right now.  I’m not going to suggest a score this week like I did with the Niners game last week, but I’ll just say I see this going over.

 

Green Bay at Washington

Over 49

I don’t get this one at all.  I think this game is going to be a total shootout.  The passing game is the strength of both of these teams, and so if this game goes under 49 then it would be a pretty massive shock.  Plus, the Sunday night games a lot more often than not seem to bring out the best in offenses (obviously the Seattle/Arizona game was an exception).

 

Guessing the Lines (week 12)

7/14 last week, 15/28 overall (only done this for two weeks).

 

Minnesota at Detroit -1.5

 

Washington at Dallas -3

 

Pittsburgh -4 at Indianapolis

 

L.A. at New Orleans -6

 

Tennessee -4.5 at Chicago

 

Arizona at Atlanta -2

 

NY Giants -6 at Cleveland

 

San Diego at Houston -1.5 (I’d take the Chargers, but believe the Texans will get favoured)

 

Jacksonville at Buffalo -6

 

Cincinnati at Baltimore -3

 

San Francisco at Miami -7.5

 

Seattle -7 at Tampa Bay

 

New England -7 at NY Jets

 

Carolina at Oakland -2.5

 

Kansas City at Denver -2

 

Green Bay at Philadelphia -3

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 10 Hot Takes

11132016-seahawks42b_tzr-780x501Man, a relationship is hard work.  I am currently sitting on my couch, and not the reclining part of my couch where my girlfriend is.  Nope, I’m stuck on the middle part.  And the Monday nighter is on my phone, because she gets the big TV to watch Teen Mom.  Like, I don’t mean to compare it to a place like prison, but it’s KIND OF like prison!

 

If that’s not a hot take, I don’t know what is!

 

I didn’t get to see the Sunday nighter, which was awesome from all accounts, so I’ll start with the gem I did get to see between the Cowboys and Steelers.  The Cowboys seemingly face a bigger challenge every week, and every week they pass with flying colours.  People rave about the two rookies and how amazing Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott are.  And they are great, don’t get me wrong.  But it’s all about the O-line.  That O-line is one of the best in NFL history.  The Cowboys had one of the best before with what was known as the Great Wall of Dallas in the 90’s.  All three Super Bowls the Redskins have won were mainly because of the hogs.  The Raiders in the 70’s were led by Art Shell and Gene Upshaw.  Of course (I say “of course” like any of you are anything of NFL history buff’s like I am) the Packers of the 60’s had likely the best O-line in league history.  This line isn’t THAT good, but they’re on their way to being all time like those lines were.

 

As for Romo v Prescott…they’ll stick with Dak, and I understand it.  I don’t think I would (still), but I do get it because of the shit storm it would create if they made the switch.  The best thing that could happen for the Cowboys in my opinion is if Prescott goes down for a game or two allowing them to put Romo back in and keep him there.  He’s the better QB, I’m sorry.  Don’t act like you haven’t seen a Cowboys team do this before.  This is what the Cowboys were when Romo has been healthy the two previous seasons.  And while Prescott took advantage of Bryant yesterday down field, he can’t do that against a team with a good secondary.  His arm isn’t strong.  His deep ball doesn’t have the zip on it that Romo’s does.  Most of the time I believe that shit is so overrated by fans and media.  But there isn’t much separating the two QB’s.  The deep ball and the experience are why I’d lean Romo.  But they’ll stick with Prescott, and I totally understand it and it’s likely the right decision because of the distraction a switch would cause.  And I’m not meaning to slight Prescott at all in saying all that, the kid is clearly real good.

 

If I did power rankings, which just about everyone does like a moron because they just simply go for a “what have you done for me lately” article rather than ranking the teams who would win it all despite what their record says, I would have the Cowboys ahead of the Seahawks.  Some might question that, seeing how the Seahawks are coming off that massive win at Foxborough.  But remember, they have two extremely controversial wins.  In fairness, that was with Russell Wilson being pretty beat up.  It does look like he’s getting healthy now and if that’s the case they’ll move back past the Cowboys in those power rankings that I don’t do.  That’s a pretty damn impressive win, and just when I was bitching about there being nobody worthwhile in the NFC, the Seahawks and there coach who celebrates everyone’s mistakes, and there annoying fan base who refer to themselves as “the 12’s” as if they weren’t about the 84th fan base to be called “the 12th man”, and did you know Richard Sherman went to Stanford?  I wish someone would mention that….anyway, that team will be back as the favourites in the NFC for the third time in four seasons.

