Monday, September 8, 2008

A Flacc-ian Slip

A Sport's Look At Tonight's MNF Action

It's true that I advised betting against the Ravens yesterday. I had no faith in neophyte quarterback Joe Flacco winning his debut start in his debut season out of the University of Delaware. Nobody did, though. I wasn't exactly going out on a limb. I intended to back up that opinion with a ten spot. In fact, I thought I did. And, the decision soon saddened me. That ten dollars could have gotten me about 14 cans of Miller High Life. Instead it was on pace to get me nothing but a general feeling of self-loathing. And, I can get that for free.

Although my Jets and Cardinals picks both turned up winners yesterday, I was, as I said, moderately bummed out about the SinCiti Bengals getting trounced by the aforementioned Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars getting taken down by the Titans. It wasn't a great day at the office. If the office was an online gaming site and those four small (most my bets are in meager denominations of five and ten dollars) bets represented a work day. However, a funny thing happened on the way to the slightly poorerhouse. When I went to check my remaining balance I found it healthier than I would have hoped. I pulled up the wagering history from the past 1 days and what did I see? A green checkmark next to my pick of Baltimore(+2). Uh whah? Somehow or other I had "mistakenly" wagered on Baltimore rather than Cincinnati as I intended. Instead of a $10 loss it was a $10 gain, which was really a huge $20 swing in my modest gaming life.

With such generously granted largess I realized that I had little choice but to turn that money right around and at least offer to give it back to the gambling gods. I don't want to give it back but I have to offer. To try to hoard away that money as if I won't just eventually and spend it on something foolish would only anger those who saw fit to bestow it upon me. And, I don't want to go angering the gods of gaming during Week 1 of the NFL season and just before the MLB playoffs start. That's the last thing I want to do. So, I really have no choice but to check out the Monday Night Football Double-Dip tonight (Minny vs. Green Bay, followed by Oakland vs. Denver) and find a few angles to play. Not only will this appease the deities of personal destruction by placing an offering at their alter but it will also give me the chance to keep my Flacc-ian Slip paying dividends. Maybe this is the luckiest ten dollars I've ever had.

Adrian Peterson's Longest Rush From Scrimmage Will Be OVER 18.5 yards
Come on. If he can walk on water he can surely get past the first level of defense for one single big run. I'm taking this bet every week that the Purple Jesus is healthy and in the starting lineup. In a few weeks 18.5 yards could seem like a gimme considering how dominant this kid is.

Raiders (+3) over Broncos
I'm really excited to see what the Raiders look like this season. Now, is being really excited to see what a team that went 4-12 the previous season looks like ever, ever a smart reason to give away five dollars? Nope. But I'm dropping a Baltimore-gotten fiver on the Raiders all the same. They are at home and I like small-spread underdogs at home. Most importantly, this team is essentially trotting out the last two No. 1 draft picks in Jamarcus Russell, who the whole world seems to have forgotten about, and Darren McFadden, who would have been the top pick last season if taking big, white offensive lineman weren't much cheaper. You pair those two stud players with a defense that was halfway decent (and that won't need to be on the field nearly as much) last year and I think you might have an exciting team to watch. And, surely a team that might be able to win a home game against a quarterback who is missing his best reciever and spent the offseason dealing with health problems.

UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Adrian "The Purple One Who Died For Blair Thomas's Sins" Peterson broke off a 34-yard scamper to the right side with a little more than a minute remaining the first quarter. Keeping the good luck Flacc-ian Slip money rolling I've taken my newest found fiver and rolled it over onto a prop bet for the second game in tonight's Monday Double Feature.

Raiders WR Ronald Curry will have OVER 3 receptions tonight against the Broncos.
There are too many running backs in this game to take a chance on either them netting a certain number of touchdowns, yards or carries. I think Selvin Young is the real deal and I'm pretty sure that one of the Raiders runners (Fargas, McFadden and Bush) will have a good night but I don't have a clue which one it will be. Still, this bet is really based on that belief. Denver was bad against the run last season (they ranked 30th according to ESPN.com) so I feel like a steady diet of those back will open up Curry to catch at least 3 balls from Jamarcus Russell no matter what kind of night the LSU standout has. Moreover, Curry was voted a team captain to start this season and receiving teammate Javon Walker is both gimpy and seemingly a guy with some issues. Curry is the pick and I think the Flacco gift of yesterday will keep on giving here. In a side note, I'd love to see Curry have a breakout season (again, smart people don't bet based on what they'd like to see happen...) as he is just a phenomenal athlete. He played point guard and quarterback in college at UNC and has risen to the rank of team captain after being a seventh round draft pick back in 2002.

