if you take a look at the calendar, you'll notice that football season is less than a few weeks away. which means, that my gambling weinie is getting aroused at the prospect of another season of making cash money hoes! as usual, i'll be throwing out my weekly picks once the regular season begins, but every year, before the season starts, vegas throws out a set of bets that can be extremely interesting and fun to think about. they are the preseason over/under for team wins. each team gets a number and you bet whether they'll win more or less than that number. of course, vegas has to keep the edge, so they adjust the wagers to reflect what they'll think will happen for the season. for example, the number for the packers is 8. the over is getting +110, and the under is getting -140. if you bet 100 dollars on the over, you'll win 110 dollars. if you bet 140 bucks on the under you'll win 100 bucks. this is interesting for a number of reasons. first, as we all well know, gamblor knows all, so it's always to interesting to see what gamblor thinks of a teams preseason chances. to use the example above, you're getting a real shitty return if you bet the under vs. a much better return for the over. this is vegas' way of getting you to take the less likely bet, which in turn means that vegas doesn't have any faith in ahman green's recovery or brett farvre's prospects for another typical favre year. the other real interesting thing about this is that it is a hell of a lot more difficult to project performance over a season than it is over the course of one game. there are just so many things to take into consideration to project the season: how good is the teams division? how is their schedule shaping up? is the home-away schedule favorable or not? how will older stars hold up injury wise? i could go on and on. anyways, to get our football weinie's in shape, i figure we'll go ahead and go through all of the teams. if i did them all at once, that would be just way too long of a post, so i'll do one or two divisions at a time. today, i'm going to go through the AFC West and the NFC west. for those of you who want to post your predictions to match up with mine, leave your picks in the comments section. this year, i've decided to get the lines from bodog.com. anyways, on with the picks.
DEN - 8.5, over(-145), under(+115)
tatum bell looked pretty good at the end of last year, so their offense looks like it will be pretty good. however, i think that kc, and oak will be better than they were last year. plus let's not forget everybody's favorite sundevil interception machine, jake the fake. i think a lot of people are making the every other year argument for jake, but i'm not buying, that guy is a turnover waiting to happen. plus, good value here, give me the under.
KC - 9.5: over(-105), under(-125)
quite frankly, this number stuns me. i can't believe it's so high. i do think that they will be better than last year. from all accounts, the defense is better, but if you think about it, how could it get any worse? probably the main reason for this number is the assumption that priest holmes is a full go for the regular season. i'll buy it. i also think that priest holmes might be the #3 fantasy back behind LT and shaun alexander. he was on his way to another immortal fantasy season before he got hurt last year. give me the over.
OAK - 8: over(-110), under(-120)
vegas has this one nailed. i'm really high on this offense fantasy wise. the addition of moss will make such an impact. minnesota is going to miss him more than they think, and joey porter, lamont jordan, and kerry collins will all have career years. but there's really no telling how this will affect their win total. the offense wasn't the biggest problem last year. don't get me wrong, it was a problem, but the main problem was a defense that looked listless and just plain old. no pass rush, and a below average secondary, and no real additions. add in a brutal schedule, and i'll go with vegas on this one, give me the under.
SD - 8: over(-150), under (+120)
it seems apparent that vegas doesn't think that last year was a fluke. gates has reported so that's extremely important, and of course, LT will pile up 2000+ all purpose yards as usual. my questions are directed at drew brees. one good year, big contract signed, a young guy nipping at his heels, it all spells a fluke year. philip rivers is no roethlisberger, so when they put him in, he'll struggle. i'll take the value here again, and i'll take the under.
AZ - 7.5: over(-145), under(+115)
i'll always root against godboy kurt warner, but it looks like to me that he'll have a good season. the cards defense was really good last year, and they were really young. i'm sold on arrington, and i think that anquan boldin is going to break through big time this year. it doesn't hurt that they have to play the niners twice this season either. the rest of the schedule doesn't look that tough either. over all the way.
SF - 4.5: over(-115), under(-115)
as bad as the niners were last year, they're going to be even worse this year. rookie quarterback, mediocre backfield, one semi-legitimate recieving threat, and only one guy that can play defense...ughh. i'd also like to point out that even in the lean years of salary cap hell, the cowboys were never this bad. anyways, the trick here is the fact that the number is so low. a 4-12 team is just god awful and conventional wisdom says that the niners should be able to at least pull of a couple of upsets outside of the division and win a couple at home. that middle of the schedule is pretty soft with was, tb, nyg, and chi in consecutive weeks after the bye. i'll take the over here.
SEA - 8.5: over(-140), under(+110)
hmmmmm....it seems that they just replaced jerry rice and koren robinson with joe jureviczzf. they also have a receiver named taco wallace. which has nothing to do with their over/under, but i thought i'd bring it up anyways. but the thing is, it's not like he was the only one dropping passes. darrell jackson was dropping everything last year as well. but...weak division, middling schedule, stud back who is now happy. i'll take the over here.
STL - 8.5: over(-115), under (-115)
like the niners, vegas seems unsure as to what's going to happen in STL. my theory is that vegas is unsure if martz is finally going to get fired this year. stephen jackson is going to help out, but not enough. remember, we're talking about mike martz here. if martz gets the axe before week 8, i'd take the over, but no contingency bets. i'll take the under.
well, there you go. i seriously cannot wait for the season to start. i'm sure that fredo is going to weigh in, but please anyone else who wants to venture forth their predictions, leave them in the comments section.