 

A few weeks back I called Cam Newton a front runner.  I stand by that statement.  KC is real good, so that’s not a terrible loss.  But considering the Panthers led 17-3 at halftime and lost to a team that is built to play with the lead is pretty bad.  The good news for Cam is that the Saints are in town on Thursday, and they don’t play much D so Cam can start loving the game again since it’ll be easy for him…

 

Normally I talk about the Packers struggles, but I’m just going to focus on the Titans for this week.  They’re really improving!  I wasn’t a big Marcus Mariota guy at all, but he is learning to play from the pocket, he is only relying on his legs when the moment calls for it, and along with that great ground game they have led by DeMarco Murray I really believe the Titans will be the AFC South champions by season’s end, which isn’t saying much but it means they’ll get to lose to Oakland wildcard weekend.  That’s better than sitting at home like most teams will be doing.

 

I feel bad for Vikings fans.  This team would be on top of the NFC and a Super Bowl contender with Bridgewater, Peterson and Kalil all healthy.  Instead, all three are gone, Sam Bradford is now getting beat up and there for playing like his old skittish self, and now that defense is starting to look a little vulnerable.  Not that it isn’t still great, but they need it to be elite to have a chance these days and it just ain’t happening.  They’ve now lost four in a row.

 

Can people shut up about how the Rams made the wrong pick.  Does the American media seriously not know a thing about Jeff Fisher?!  He might be the most conservative coach in the NFL.  The man sat Steve McNair (3rd overall in 1995) for two seasons, not just one, before starting him.  He doesn’t believe in rushing his QB’s, especially one who never took a snap from under center in college.  There is NOTHING wrong with sitting Jared Goff.  Some dip shits are calling him a bust already.  Just save yourself the humiliation of speaking…dip shits.  Yes, this includes Cris Carter who went on Colin Cowherd’s show last week and went off about how he’s a bust, minus any inside information on the matter.

 

Last week I was tittering on saying the Dolphins have perhaps turned a corner.  Now their streak is up to four and the fourth was pretty impressive winning in San Diego.  I definitely believe they’re the second best team in the AFC East (not saying a lot), and they are now in the hunt for the 6th seed in the AFC.  I still would have other teams I like more to take that spot, but the Dolphins are in it and seem to have found their identity.

 

What has happened to the Bengals?  I know, they’re a joke come playoff time, but this has been an elite regular season team the previous five seasons.  They aren’t old, they aren’t any less talented, they just are playing awful.  They’re a much better team than the Giants, and coming off their bye week that’s a game you have to win.  This should be a likely will be Marvin Lewis final season in Cincy assuming this keeps up.  I got a good landing spot for him too….Baltimore.  John Harbaugh moves on after this season, Marvin Lewis goes back to Baltimore where he was the defensive co-ordinator for that awful to watch but defensively tremendous Ravens team that won Super Bowl XXXV.  Might make some sense.

 

My picks were shit again, yet this week I don’t think I did a thing wrong, just had shitty luck.  1-4.  Should have at least been 2-3!  That return on the two pointer in the Broncos/Saints game was BS, he was out of bounds!  Oh well, I was hot for three weeks, ice cold now for two.  That’s how betting goes.

 

Finally, how did I do guessing the lines this week?  Real good, thanks for asking!

 

New Orleans at Carolina -3.5

As of writing this (Monday night), I was only off my half a point.  Panthers -3.

 

Pittsburgh -10.5 at Cleveland

Close, but not quite right.  Steelers only favoured by 9.

 

Baltimore at Dallas -6.5

Off by a point, which is basically what I shoot for is to be within a point.  Cowboys -7.5.

 

Jacksonville at Detroit -4.5

Maybe the biggest miss of the week.  I don’t like the Jags at all but didn’t expect the Lions to get this much respect, though they deserve it.  Lions -7.