UPDATE #2: So, apparently, Jamarcus Russell is less than ready for this whole National Football League thing. This does not bode well for two of this evening's wagers. Hopefully Curry can still pick up three receptions in the second half when the Raiders are throwing the ball in hopes of catching up. Of course, the fact that Curry seems less than ready for the whole catching passes thing could pose a problem.

Monday's Starting Five

1. Picking Up Matt Cassel in Your Fantasy League. There is no one who feels better this morning - not Matt Ryan, not Joe Flacco, not Brett Favre -than the person who rushed to their computer after reading the ticker-tape news about Tom Brady's knee injury during the first half of whatever game they were watching in the 1 o'clock slot and picked up then-backup QB Matt Cassel from the pool of unclaimed players in their fantasy football league. If Brady is indeed out for the season with a torn ACL then Cassel all of a sudden has the chance to become a top-flight fantasy QB. After all, somebody has to throw the ball to Randy Moss and be the beneficiary of all that sign-stealing. And, remember this is how Brady got his job. Oh, Karma you are such a fickle mistress. Drew Bledsoe was the star QB in the Boston States who was knocked out with an injury early in the season and Brady, seemingly a lifelong backup, stepped off the bench. And the rest is history. Finding the surprise star, whether or not that player is Cassel remains to be seen, during any given fantasy season is probably more important than having the best first round pick. Just ask the guy who tapped Brady with his top selection...

2. The New York Metropolitans. Although they did lose the weekend series to the Fightin' Phillies, 2-games-to-1, the Mets still did what they needed to do by winning last night behind Johan Santana. All in all, they only had one game shaved off their division lead and finished the series on the harmonious high notes of Santana's strong 7+ inning outing and Delgado's two-home-run night. Of course a series-win would have been nice but the lowly Washington Nationals arrive at Shea this week and the Mets should be able to grab back the one game they lost over the weekend while the Phils tussle with the better-than-Washington Marlins.

3. The Philadelphia Phillies. A sweep of the New York Metropolitans at Shea Stadium sure would have been nice but the Phils did what they needed to do by taking two of three this weekend in Queens. Trailing in the NL East by three games as the series got underway on Friday night, the Fightins couldn't afford to lose the set. And they didn't. After losing each of the previous gatherings with the Mets during the 2008 regular season, Charlie Manuel's charges needed this win to keep their confidence sky-high going into the stretch run. No doubt buoyed by asinine emails from former players and the memories of 2007, Utley and co. feel the division is still their for the taking. And, the news that Mets closer Billy Wagner is done for the rest can only make them feel even better about the last few weeks of the campaign.

4. East Carolina University. The Pirates are trolling the waters of Virginia and pillaging at will. One week of pulling off the surprising upset over then-ranked Virginia Tech with a last minute blocked punt, the ECU Purple Pirates absolutely blew minds and teaser wagers with their shock win over No. 8 ranked West Virginia University. And this time the game wasn't even in doubt in the late stages. In fact, it was a blowout. ECU rolled WVU, 24-3, and completely shut down Moutaineer QB Pat White. The Pirates are now looking ahead to their Conference USA schedule during which they won't have to play a team nearly as good as the two they've already knocked off. All signs are pointing for this to be the team that makes the BCS system look foolish this year.

5. The Buffalo Bills. For reasons that don't need defending or explaining all the AFC East talk yesterday was about the potentially Brady-less Pats and the victorious Favre-having Jets. Even Chad Pennington (who really, really looked poised to steal that game in the waning moments) making his first start in Miami got a noteworthy amount of pub. And, yet it was the other team in the AFC East that made, perhaps, the loudest statement of the weekend. The Buffalo Bills shellacked the Seattle Seahawks in Buffalo yesterday, 34-10. The Seahawks have won the NFC West four years on the bounce and Meanwhile, the Jets barely outlasted the Dolphins, who finished 1-15 last season and the Pats found themselves in a close game with the woeful Kansas City Chiefs. The Bills were dominant in every facet of the game. They ran for a touchdown. They passed for a touchdown. They kicked a few field goals. They returned a kick for a touchdown. They faked a field goal and threw for another touchdown. And the defense racked up five sacks and forced Seattle to punt 11 times. And, in case that wasn't enough impressiveness, the Bills also have the drunkest fans. It sure looks like they're going to get this club turned around in Buffalo just in time for the team to be stolen away by Toronto. Nice.