Well, last week's picks are over. Thank God for that. Now that it's the 4th week, the cool, calm, collection (pun intended) week for Vegas, we can see that the cowards have every home team but Tennessee giving points. There are no more surprises in this season, and if you get caught writing checks your ass can't cash, well then, you deserve to have your thumbs broken by a retired Mexican professional wrestler, who used to wear a mask and fight under the ring name of El Lizardo.
Visitor, Vegas Line, HOME TEAM (followed by my senseless caterwalling)
San Diego +5 1/2 NEW ENGLAND
New England getting their act together and putting the screws on Pittsburgh last week was as predictable as Renee coming to her senses and dumping Kenny. Shit-enheimer and his Keenan McCardell focused offense have to fly cross country to face the eternally unsatisfied Bellichik and the defending champs. If it didn't hit home last week, Bolts fans will finally understand how they've been suckered into a marriage where only one partner is committed, sharing their bed with Shit-enheimer.
Denver +4 JACKSONVILLE
Byron Leftwich is The Copperheads of the NFL: he'll show up in any condition and play anywhere. The Copperheads are opening for the Hoyle Brothers down at Lee's tomorrow night, and it's only about their 325th gig of the 2005 calendar year. Just when you haven't seen them on anybody's calendar, you make one last look and there they are. Last week, the Jaguars were finished halfway through the 2nd quarter, then whamm-o, there was Leftwich. It helped they were playing the hapless Jets, but, all the same, if Denver doesn't do something to put the Jags away early in this game, don't be suprised at another furious finish for the Cats.
Houston +10 CINCINNATI
Cincinnati is roughly the equivalent of the whole "Picked 2 Click" issue of this senseless rag. Now that they've showed up 3-0, and done it in a sort of plucky, hey-look-at-me, 3-year-old-showing-off way, everybody is claiming to have their first self-released EP, and to have known their original drummer before he OD'd. What's that mean to you when betting? Well,t he Picked 2 Click show at First Avenue is often the last gig for about 25 to 50% of the bands who play it, so go ahead and do the brown acid this week, but be a wary participant in Week 5.
Indianapolis -7 TENNESSEE
Archie Manning received a lot of anonymous death threats last week when Indy didn't cover on that 13 1/2 point spread like I predicted. For some reason, Colts infatuation is like everyone who follows the band Low, to me. It's not that they aren't good, I'm just not buying it. Fresh off not covering a huge spread, Vegas goes overboard again and has Indy GIVING 7 ON THE ROAD. I don't care how many flat bellied girls with bobbed purple hair sway to the moody lyrics, I'm just not going to get sucked in.
Philadelphia +1 1/2 KANSAS CITY
The Gleam is the best band in Minneapolis. I know they can't sing or play their instruments, and half their songs are booze infested paeans to self-destruction that I should have outgrown like the Chiefs' Huddle Club, but I don't fucking care. The Eagles are going to get killed Sunday, the day after The Gleam open for Ike Reilly at the Varsity Theatre in Dinkytown.
Detroit +7 TAMPA BAY
Is Tampa Bay really a 4-0 team? Remember, Kenny and Renee were rich, good-looking kids from small southern towns who seemed to have everything in common. We all know how that turned out. It turns out Kenny's a talentless hack who ditched his wife for the cash grab that is his career, and a selfish existence of playing video games and getting stoned in the Virgin Islands.
St. Louis +3 NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS
Tiki Barber is a real alt country running back. One of your buddies always takes him as the 10 or 11th running back chosen your fantasy draft, then you're sitting around during week 8 or 9 when you really need a win and realize you could have gotten him yourself. Every now and then, some of the records I play sneak up on people at parties and they say, "I don't normally like country, but I like this." Tiki Barber is a running back just like LaDainian Tomlinson and Shaun Alexander, and might be more dangerous. Be careful if you bet this game, the Giants might kill them, especially since Mike Martz is the 2nd dumbest coach in the NFL next to Tice.
Buffalo Pick 'em NEW ORLEANS (San Antonio)
People in San Antonio get all lit up down on that river walk and sometimes drive with the headlights off out to Greune Hall and get all lit up some more. Half of those people are going to be down at the Alamodome. This game is going to be like your old electronic football game where you plug the big metal board in and all the little plastic guys with magnetic bases going vibrating in every direction.
Seattle +2 WASHINGTON
Kurt Cobain's not coming back from the dead and neither are the Seahawks. They might make the playoffs at 8-8 or something, but, they're not going to throw up a "Nevermind" sort of season, followed by glowing columns in Rolling Stone that read more like folded up, high school, I-have-a -crush-on-you type notes. Joe Gibbs laughed his ass off for about 2 hours after getting the Cowboys 2 weeks ago; if he's living on those fumes, Seattle might jump on them, but, if he's put it behind them, expect this to be the most boring game of the week, like a GB Leighton show anywhere in town.
New York Jets +7 BALTIMORE
If I go to First Avenue, I never park in that big 7th Street Garage, I usually park down the street in Butler Square's lot. Similarly, Brookes Bollinger isn't going anywhere near Ray Lewis. He's going to shit down his leg. Ed Reed might set an NFL record for interceptions in this game if he suits up. If you play in a league that drafts individual defenders, and you have either one of those guys, you should be smiling right now.
Minnesota +6 ATLANTA
When people tell me that Kenny Chesney is a talented real country performer that sells millions of records, I point to the thousands of teenaged girls, popping their gum, covered in sparkle makeup, crying their eyes out at his shows. Last week's win against the Saints was pretty much the same thing. You didn't have me at hello, Mike Tice.
Dallas +3 OAKLAND
From last week, this game is your injury special. There are SO MANY talented players on these two teams that it's hard to bet on them. You just have to root for lots of injuries and not make any bets. By the 8th week, both teams should be solid dogs, or solid coverers, but a really nasty knee or hammy to Moss or Collins or Jones would make the picture so much clearer.
San Francisco +2 ARIZONA (Mexico City)
I've only been to Mexico a few times where something didn't go terribly wrong. A buddy of mine said he visited Mexico City once, got to his hotel, changed clothes, went out for several hours, got back to the hotel and picked to of the biggest blackest buggars out of his nose that he's ever seen. What does that have to do with football and betting? I don't know. Watch ESPN or some such pregame show Sunday morning and if they all say, "X is going to kill Y in this game," bet heavily on Y.
Green Bay +7 1/2 CAROLINA
Betting against Brett Favre on Monday night is a poison proposition. Ask yourself, do you really believe that the Packers are going to go 0-4? It's possible, they're not a very good team. But, that's the beauty of gambling...the spread. Seven and a half is a pretty honking big spread for a Monday Night game where Favre is involved. If he makes you nervous, bet the cover. The over/under is at 43, which seems low too. Pro gamblers love the hillbilly from Kiln because people are either wildly against him, or overly enthusiastic. Don't get suckered into the whole win/loss thing; it would be like buying "Songs From and Old Blue Chair" to get laid, and finding out your date is really a man in the middle of sexual reassignment surgery.