 

Tennessee at Indianapolis -1.5

Missed again here just barely.  I know the Colts are coming off a bye, but the Titans are going to win this outright, and as long as the line stays favouring the Colts it’ll be on my week 11 picks ATS.  Colts -3.

 

Buffalo at Cincinnati -3

I use Sports Interaction for my source on the lines, but with the Bengals/Giants game not done yet as of writing this I went to another site (footballlocks?  It has the projected lines, so whatever).  Bengals -4, so I just got it.

 

Tampa Bay at Kansas City -7

Bingo.  KC -7.5.

 

Chicago at NY Giants -4

A little larger of spread than I expected here.  Giants -6.

 

Arizona at Minnesota -2

I knew this was going to be very wrong after the Vikings loss.  But the Cards barely got by the lowly Niners at home.  Still, it’s a pick’em.

 

Miami -1.5 at Los Angeles

Hmmmm.  Pick’em.  As long as it stays that way or the Dolphins get points, I’ll be taking Miami.  They’ve turned a corner.

 

New England -13 at San Francisco

Going -13 I figured was nice an extreme, yet right with it being in San Francisco.  No love for the Niners performance in Arizona either.  Pats -14.5.

 

Philadelphia at Seattle -6

SPOT ON.

 

Green Bay at Washington -3

It’s off the board on Sports Interaction right now, but that other website says the Redskins are -2.5.

 

Houston at Oakland -7

JUST got this one with the Raiders -6.  I’ll be taking the Raiders if that’s the case, even with it in Mexico City.

 

7/14, but 13/14 were within two points.  I’m totally meaning to brag when I say that is DAMN GOOD!  Be sure to tune in next week when I brag about more shit I called, because if there is one thing I know about people, it’s that they love to hear when you were right and they weren’t…

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 10 Picks ATS

2cmblmwhAs you may be starting to notice, I love doing these historic pic mashup’s.  Ok, so last week…GROSS.  I came crashing back to earth last week with a horrendous 0-4-1 week.  After a three week stretch of 11-3-1 I go 0-4-1.  That’s betting football right there.  Makes no sense.  25-18-3 now on the season, which is still real solid, but I think I can do better.  I DID hit both over/under’s last week, so I’ll do two more of those today, and I did pretty good on guessing the lines so that is back for another week.  I know you’re just as excited to get this started as I am.  You’re…not?  Oh, well, nobody values your opinion anyway…stupid idiot.

 

Denver at New Orleans

Saints -3

This line I believe is one of those designed to put money on the Broncos, don’t.  The Saints are getting really hot, and the Broncos are starting to show cracks in the foundation.  Teams are figuring out Trevor Siemian, and the D is starting to get beat up.  No Aqib Talib again this week, T.J. Ward is questionable, no Derek Wolfe, this D is hurting bad.  Drew Brees is going to have his way with them.  Also, one of my favourite things is happening here.  Broncos, a MST team is playing in the East, 11 AM start for them.

 

Green Bay at Tennessee

Titans +3

Very simply the Packers seem to have a ton of problems in their locker room, and the Titans are going to run the football down their throats.  No Clay Matthews, so an already tough QB to track down gets tougher to track down for the Packers D.  I really believe the Titans are going to take this one outright.

 

Los Angeles at NY Jets

Jets -1.5

Easy bet here.  I think the reason the Jets are only 1.5 point favourites is because of the uncertainty of their QB situation.  Sounds like Fitzpatrick is going to go, but even if he doesn’t I don’t think it’s much of a drop off to Bryce Petty.  I also think the public are down on the Jets after the loss to the Dolphins, but the Dolphins are playing great if you haven’t noticed.  Meanwhile the Rams just aren’t that good of a team.  And again we have a West coast team playing a 10 AM PST game.  It’ll be a pretty low scoring game, but I believe the Jets will take it and with it only being 1.5, I love the Jets.

