Gambling recap

Week 6 was sick: With the injury bug hitting the NFL again

J.J. Watt's injury was followed up by two of the league's other big stars: Odell Beckham, Jr. and Aaron Rodgers. Bob Levey/Getty Images

In under a span of two weeks, the NFL has lost three of its "STAR" players to season-ending injuries. The hometown Texans losing J.J. Watt to a tibial plateau fracture was absolutely heartbreaking for the things he does on and off the field.

Aaron Rodgers broken collarbone comes at the worse time for him and the Packer faithful, as they entered the weekend 4-1 with the division lead and looking like a team to fear once its squad regained full health. Odell Beckham Jr. fractured his ankle, and whether you like him or not, he is electrifying and an instant gamechanger.

These types of players are the face of the NFL and a huge reason why the league sits on its own stage, or does it?  There is some competition with the MLB playoffs and the NBA season tip-off tonight arriving at the perfect time when the buzz is at an all-time high with the era of "Super Teams" expanding. Yes, we have the Leveon Bell's and Zeke Elliot's of the world to keep us tuned in but can they be trusted to carry this league when they have their own off-field issues?

So when you think of the second tier of stars in the NFL that shoulder the brand, who do you really come up with? The veterans in Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Matt Ryan or maybe you go with the quiet Julio Jones and the sometimes too outspoken Antonio Brown?

The NFL is in desperate need of players like Carson Wentz, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, and Derek Carr to make the jump to stardom. Just take this for example,  the preseason release of schedules provided us the opportunity of the Thanksgiving special which is  Josh Norman vs Beckham, and was something to look forward to as the nightcap after stuffing your face with anything and everything you can put gravy on. Is it really something to look forward too now? How exciting was the Giants vs. Broncos game Sunday night? A few days after Thanksgiving, The Pittsburgh Steelers host The Green Bay Packers which at one point, was thought to have big playoff implications being that it was later in the season. With Rodgers out, does this still have the same buzz? Do you get the picture? Maybe, the new wave of rookies can continue making some noise and give us something to look forward to as Houston's newly found leader Deshaun Watson has been nothing short of spectacular. In the same division down in Jacksonville,  Leonard Fournette is making quite the impact of his own and is second in rush yards, trailing only the Chiefs breakout rookie, Kareem Hunt. With the spotlight seeming to be off the actual on-field product the league produces lately let's see who can step up and carry the coveted treasure that is the NFL.


Teams recieiving the most action Week 6:

Packers 85%

Broncos 84%

Texans 82%

Falcons 79%

Pats 78%

1 of the 5 covered. 3 losing outright as Favorites.

Week 6 dogs keep barking

In a trend that has been occurring all year long, the dogs dominated again. This week, the underdogs went 11-3 ATS, but even more impressive, nine of them won the game outright. Taking the points has been pivotal this season as underdogs are now 51-36-2 ATS. The astonishing number here is 38 out of the 51 underdogs have won the game straight up. So in other words, if you're feeling the underdog side is right, sprinkle a little on the money line as well.

The Dolphins and Giants were the most significant underdogs this week to win straight up.

Miami Pulled off an upset on the Road 20-17 as 13.5 point underdogs and cashing the money line at +700. Miami trailed in this game 17-0 and ran off 20 unanswered points capping off a spectacular second half in which the Falcons only had four offensive possessions. Maybe, the Falcons looked ahead prematurely to this weeks rematch of last years Superbowl with the Patriots. Whatever the case may be, blowing a 17 point lead at home to Jay Cutler is inexcusable.

In the Sunday night matchup, the hobbled Giants (+600) limped into Denver with a part-time receiving corp and stunned the Broncos. In a strength vs. weakness encounter, the Giants were able to run successfully on the leagues No. 1  rush defense. The unknown New York running back Orleans Darkwa tallied 117 yards on 21 carries, keeping the pressure off the passing game in which Eli Manning only had 19 attempts. Coming off a bye, with the extra time to prepare, vs. a team who had a meet and greet with its wide receivers prior to the kickoff, this loss has to sting for Denver. They will have a chance to bounce back this week vs. The Chargers, a team they have covered against 5 of the last 6 in the series and edged out 24-21 in week 1 and pushed as -3 point favorites.

Honorable mention- Bears (+5.5  ML +190) at Ravens, 27-24 OT

Totals

The Over/Under was 8-6 in Week 6.

The lowest total on the board was in the game we discussed earlier in the Giants vs. Broncos matchup with a total of 37.5. Much of this number was a direct result of the injuries to the Giants roster and the stout Denver defense. Things played the other way around, and the Giants scored 23 points and only allowed 10 on the road getting their first victory of the year.

The Highest Total was in the Saints vs. Lions game that sat at 50.5. New Orleans was able to surpass the point total on its own. In a game where the Saints scored 50-plus points, you would think Brees put up huge numbers. Brees was 21-of-31 for 186 yards with two touchdowns and two picks. With the team jumping out to such a big lead, the play calling slowed down for the Saints, capping the quarterback's big day: at halftime he was 21-of-31 for 186 yards and a TD. Instead, they leaned heavily on the ground game allowing Mark Ingram to breakout in his first game with Adrian Peterson out of his way. Ingram ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. The Saints defense also contributed their fair share to the total, scoring two defensive scores and creating five turnovers.

The over/under for 2017 now sits at 45-46-1.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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