GAMBLING GUIDE

Play action or pass: The Wild Cards are on the table

The Jaguars defense will be tough on the Bills. Jacksonvillejaguars.com

Wild Card Weekend has arrived, and we've separated the contenders from the pretenders, or have we? Although these teams have advanced an "earned" a spot in the postseason, we look to take advantage of teams who may not be so deserving of its credentials.

Play action or pass is 48-38-2 (55.81%) for the season.

Be selective and don't force plays!

Plays

Titans at Chiefs -8.5 O/U 44.5

When handicapping a game, a few stats are crucial for measuring teams and the "wise guys" use these numbers to adjust their ratings. Strength of schedule is one of those stats. A great trend that I read about this week: Since 2002, teams with the tougher strength of schedule are 41-19 straight up and 41-18-1 ATS in the playoffs. The Titans are one of two teams in the playoffs with a negative point differential while playing a bottom five SOS. The only problem I see with fully believing in Kansas City is backing a team that has such a bad defense carrying such a big spread. Kansas City's defense has been terrible, ranking 32nd in weighted DVOA. The Chiefs are dead last vs. the run and that will allow Tennessee to be able to move the ball while keeping the clock ticking. When justifying large spreads, one must question how dominant the favorite is over the dog. Although I think the Chiefs can cover, I don't want to fully back them knowing the defense might struggle to get off the field at times and create separation on the scoreboard. The play I like for this game is the under. In Arrowhead, the Chiefs have held 14 straight opponents to 20 points or less. The Titans, only put up 17.5 points a game on the road and I see them having trouble scoring on Saturday. As I mentioned, the Chiefs defense will struggle vs. the run, but I see more of a bend, not break system vs. a team they can stack the box against not fearing a big play wide receiver which the Titans lack.  Marcus Mariota’s road splits have been terrible where he holds a 5 to 11 TD to INT ratio. In situations where he will be asked to move the chains, can he be trusted to not turn the ball over? The total is slightly high, and I see value in the under. Temperatures are expected to be sub 30 with 10 MPH winds.

Play UNDER 44.5

Bills at Jaguars -9  O/U 39.5

How important is LeSean McCoy to the Bills offense? The Bills ball carrier is responsible for 33% of his team's offense, trailing only one other player in the NFL, Todd Gurley. McCoy will be a true game-time decision leaving us wondering how close to 100% can he be? The dropoff to 10-year veteran Mike Tolbert is drastic, as he has failed to surpass seven carries since week 5. The ground game will be critical as Sunday's forecast is calling for 12 MPH winds, favoring the Jags and their 12th ranked rushing offense in DVOA that will be facing the second worse rush defense in the league. If the Bills get behind or fail to have any success running the ball, they will have to rely on their quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The problem with this is he won't have much time to work within the pocket. Jacksonville's defensive line ranks #1 in pass rush on the season while the Bills offensive line ranks 27th in adjusted sack rate (8.6%). Sean McDermott is one of two 1st year head coaches making their playoff debuts in 2017. But this is nothing new for McDermott as he has a good history of coaching in the playoffs as a coordinator. He was the defensive coordinator for the Panthers team that reached the Super Bowl in 2015, and he was the Eagles defensive backs coach in 2004 when they got to the Super Bowl. Although it wasn't as the head coach, this won't be his first rodeo. I see this as a hard fought game that will be won in the trenches. We all know about Blake Bortles and his ability to throw away a game, but let's look further on how that can be expunged. The Jaguars will need a conservative gameplan to limit the pressure and the "need" to make plays from Bortles. The Jaguars play caller has been exceptional in first halves tossing 13 touchdowns to 3 interceptions compared to an 8 to 10 ratio in the second half. With no pressure, Bortles is able to manage the game knowing his stout defense will keep him in the game. His QBR in first halves is 96.0, the closing 30 minutes 72.4. Jacksonville will lean on the defense to set them up with short fields and turnovers while limiting the need for Bortles to create.