 

Dallas at Pittsburgh

Steelers -2.5

I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself.  The Cowboys, who I like to see do good unlike most, make me look foolish every week.  I project them to fall a little and they have embarrassed me every single time.  So here we are, Steelers giving 2.5 points.  But I have to think that the highly talented Steelers knock them off, because the Steelers keep playing up to their opponents.  Combine that with the fact that the Cowboys have had the easiest schedule in the NFL to this point, and the Cowboys secondary is a bit beat up which is the last thing you need against this Steelers passing attack.  I do worry a little that everyone is just assuming Roethlisberger will be much better this week, I don’t think it’s far fetched to assume that he’s still going to be playing very hurt.  But that’s still not enough to sway me the other way.

 

Cincinnati at NY Giants

Bengals -1

Bengals win here, I just don’t doubt it.  I know, the Giants looked ok off their bye week, but everyone should look good off their bye week.  Unless you have a terrible head coach, you should always look good off your bye week.  Well, now the Bengals are off their bye week.  And as much flack as Marvin Lewis gets for early playoff losses and last year’s implosion in the AFC wildcard game, Lewis is a damn good coach.  Add to that, the Bengals are a much more talented team than the Giants are.  Remember too, even though the Giants won last week, Doug Pederson’s play calling likely lost that game for the Eagles.  Had the Eagles connected on that fade route at the end of the game, the Giants would likely be a lot bigger dogs than they are this week.

 

Over/Under

2-0 last week

 

Dallas at Pittsburgh

Over 50

I don’t see these teams stopping.  This game is going to be a shootout, and I like the Steelers because while Prescott has proven himself in every situation thus far, facing Big Ben, in Pittsburgh, he’ll try to keep up but I don’t think he can.

 

San Francisco at Arizona

Over 48.5

The Niners can’t stop anyone, so the Cards off a bye are going to obliterate their defense.  The Cards might put up 41 on their own here.  And Chip Kelly as a play caller, despite the Cards D being as good as it is, will put up some points.  I’d be pretty stunned if this game went under 50, and you don’t even need it to get to 50.

 

Guessing the Lines (week 11)

8/14 right last week

 

New Orleans at Carolina -3.5

 

Pittsburgh -10.5 at Cleveland

 

Baltimore at Dallas -6.5

 

Jacksonville at Detroit -4.5

 

Tennessee at Indianapolis -1.5

 

Buffalo at Cincinnati -3

 

Tampa Bay at Kansas City -7

 

Chicago at NY Giants -4

 

Arizona at Minnesota -2

 

Miami -1.5 at Los Angeles

 

New England -13 at San Francisco

 

Philadelphia at Seattle -6

 

Green Bay at Washington -3

 

Houston at Oakland -7

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

Why the Canucks Don’t Blow it Up

Trevor LindenI really wanted to start this piece today with a bit of a political commentary, but I’ve thought better.  It’s too hot right now, and no matter what I say it won’t do anything but spark more mud slinging.  What I will say though is that can both sides seriously not see what’s happening anymore?  The left keeps pushing the right further to the right, and the right keeps pushing the left further to the left.  I don’t get why people can’t just look to have rational discussions about this shit?

 

Ok, that’s about as political as I’m going to get on this site, on with sports!

 

So I got in a back and forth the other day on Twitter myself.  Not about political correctness or blindly calling someone anti-Semitic or racist.  No, this was much more civil with a guy from Vancouver named Jason Brough who is the co-lead writer for prohockeytalk.com.  It was originally sparked by ESPN’s Corey Pronman who asked this:

Most of the time I try to keep my mouth shut, but I know the answer, so I was going to respond.  But I checked to see the responses first to see perhaps most others had told Pronman why this was.  This is where Jason Brough chimed in with this:

And I couldn’t help myself.

 

I’m not going to go through all the back and forth between us.  Not hard to find in my mentions though if you want to check it out.  I don’t know Jason at all, wasn’t meaning to be anything of a dick, and I’m not meaning to now, but I have to lay this all out.  It’s an itch that I have to scratch.

 

As I said to Jason, it’s nothing like Toronto.  Vancouver is a fair-weather market.  They’ve had trouble keeping their fans interested for their entire existence.  The pattern is pretty clear with this fan base that when they aren’t anything of a contender, they’ll stop coming.  He then pointed to Pavel Bure’s rookie season and suggested that as long as they have a young, exciting star to build around people will come.  But there isn’t any proof of that, because in Bure’s rookie season the Canucks finished 1st in the Smythe division.  In 1998 however Bure wasn’t that old and was having one of the best seasons of his career.  But the teams play went to shit, and despite having Bure the entire league with his play and an arena which was only in it’s 3rd season, attendance dropped.

