Under one of the the most poignant moments in NFL history (see photo), your Uncle Spleefy breaks the games down and makes the hard choices each week brings.
My advice to you? Bet hard and bet often. Call DiTech, refinance that humble abode of yours, and let's turn it into a castle. We can do this... Got a hunch? Bet a bunch!
Before we get started, let's take a quick look at this week's mailbox:
"You big horses ass! I took your advice and lost $2,500!! You hope I don't find where you live, I'll break your legs you phony! Sleep with one eye open because I'm gunning for you Spleef. Bastard!" - Larry in Hawaii
"I want my money back. I listened to you and now I'm out $6,500. Where do I get a refund? You said your picks were guaranteed and I'm going to have to get that money back right away or I will lose my house. My wife is threatening to leave me." - Darryl S.
"Dude, you suck." - Vern H. in Monticello MN
"I can't believe I was dumb enough to listen to advice online [from] someone named "Uncle Spleefy". The guy is a total nitwit and thinks he knows how to make picks. He's just awful. The first week I lost $1,750, and thought it was an aberration, so I doubled down the next, based on his picks. Now I need to come up with $3,500—which I don't have—or this guy named Guido is threatening to break my thumbs. Each week that goes by I owe more and more. All attempts to contact this Uncle Spleefy guy have gone unanswered. I'm really scared and don't know where to turn." - sent anonymously from an excerpt on Gambler's Anonymous.com
Buh buh buh buh bet? Yes yes yes yes yes!!!
Hopefully last week made up for some of these loyal and righteously smart readers. I went an incredible 12-4, and I'm 22-6 on the year. I'm clipping along at an amazing 78 percent rate. That should help ease the crippling effect of dude's shattered opposable thumbs.
Remember I'm going against the spread Vegas set. These guys are the smartest in the world, and anyone going above 50 percent is kicking ass.
The theme for week three, more than any other in recent memory, has to be "Sucker Bet Weekend." Seeing it's still early in the year, I'm going to go with the sucker bet more times than not.
I'm sliding in with the 3 percent bettors. Vegas has lost a lot of money, and they're going to make it back sooner or later. I still think it's too early to back off, so I'm going in head first.
In week two, I placed 1,000 units on each game. That's peanuts to most of you, but in my world 16,000 is a lot. I won 12, lost 4, and cashed in on a cool 7,400.
When you're up, it's very important to keep your head because like I said Vegas sets the points easy at first to make the bettors think they know what they're doing, then reality sets in.
You lose a couple weeks and your winnings dwindle. You try to make it back by doubling up on that seemingly easy no-brainer, and that's when "Guido" wants to "break your thumbs".
Without any further fluff, let's get to the business of making the easy buck -
DET cover WAS (+6.5)
Zorn's job is clearly on the line, not necessarily because he's a bad coach, but because who else is out there. Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher, and Brian Billick have had to have been wearing Maroon and Gold recently in Snyder's mind. You know, just to see how they'd look.
I can't imagine they don't look a little spiffier than what he's got employed now. This owner spends more than anyone else in the league, why scrimp on the coaching staff? The only question is can he goad one of them in taking the job?
Like the majority, I see the roof caving in on Zorn, and one of the three brought in to replace him by mid season—sooner if they lose to the lowly Lions. Like by next week sooner. Sonny Jurgenson is calling him out for God's sake.
Detroit's at home, if they can play hard all game, they can hang with the Skins and get that 0-fer monkey off their backs or at least cover. Sticking with the theme for the week, 81 percent of the bets made were on Detroit to cover. Take the chump bet and the home dogs.
Money on DET= 81 percent (20,000 bets)
GB cover STL (-6.5)
Massive sucker bet alert. 95 percent of the money placed on this game has been placed on Green Bay. Really a no-brainer, I can't believe this is only a 6.5 spread. Something is up. Vegas could most likely get 75 percent of the bets placed on a 13.5 point spread. I smell a very big rat and tread lightly with this.
I'm still taking it. The Bengals are a highly underrated team, it's their culture that warrants the bad perception. Green Bay isn't that bad either, they had a lot of drops and penalties. While their offensive line is hurting, they've got nothing to worry about anything the Rams can bring. The Pack wins big in a redeemer before the big Minny showdown next week.
However, like I said above, this should all be taken with a caveat. Vegas has given away a lot of money the first two weeks, and I repeat—95 percent of the bets taken on the Pack.
Vegas doesn't give money away, they take it. But I'm a sucker, and you are too. Bet this one to the hilt, baby. Take the visitors and give the points.
Money on GB: 95 percent (23,000 bets)
SF cover MIN (+7)
While the Vikings are hosting their home opener, I can't fathom they'd be given this many points against a hard-playing San Francisco. You give the home squad three, and that's where I'd handicap this game. Vegas is basically handing San Fran a 4 point lead.
These two teams are very similar. The only difference in them is the limelight ESPN keeps showering on Brett and the Vikings. Frisco is underrated. I'm not saying the Vikings won't win, but seven is just too much.