Play Jaguars -9

Action

Panthers +7
Falcons+6
Falcons/Rams over 48.5
Titans Teams Total under 17.5
Teasers 10 point
Chiefs +1/ Jags+1/ Falcons-Rams over 38.5 (2X)

Money and tickets

Chiefs 60% money  57% tickets
Falcons 51% money 50% tickets
Bills 52% money   49% tickets
Saints 52% 48% tickets

For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter.



 

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Everyone else is doing it! Composite image by Jack Brame.

Can a professional athlete come up with a worse excuse for getting caught using performance-enhancing drugs than blaming it on a doctor?

Fans would have more respect for a player if he said the dog ate his urine test results.

Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V (as in I'm taking the Fifth) and cornerback Bradley Roby have been suspended after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Both will sit out for the remaining five games of the 2020 season, plus the first game of the 2021 season.

There were many questions about Fuller heading into Year 5 of his NFL career. Up until 2020, his tenure in the NFL has been plagued with injuries, and some Texans fans clamored for him to be swapped before the 2020 trade deadline. Fuller was having his best season, and the Texans decided to keep him. In fact, Deshaun Watson said the team would've revolted if Fuller had been moved. In 11 games, Fuller has 53 receptions for 879 yards and eight touchdowns.

I'm going to cut Bradley Roby some slack because he took ownership for using a banned substance. He made it clear that it was his responsibility to know what is on the NFL's list of banned PEDs. He will probably have that list taped on his fridge the rest of his NFL career.

Fuller took a different approach, one that unfortunately resembles many other famous athletes' excuses for getting caught with PEDs; Blame a medical professional. Or somebody, anybody else.

Whether Fuller and Roby were receiving treatment from the same medical professional is unknown. More important, it's irrelevant. In 2020, how could athletes possibly blame a medical professional when a list of banned substances is hanging on the wall in every team's training room?

The answer is they shouldn't. Let's take a look at athletes with the worst excuses for juicing. Specifically for getting caught juicing.

Rafael Palmeiro (MLB) - Other than a physician or trainer, the only person more improbable to blame for a positive steroid test is your own teammate. When Palmeiro tested positive in 2005, he blamed a supposed B-12 shot (it wasn't B-12) administered by Baltimore Orioles Miguel Tejada.

Brian Cushing (NFL) - Cushing played his entire NFL career with the Houston Texans. Cushing's first positive test came in 2009. He had abnormally high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, a human growth hormone that typically shows up in pregnant women. He later changed his excuse to "overtraining." He has since claimed the positive test was a result of a cancerous tumor. He tested positive for PEDs again in 2017.

Maria Sharapova (Tennis) - Sharapova claimed she never read an email which listed the banned substance, meldonium, she was caught taking.

Barry Bonds (MLB) - When Bonds tested positive for PEDs in 2000 and 2001, he put all of the blame on San Francisco Giants trainer Greg Anderson. Bonds said Anderson told him that he was using flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is not typically injected, and certainly doesn't lead to your hat size growing.

Lance Armstrong (Cycling) - Armstrong, after years of denial, admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs on an Opera Winfrey prime time special. His excuse? Every other cyclist was doing it. Oprah did not ask him if he would jump off the Brooklyn Bridge if the others did. How could anybody win seven Tour de France titles after surviving testicular cancer? They might as well have renamed the race Tour De Lance. His sad saga ended with him being stripped of his seven titles and banned for life.

Melky Cabrera (MLB) - Cabrera tested positive while playing for the San Francisco Giants in 2012. After his positive test, he paid a patsy $10,000 to create a fake website that sold fake products to try and fake his innocence. The FBI busted him and he served a real suspension.

LaShawn Merritt (Track & Field) - The famed American sprinter blamed his third positive steroid test on a testicular enlargement supplement called Extenze.

Petr Korda (Tennis) - Korda stated that his love for veal was the reason he tested positive for the steroid nandrolone. He went further saying he liked veal even more when the calf was injected with steroids. A scientist testified Korda would have to eat 40 calves every day for 20 years to equal the amount of nandrolone discovered in his system. Sounds like the Ivan Drago diet (from the first fight, when he killed Apollo Creed).

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