 

Attendance doesn’t drop in Toronto, ever, which is why Toronto is able to do a rebuild and why it was so ridiculous that the rhetoric was that they couldn’t rebuild in Toronto.  You hear the same thing in New York when it comes to the Knicks.  “They can’t rebuild because there would be too much heat on the team from the fans and the media”.  That is just the media believing that they’re more important than they actually are.  And if you’re in a pro sports teams front office and care what the media thinks you likely shouldn’t be in that position.  You’re objective is to win, not to please the media.

 

Anyway, Vancouver.  This fan base doesn’t stick with their team.  And I’m not intending to be critical of them for being that way, it isn’t a “Canucks fan” thing, it’s a big market with a lot of entertainment options…thing.  It’s similar in Miami, LA, San Diego, Phoenix, etc.  So in these types of markets it is more vital that you produce a winner or at least attempt to win.  A rebuild means you don’t necessarily attempt to win.  Long term that’s the goal, but if you’re rebuilding, let’s be honest, it’s code for “we want to win a championship some year down the road and aren’t concerned with winning this season”

 

Jason thinks they just need a young, exciting player and the fans will flock to the arena.  But is there ever an example of that in league history?  I look at two examples.  Pittsburgh and Washington after getting Crosby and Ovechkin of course.  Obviously, American markets.  But similar markets to Vancouver in their historic patterns, a.k.a. they don’t draw well unless the team is doing well.  But by Jason’s theory, all they needed was an exciting young player and all would be well.  Let’s look at 2006, the rookie season for both Crosby and Ovechkin:

http://www.hockeydb.com/nhl-attendance/att_graph_season.php?lid=NHL1927&sid=2006

 

Yikes.  28th for the Caps, 20th for the Pens.  In 07 the Caps were still down, but the Pens made the playoffs:

http://www.hockeydb.com/nhl-attendance/att_graph_season.php?lid=NHL1927&sid=2007

 

The Caps jumped one spot to 27th.  The Pens only jumped two spots because even though they made the playoffs it obviously took the fan base a while to start believing in the team.  A team that had a 19 year old who won the Hart trophy.

 

Finally the next season, the Pens started selling out nearly every game.  The Caps did better, but they were like the 07 Pens in that the fans took a while to jump on board (if you remember, the Caps were terrible through the first part of the season, then fire Glen Hanlon and brought in Bruce Boudreau, and then they took off).  By 09, once established as a winner, they too started selling out nearly every game.

 

Point is, winning is what draws.  Having an entertaining winner helps, but just being a winner will trump just having a young star any day of the week.  The Pens and Caps didn’t just have a young star, they each had a young generational talent and still couldn’t sell out.

 

So we go back to the question as to why the Canucks are scared to do a full on rebuild, and it is clearly because owner Francesco Aquilini feels that he has to show the fan base they’re still attempting to win or else attendance could fall of dramatically.

 

As a hockey guy, I know this isn’t the way to do things.  Jason, and I’m not looking to rip on the guy at all, but he just either can’t or refuses to look at it from both sides.  I don’t blame Aquilini, as he has a business to run.  This isn’t Edmonton where they’re the only show in town with a billionaire owner who is much more of a fan than business man when it comes to the Oilers.  The Oilers were a complete shit show for six seasons, and yet attendance barely ever dipped, if at all.  Seeing that has likely scared Aquilini off from ever even thinking about going down that path.  Organizations should learn from the mountain of mistakes the Oilers made, but some of that was also horrible luck too that could happen to any organization.

 

I’m all for the Canucks bottoming out, and this season we are seeing it happen despite the Canucks efforts to avoid it.  I’m not all for it because I want to see the Canucks go through what the Oilers just did.  I’m an Oilers fan, I don’t run from that, but I always maintain that I want the Flames and Canucks to be damn good too.  You should want those rivalries.  It wasn’t a rivalry between the Oilers and either team the last seven seasons.  It wasn’t a rivalry between the Oilers and Canucks until 2003 when both teams were respectable playoff teams.  One hand washes the other.