There must be a love affair with the bettors over Favre and Peterson. The Vikings run defense looks a long ways from the past three years, and I look for Gore to have as big a day as AP. If I had to, I'd put more units on this game than the Pack, but like I said it's best to keep it spread evenly no matter how common sense it seems.
Take the points and the visitors.
Money on SF: 51 percent (24,000 bets)
NE cover ATL (-4)
The Falcons go into Gillette stadium for the first time ever and face the Pats for only the 12th time. Originally thinking Atlanta has a good shot to win this matchup, the more I thought about the game against the Jets, the more I like the Pats.
Tom Brady gets Wes Welker back, which really hurt him against New York. Brady leans on him in games with a heavy rush, and if Wes played I think New England would have scored at least one TD—and won. You just don't bet against Brady and Bill Belichik twice in a row and expect to come out ahead.
Of course, if Welker doesn't suit up you may want to make a last ditch call to your boy. But as it sits now, I'm taking the home team and giving the four.
Money on NE: 64 percent (25,000 bets)
TEN cover NYJ (+2.5)
I've been struggling with this pick all week. I see New York as yet unproven and am hesitant to put too much faith in them. The Titans 0-2 start has to be considered here, and you'd think there'd be a psychological edge for them somewhere. Also, you don't want to bet against Jeff Fisher if you can help it.
The Jets are coming off a huge emotional win, and they haven't been flapping their lips like last week. Tennessee was in the game against the Texans until the final minute when Collins fumbled the ball all over himself.
What I am having a hard time getting a read on is the loss of Haynesworth, and if it's a direct result of that track meet last week. How did the Titans get this bad on defense so quickly?
The good news for the Tennessee? The Jets are no offensive superpower just yet. They're only the Ravens North on the defense side. Is it enough to make the Titans start 0-3? Maybe, but I'm taking the visitors and the 2.5.
Money on TEN: 59 percent (33,000 bets)
PHI cover KC (0)
The line is off on this because of McNabb, so I'm obviously taking the Eagles without a published spread. Also my survivor pick.
NYG cover TAM (-6.5)
Here's another no brainer—which scares the hell out of me. Staying true to theory, it's still early in the year and Vegas is still roping in the dopes. Look at the money being bet on the Giants to cover.
I hate to think there's point shaving going on in the NFL, but there's a lot of easy money to be made by the Giants winning by oh, two field goals. Only three percent of the bettors picked Tampa. Now if the Giants were picked by a more logical spread, like 14, I'd hit it hard.
It's with trepidation I take the easy bet again here. Like I said, if this was week seven with this spread, I'd probably take the dog.
But in week three, take NY, and give the points.
Money on NYG: 97 percent (28,000 bets)
BAL cover CLE (-13.5)
This is the type of spread I like to see. "Noodles and the flying Manginis" stand no chance in this game. Maybe if they put Derek Anderson in by half if it isn't out of reach, Joe Flacco leaves with an injury, and Ray Lewis dies of old age the Browns could cover.
If the spread was 20, I still might take it. The Vikings had them beat by 21 late in the fourth and they were strictly a running team in week one. The score could end up being 45-6, and I'm serious. Not much else to see in this car accident, move along buddy, move along. Take Baltimore and give the points.
Money on Baltimore: 92 percent (25,000 bets)
JAC cover HOU (+4.0)
I'm just not a fan of the Texans, and I was completely shocked by last week's scoring frenzy. It's a bias of mine I'm trying to overcome and stay partial, but I'll always see them as an expansion team.
Regardless, you have to honor their offense and Matt Schaub looked a lot better than I thought he would. The Jags are a mess, and David Garrard has fallen off the map. They still have Maurice Jones-Drew, a decent enough defense, and I expect another track meet.
I've got a gut feeling that this is the game Vegas is going to slide by the bettors. 91 percent of the money is on the Texans to cover. They can't give away this type of dough on every game, third week or not. If there is such a thing as shaving, this game woudn't garner nearly as many eyebrows as the Pack or the Giants not covering.
I'm calling this my turd watch and taking the points and the visitors.
Money on Houston: 91 percent (24,000 bets)
NO cover BUF (-6.0)
New Orleans impressed the hell out of me last week. I didn't think they could score that many points, and I didn't think their defense was as good as it played. If McNabb was in the game I still think New Orleans wins. The departure of Jim Johnson has left them unable to adjust to an onslaught like the one the Saints dished out.
Buffalo has an underrated defense, a decent offense, and are playing at home. 93 percent of the money is on New Orleans, so Buffalo could very well cover this weekend. But staying true to my word, I'm taking the sucker bet again. Give the points and take the visitors and watch them pound away with that offense.
Money on New Orleans: 93 percent (26,000 bets)
CHI cover SEA (-2.0)
Seattle is claiming Hassleback plays this weekend with a broken rib. Seattle should have taken Sanchez and beat the Jets out of their future franchise QB. Matt is getting more brittle as the years go on, and that's what the Seahags need to do as well—go on. Give him a position in the front office for marketing purposes, and while they're at it, slap a toupee on that guy. Have you ever seen a more tragic dome in your life?