 

Jason’s final tweet to me was this:

I’m sorry Jason, you seem like a nice dude, you got a shit load of more followers and readers than I have and likely ever will have, but you’re logic on this is really flawed here.  No better marketing than a young star player who allows fans to dream of championships?  Cup contending/Cup winning teams have always and will always outdraw teams that have dreams of being Cup contenders/Cup winners.

 

I’m not saying it’s how I build it, because to get to that Cup contending level almost all of those teams have to bottom out for a few seasons.  But I am saying Francesco Aquilini has major concerns about doing that and they are valid.

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 9 Hot Takes

elliottAnother late one this week, but since it makes more sense to do this after the Monday nighter, and I have hockey Sunday nights, I guess you’ll all just have to be patient for my amazing Hot Takes blog on Tuesday morning from now on.  I know that this is basically what you’re all living for at this point…

 

I’ll start with the Ravens/Steelers game in Baltimore and this really is one of the best rivalries in football.  Having said that, why was Roethlisberger starting that game?  He was awful, and Landry Jones isn’t that great but he’s better than what Roethlisberger was.  This Steelers team should be up there with New England, but they just feel sloppy.  The Ravens are terrible despite a now 4-4 record, and shouldn’t be close to the Steelers, yet they beat them pretty handily.

 

What more can be said about the Cowboys?  I STILL want them to go with Tony Romo in the playoffs though, and I don’t think I’ll move off this point that it simply comes down to the fact that rookie QB’s don’t win in the playoffs.  But no doubt at this point that this team is far and away the best team in the NFC right now.  Not that it was noticeable in the game Sunday because the Browns start Cody Kessler at QB, but their D isn’t getting anywhere near the love they should be.  Talk about disrespect, NOBODY thought they were anything even decent entering the season.  That secondary is one of the best in football, which is allowing their defensive front to get some pressure on QB’s.  Not a lot, but enough.

 

Meanwhile in Minny, even though the Vikings are really struggling right now, I think we might have seen the Lions take a major step towards joining that “top team in the NFC” conversation.  Granted, it’s an awful conversation at this point, but that was a very impressive win.  And they’re a solid team.  Stafford is great, and has a lot of weapons.  The D isn’t great but they aren’t terrible.  They’re 20th in total yards right now.  If they can just improve to say, 15th in that category it could make the difference for a Lions team that has now joined the race for 1st in the NFC North.

 

I have to at least mention that the Dolphins have now won three straight.  That’s nice, but all three at home against the Jets, Bills and a very inconsistent Steelers team (the game where Roethlisberger first went down).  Nothing impressive just yet at 4-4, but you need to crawl before you walk, and Adam Gase MAYBE has this team pointed in the right direction.

 

Carolina won again.  They aren’t done you know.  They wouldn’t have been done in a normal season, but especially in a year where every team in the NFC is seemingly going to go 8-8.

 

The problem for the Panthers is the Saints are starting to look REAL good.  I talked about it heading into the Seattle game that if they could win that one they’d be in the driver seat.  Then they went out and destroyed the hapless 49ers on Sunday.  The real tough game for them in their next four looked like it would be Denver.  But the Broncos just got badly exposed by the Raiders on Sunday night, and if they don’t have Talib back on Sunday Drew Brees might be able to pick apart that D.

 

I still don’t know what’s going on in Green Bay, but it seems to be getting worse.  I have a feeling that more than anything there are a lot of problems in the locker room.  Aaron Rodgers called out his teammates after the loss to Indy, and that can go either way.  Rodgers is the type of guy who can do that because he’s talented enough to then go out there and back it up.  But we all know he isn’t a guy who is beloved by his teammates like Manning or Favre was, or Brady is.  This team SHOULD win the NFC North with the injury problems the Vikings have, but it definitely doesn’t look good right now.

 

I’m kicking myself so badly about the Titans/Chargers game.  I knew that was going to be a shootout, and the over was only 47 for the game.  I bet 20 bucks on it.  20.  It’s not like I have a ton of money to bet, but I could have bet a hell of a lot harder on it than 20 freaking bucks!!!  Great game though.  Both those teams are sneaky good right now.  I think the Titans have a good chance to win the piss poor AFC South, and even though the Chargers are last in the AFC West, with the injury problems the Broncos are having right now and teams figuring out Trevor Siemian I think the Chargers have as  good of a shot as anyone to overtake the Broncos for the 6th seed in the AFC.

 

My Raiders won again.  7-2, but their schedule is really tough the rest of the way.  So I’d look for them to only finish up going 10-6 and getting one of the two wildcard spots rather than winning the AFC West which they currently lead.  KC is taking that.

 

Great Monday nighter, but I want to talk about that play at the end of the first half.  Am I the only one who thought Richard Sherman was pretty clearly looking to injure Dan Carpenter?  He wasn’t close to timing that snap, he had to have known he was way offside, he makes zero attempt to block an oncoming kick and instead goes directly for Carpenter’s knee.  Never mind how terrible the call on the field was, the NFL should look to suspend Sherman for that.  I know Carpenter dove and looked like a dip shit himself, but it was still a pretty dirty play.

 

I’ll end this week by going back to my week 9 picks ATS blog from Sunday morning where I guessed what the line would be for the week 10 games.  I didn’t do too bad!

 

Cleveland at Baltimore

Ravens -6

Missed badly.  I don’t know what it is with the Browns and myself.  I figured they’d play hard until they were done.  Well…they’re done.  Time to start betting them to be done.

 

Atlanta at Philadelphia

Falcons -2.5

Eagles for some reason are favoured.

 

Chicago at Tampa Bay

Buccaneers -6

According to a site I just googled, that has the other lines all in tact with what I’ve seen, the Bucs are only 1.5 point favourites right now.  It’s off the board right now, but that’s what they had it at.  If that is the case, bet your ass….check that…I’ll bet your ass, along with everything I got on the Bucs!  Unless I’m missing something really big here, not a freaking chance that stays anywhere near -1.5!

 

Denver at New Orleans

Broncos -2

Saints are favoured by 1.5, and after seeing the Saints destroy the Niners and the Broncos look pretty average on Sunday night this is not a shock.

 

Green Bay at Tennessee

Packers -2.5

Spot on with this one!  I’d take the Titans.

 

Houston at Jacksonville

Texans -1

Meh, off by .5.  I’d call that a win.

 

Kansas City at Carolina

Panthers -3

According to a site I just looked this up on, spot on.

 

L.A. at NY Jets

Jets -3

Only 2.5 right now but it’ll be at 3 soon.

 

Minnesota at Washington

Redskins -1.5

Off by a point, Redskins -2.5.

 

Miami at San Diego

Chargers -3

Off by half a point, Chargers -3.5.

 

Dallas at Pittsburgh

Steelers -3

Another one off by half a point, Steelers -2.5.

 

San Francisco at Arizona

Cardinals -13

Nailed it.

 

Seattle at New England

Patriots -3

The projection I found had the Pats are -7.  As of writing this it isn’t on the board yet due to the Seahawks playing last night, but I assume it’ll stay somewhere in there.  This and the Ravens/Browns pick were easily my dumbest of the week.

 

Cincinnati at NY Giants

Bengals -2

They have the Giants favoured by 2.5.  Bengals are going to win this one outright.

 

Pretty good slate of games next week.  Can’t wait to tell you all what happens in them after they’re done as if you didn’t watch them.

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Week 9 Picks ATS

eagles-v-giantsMan, I started last week with a cocky opening, hoping to get a laugh out of one of you (it didn’t, and I got a lot of hate mail from seniors), and believing it would jinx me.  Still, I remain red hot.  25-14-2 on the season, 11-3-1 in the last 3 weeks.  I apologize for how late this is coming out this morning, but I have take all the blame myself for that…and pin it directly on my girlfriend who doesn’t think I need to win you money!  She doesn’t get that people enjoy winning money.  Anyway, still time to place your bets.