I see the Bears going on the road and hanging a 30 burger on Seattle. Chicago covers this one, easy mark or not. 98 percent of the bets are on Chicago. I'm one of them. Take the visitors and give the measley two points.
Money on Chicago: 98 percent (23,000 bets)
CIN cover PIT (+4.0)
Poor Marvin Lewis. He's been the Steelers' whipping boy ever since he took control of the Bengals. I'm a believer in their defense this year, and it was no mistake Antwan Odom had five sacks against the Pack last week. If Palmer can keep his knee in one place this weekend, I like the Bengals to not only cover but win. Big Ben could be sacked eight times.
This game is my upset special, and I look for Marvin to finally get his win against his most hated rival. When Troy Polamalu comes back from his knee injury, the Steelers take this game. But he's not back, is he? Take the home dog, Bengals win.
Money on Pittsburgh: 61 percent (22,000 bets)
DEN cover OAK (-1.5)
Jamarcus Russell completed three passes before his final drive. Think about that for a second. That's just crazy. I think I could complete three passes in the first 3 1/2 quarters with my flip flops on, without his contract.
There's not much of a spread here, and both teams have a long way to go to be competitive. Oakland is in worse shape for the long haul mainly because they are stuck with Russell for the next three years, and he isn't going to pan out.
Al Davis is still kicking himself about not taking Adrian Peterson, and they are going to ride Russell into that blackhole. Everyone, fan or employee, is going to be sucked into it until they get a real QB on the roster.
Denver is 2-0 and has been able to stop the run. I don't like the team by any means, but with the line being almost even I have to think the Broncos will win by a field goal in a low scoring game. They did beat the Bengals, which is a badge they should be proud of. Take the visitors and give the point and a half.
It should be noted the Raiders were 2.5 point favorites at home, and late in the week the spread swung to the Broncos making the Raiders light home dogs.
Money on Denver: 71 percent (20,000 bets)
SD cover MIA (-6.0)
Miami is traveling across the country on a short week after a very big let down late Monday night. They're not going to be going against a soft Colts defense this time, and they're still not going to be playing defense. Unless Sproles gets hurt, he's going to run wild against the Fish this week. The Colts exposed them in a lot of screens, and that's right up Darren's alley.
Until Miami employs some players on the defensive side of the ball, I don't see them being able to beat a good team. I love their creativity running the ball, but that's only part of the game.
Miami needs to get rid of Ted Ginn and Channing Crowder. There were game-winning plays left on the field, and I watched in amazement while Channing simply quit pursuing multiple times Monday night. That just doesn't fly with Parcells, and I can't believe they both either won't be moved at some point in the next year.
I'm taking the home team and giving the six here. In my eyes, it's easy money.
Money on San Diego: 60 percent (11,000 bets)
AZ cover IND (-2.5)
What a difference a week makes. I was not impressed with the Colts defense Monday—who was? The Cards surprised me with their bounce back performance in week two, and I'm swinging wildly to their side this week.
Miami should have won that game, kicking a field goal in their last possession absolutely gave the game away. They hadn't stopped Peyton at any time during the first 3 and 8/9th quarters, what made them think the Colts wouldn't score another TD?
If the Cardinals play half-ass defense this weekend, they'll cover easily. Take the home team and give the two and a half.
Money on Arizona: 57 percent (22,000 bets)
DAL cover CAR (-9.0)
What's up with the pole dancers in the new stadium? Did they have dollar bills sticking out of their short shorts? While the big screen is over the top, I was shocked to see Jones' new stadium mixing in the strip tease during an NFL game.
This is a very accurate spread. The Panthers need this game very badly, but so do the Pokes. Delhomme looked a lot better last week on paper, but the Falcons dropped at least one easy pick-six I can recall.
The Cowboys have a very bad secondary, and unless Delhomme uncorks the long ball against them and hitting Steve Smith for big gainers multiple times, the Cowboys cover.
While recommending the favorite with a nine-point spread is usually rambunctious at best, I see the Cowboys spanking Carolina. The Panthers made a very expensive mistake signing Jake this offseason, and they are going to pay for it on the field as well. Take the home team and give the big nine-point spread
Money on Carolina: 67 percent (22,000 bets)
Sucker Bet week is a very tough one to call. If we're being given one more week to get "hooked" by Vegas we're in the clear. If we're already being set up, we're screwed. In my mind, that is the crux of making the picks in week three.
In my opinion, they're still being generous and won't slap down Joe Average and his diaper fund until week five.
With that I tell you to get your wife's engagement ring while she's sleeping (spray Pam butter scent works great), hawk it at your local hawk shop and bet it all. e've only got a small window to jump, so jump while the jumping is good.
Don't worry champ, you'll buy it back Tuesday morning. Throw it under the pillow and when you get home and say "See honey, it was here all the time. Hey, look at the new flat screen I bought for you!"
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