 

Dallas at Cleveland

Browns +7.5

Now, as I’m writing this it is at 7.5.  It’ll likely go down to 7, as it was yesterday when I first looked at the lines.  I still would bet the Browns at 7, but I LOVE them at 7.5.  The reason for this is that this is a total trap game for the Cowboys.  They’re in the midst of a pretty tough stretch in their schedule and this is the only easy game.  And it’s not anything big either.  If they lose, it’s really no issue at all for them.  And as you’ve seen with me constantly betting the Browns…with mixed results…I’m a strong believer in them covering.  Not winning, but covering.  They’ll cover here and this will be a surprisingly close game.

 

Jacksonville at Kansas City

Chiefs -7

I just simply think the Jaguars are awful right now.  I really believe all the talent is there to be a good team, a playoff team at least in that disgusting division, but as long as Gus Bradley is the coach you can’t count me out as a believer in them.  Also, coming off their bye week the Jaguars looked worse than their colour rush uniforms.  It’s a big number, but the Chiefs are real good and the Jags are real bad.  Andy Reid v Gus Bradley, that’s like McGregor v CM Punk.

 

Philadelphia at NY Giants

Eagles +3

From the picture I put together you’d think this is my “marquee game of the day”.  Nah, I just like the rivalry, which has been declared by NFL Network as the number one rivalry in the NFL.  I don’t think the Eagles should be the underdogs in this game.  I know why they are, mainly because the Giants are coming off a bye week.  But the Eagles have been the better team this season and the one key matchup in this game will be the Eagles tremendous pass rush vs a Giants O-line that just hasn’t improved at all this season.  The Eagles will get to Eli Manning.  Vice versa, the Giants will be able to get to Carsen Wentz a bit, so expect a low scoring game.  But the Eagles are going to win this one outright.

 

Carolina at Los Angeles

Panthers -3

Had this game taken place in week 3 or 4, the Panthers would be at least -6.5 in this game, maybe more.  Sometimes you just need to say shit out loud.  Cam Newton vs Case Keenum.  The Panthers D hasn’t been what it was last season, but I still trust them, especially against Keenum and Todd Gurley who just hasn’t got his game going this season, mostly due to their awful O-line play.

 

New Orleans at San Francisco

49ers +4

This feels like a bait to me.  The Niners shouldn’t be only 4 point underdogs.  But they’re coming off a bye, and the Saints…even though they played pretty well at Arrowhead a few weeks ago….can’t be trusted on the road.  On paper, the Saints should dominate this game, and I think they’ll win.  But I don’t think they can be trusted.  So take the Niners getting points here.

 

A couple extras for you today.  I got a few over’s I like, so I’ll add them to the picks today.

 

Indianapolis at Green Bay

Over 53.5

They want you to be scared off by this number, don’t be.  It’s Luck, it’s Rodgers, both have looked good of late and neither defense should shut down the other’s QB.  So while you never say never, it would be a fluke if this game didn’t go over.

 

Tennessee at San Diego

Over 47

Nobody is taking too much notice, but we got two REALLY GOOD QB’s playing each other in this game.  It’s not a divisional matchup which usually produces a tougher defensive struggle, and so I think this one could get up into the 60’s.

 

Another thing I’d like to start doing is guessing the lines for next weeks games.  Bill Simmons does a show on this, Colin Cowherd does a segment on this, and I want to do something on this.  So it will require looking back at this piece, unless I just do a separate piece on Sunday night’s, but on Sunday night’s I write my hot takes piece already.  So, that leaves me with including it in my picks.  Here we go.

 

Cleveland at Baltimore

Ravens -6

 

Atlanta at Philadelphia

Falcons -2.5

 

Chicago at Tampa Bay

Buccaneers -6

 

Denver at New Orleans

Broncos -2

 

Green Bay at Tennessee

Packers -2.5

 

Houston at Jacksonville

Texans -1

 

Kansas City at Carolina

Panthers -3

 

L.A. at NY Jets

Jets -3

 

Minnesota at Washington

Redskins -1.5

 

Miami at San Diego

Chargers -3

 

Dallas at Pittsburgh

Steelers -3

 

San Francisco at Arizona

Cardinals -13

 

Seattle at New England

Patriots -3

 

Cincinnati at NY Giants

Bengals -2

 

We’ll see how those go.  I know there are sites you can look up the forecasted lines on, but those are very honestly all off the top of my head, and will likely appear that way when the lines come out Monday morning!

 

Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups