Posts Tagged ‘Gambling’



Play this song in the background as you read the blog for full effect.

For those of you that are audibly deficient and chose not to listen to my Football Friday Pow Wow Podcast, here are the first batch of picks that will add a bunch of money/happiness to your life*.

*Money or happiness not guaranteed.


Bengals @ Ravens (Pick’em):  It is never fun to bet on Bum Ass Joe Flacco (that’s his new name) when he is playing against another good team.  But with the Bengals employing Bum Ass Andy Dalton these days (original, right?), I’ll take the Ravens and their shiny new Gary Kubiak offense at home.  Plus, I bet Steve Smith beats up like five Bengals this game (and probably one Raven too, if we are being honest).

The Pick: Ravens (Pick’em)


Panthers @ Buccaneers (Bucs favored 2.5): I think the Bucs are going to be slightly better on offense and much better on defense this year, while the Panthers will regress in both categories.  This game was at -2 before the creep of Cam Newton’s availability really became clear.  Lovie Smith’s defense will do what they usually do.  Turn the ball over and rack up fantasy points.  I love the Bucs in this game and for the rest of the season.

The Pick: Bucs -2.5


Jaguars @ Eagles (Eagles favored 10.5): As you will see in a little bit, I think the Eagles are the best bet to win today.  But I also believe that the Jags are not going to completely suck this season.  Is part of this pick made purely out of spite because I hate Philadelphia?  Of course.  But what is an NFL season without enough spite to choke a horse.  Give me a little backdoor cover for the jungle cats and we go about our business.

The Pick: Jags +10.5


Giants @ Lions (Lions favored 6.5): Before I get called a homer for picking the boys in blue, I would like to point out Jim Caldwell’s coaching record when he didn’t have Peyton Manning as his quarterback.


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1993–2000)
1993 Wake Forest 2–9 1–7 9th
1994 Wake Forest 3-8 1-7 8th
1995 Wake Forest 1–10 0–8 9th
1996 Wake Forest 3–8 1–7 8th
1997 Wake Forest 5–6 3–5 7th
1998 Wake Forest 3–8 2–6 7th
1999 Wake Forest 7–5 3–5 5th W Aloha
2000 Wake Forest 2–9 1–7 8th
Wake Forest: 26-63 12-52
Total: 26-63
IND 2011 2 14 0 .125 4th in AFC South

The defense rests, your honor.  I’ll take the coach/QB that usually starts their season 6-2 instead of the combo they have in Detroit Rock City.  Now go take a shower after seeing those numbers.

The Pick: Giants +6.5


Survivor Pool Pick of the Week:  Philadelphia Eagles.  I don’t LOVE the pick simply because I am also betting the Jaguars to cover the 10.5.  So I will be rooting against myself in a sense.  But the only other game on the board that I considered was Bills vs. Bears.  And despite improving their defense, the Bears rushing defense was an abject failure last season.  I can already see CJ Spiller ripping off a couple of 80 yard touchdown runs on the Red Zone Channel, while Fred Jackson finishes them off with a goal-line plunge.  Give me Philly and I will hope to hit the happy middle (like the cream filling of an Oreo).  And while we are on the subject, if you like the cookie part of an Oreo more than the cream, you need to stop drinking out of the toilet and get real.


Finally, find a better video explaining how every NFL fan feels about the season right now.  You can’t.

iTunes link

Episode 4: The Football Friday Pow Wow: Week 1.  The Best NFL picks in Survior, Pick’em, and Fantasy Football.

This is the first week of the Football Friday Pow Wow. Each week Clem will discuss the best bets in the NFL for pick’em, survivor pools, and fantasy football (draft and daily salary cap). For any specific gambling or fantasy football questions, contact Clem on Twitter @TheClemReport. Here is to another glorious season of the best sport in the world.

Clem Report Podcast

On this episode, I choose winners for all of the NFL divisions and highlights which teams with “longer odds” I would consider betting.  



Well after 256 regular season games and another 8 playoff games, we are left with the four teams that many people expected to be here at the beginning of the season.  One of the reasons sports is great is that upsets happen often and anything can happen.  While that is true, sometimes it is nice to see the cream rise to the top, which usually lead to the best games.  Championship Weekend is always bittersweet, since it means that football season is almost over.  Here’s to 180+ game minutes of awesomeness left.  Anyway, onto the picks.


Patriots @ Broncos

Line: Broncos -5.5

Here we go again.  Manning vs. Brady, Manning vs. Belichick, Good vs. Evil, Offense vs. Defense, yada yada yada (I mentioned the bisque).  A lot has been made about Brady’s win-loss record against Manning’s teams over the years.  However, I feel that not enough people have mentioned how the odds were stacked in Brady’s favor, especially in the beginning of this rivalry.  Peyton has almost always had the better offensive playmakers on his teams, but Brady has had the better coach and defense for almost the entire life of the rivalry.  Does anyone really think that if Manning was the quarterback of the Patriots, they would not have won at least three Super Bowls?  Bill Barnwell wrote a great piece comparing the two quarterbacks and wondered whether we would look at Brady differently if his career had gone backwards (big stats early, championships later).  Regardless, this iteration of Brady vs. Manning is different than all the games in the past, including their Week 12 matchup earlier this season.  That game was in New England, had gusty winds, and featured key players on both teams that have since been placed on IR.

The Broncos are a great, diverse offensive team that admittedly benefited from a weak schedule.  Bill Belichick will have his team as well-prepared as possible.  Last week he was able to contain T.Y. Hilton to only four catches, albeit for 103 yards.  This week, however, he will have a much harder time taking away all the playmakers on the Denver offense.  I imagine we will see Aqib Talib lined up on Demariyus Thomas for most of the game.  That will leave the rest of the New England defensive backfield responsible for Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas.  If Belichick comes up with a gameplan that focuses on stopping the pass while allowing the running game to thrive, Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball will be able to gash the sub-par Patriots front line.  Add in the quick pace that the Broncos run their offense in with the thin air of Denver, and you can imagine the Patriots injury ravaged, paper thin defense wearing down quickly.

The Patriots are an above average offensive team that has had to adjust their identity on the fly due to injuries and off-field issues.  When Rob Gronkowski was in the lineup, the were a very good-to-great offensive team.  Now they are a team that relies on their power running game and Hall of Fame quarterback.  While LeGarrette Blount has played great the last few weeks, I think much of that was due to the matchups and circumstances surrounding the games.  The Colts defense had trouble all season against the run, while the Bronco’s defense ranked seventh in the league in rushing yards allowed per game.  The Patriots passing attack will consist of a bunch of targets to Julian Edelman, a hobbled Danny Amendola, “joker” Shane Vereen, and a slew of lightly regarded players.  The Patriots are hoping that Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson can come back this week in order to give Tom Brady a deep threat.  If either come back, I think they will be limited in terms of effectiveness.  The Broncos defense has taken a hit the last few weeks, losing Von Miller and Chris Harris Jr.  For most of last week’s game, the Broncos were able to contain the Chargers offense.  While San Diego was able to make a push late offensively, the game was mostly in Denver’s hands.  While the Patriots have a better quarterback than the Chargers, I don’t think they have a wide receiver as good as Keenan Allen.  If the Broncos are able to spring out to a lead, it will force New England to throw more than they are accustomed to with this lineup.

In this latest (and perhaps final?) Brady vs. Manning matchup, I am going to favor Manning and the Broncos.  The Patriots have not PLAYED a road playoff game since losing to the Peyton Manning-led Colts in the 2006 AFC Championship Game.  While this speaks volumes for their regular season performance (thus gaining them homefield advantage), it also shows that they have had a legitimate advantage in every AFC playoff game since 2006.  Tom Brady has a career 3-2 record in the playoffs when on the road.  His first loss came at Denver vs. Jake Plummer, and his second loss came in the aforementioned 2006 matchup at Indianapolis.  This obviously means that he has never beaten Peyton Manning on the road in the playoffs.  I think that while Brady still has the better head coach, Manning clearly has the better offensive and defensive units.  New England has done a better job on special teams this year, but the thin air in Denver should neutralize most of their advantages.  If Brady and Belichick can pull out this victory, it will be their most impressive win since they beat the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.  While the Patriots obviously have a shot to do so, too many things will have to go right for New England and wrong for Denver.  While the Chargers were able to sneak in a backdoor cover last week, I don’t think New England has the weapons on offense to do that.  The spread has gone as high as Broncos -7 and as low as Broncos -4.5.  For the sake of today’s post, I will bet today’s line of Broncos -5.5.  While I hate the thought of betting against the always well-prepared Belichick, I just think that there is too much in Denver’s favor to go against them.  5.5 is a lot of points, but unless Manning gets his signature happy feet in the wrong moments again, I see the Broncos taking control of this game early and coasting to a victory.  Hopefully Mile High will give the Broncos the homefield advantage they deserve.

Pick: Broncos -5.5.  Due to the Patriots lack of offensive weapons and Denver potentially having a chance to control the clock with the running game, I would actually consider Under 56 as well.  


49ers @ Seahawks

Line: Seahawks -3.5

We move on from the best player-centric rivalry in the NFL to the best team-centric rivalry in the NFL.  Similar to last week’s 49ers/Panthers game, both teams are built on physical defenses, ball control offenses, quarterbacks that can make plays with their legs as well as their arms, and great special teams.  The most talked about man in this game seems to be not a player, coach, or executive, but rather the 12th Man of Seattle.  The old adage is that home field is worth 3 points in the spread.  So if a home team is favored by 3 at home, Vegas is basically saying that these two teams are equal.  Again, based on Bill Barnwell’s home-field advantage column, the Seahawks advantage may be more valuable than that.

As my previous posts have stated, I think Jim Harbaugh is a pretty damn good coach.  He gives the 49ers the advantage in coaching every week, except maybe when he plays the Patriots.  While Pete Carroll is a very good coach who has only gotten better during his time in Seattle, I don’t think he can match up with Harbaugh.  The two quarterbacks in this game are a great example of what the position is evolving to.  Both players have shown the ability to win games on the ground and in the air.  Kaepernick is a tall, athletic freak in the mold of Randall Cunningham.  His physical tools and long strides allow him to do things no other quarterback in the league can do.  Meanwhile, I see Russell Wilson as a more athletic version of Drew Brees.  Both players have similar heights, pocket presence, and leadership abilities.  The “It” factor that has made Drew Brees a champion is something that many people see in Wilson.  Obviously, Brees has much more experience and success in the NFL thus far, but I think Wilson will continue to grow on a similar progression path.  The running back position is basically a wash in this matchup.  BEAST MODE is a harder runner, but Gore seems to be the more savvy of the two and a better option in the passing game.  I expect Gore to have a slightly better average per carry, as I think the 49ers have a superior rushing defense.  The 49ers have a big advantage in the WR/TE side of things.  When it comes to overall play, you can make a case that the 49ers have the best three receivers in this game, with Crabtree, Davis, and Boldin.  They can make plays and they can block.  Percy Harvin has always had the stigma of being injury prone, though he only missed three games in his first three seasons.  Then came the hip injury that held him out for much of last season and almost all of this season.  Last week, the Saints treated him like a piñata and gave him a concussion.  Harvin is by far the best playmaker in the Seahawks receiving corps, and I have a feeling he will not be cleared for this game.  Golden Tate is a decent option as well, but he tends to disappear for long chunks at a time.  The 49ers clearly have an advantage on the Offensive Line, with the Seahawks line varying between poor to above average throughout the season.

On the defensive side of the ball, both teams are pretty good in the front seven.  The 49ers strength is clearly their linebacking corps, with Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, and Aldon Smith all being annual All-Pro candidates.  The Seahawks have a deep, varied group of players in their front seven.  They have guys who can stop the run, rush the passer, and do a little bit of everything.  The Seahawks biggest advantage in this game is in the defensive backfield.  They have two of the best players in the NFL residing in their secondary.  Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas give the Seahawks the freedom to play tight, man coverage while they turn their big bodies up front after the quarterback.  The 49ers secondary has been pretty good all season, but are dealing with an injury to starter Carlos Rogers.  I think that having Michael Crabtree back will be a huge boost for San Francisco, allowing Anquan Boldin to avoid Sherman for most of the day.  I also think that if the refs decide to call the game in the secondary tight, it will be a huge disadvantage for the Seahawks.  They play physically tough and if they get called for ticky tack penalties, it will change the entire complexion of their defensive gameplan.  We will see if being the home team will give them an advantage with the officials.

Going into this week, I was leaning heavily towards picking the Seahawks.  I think that the 49ers are used to being the more aggressive, physical team and when they face a team that punches back like Seattle, they are thrown for a bit of a loop.  However, just going on the matchups, I think that San Francisco has the better coach, receivers, offensive line, and defensive front.  I think the Seahawks have the better QB, defensive backfield, and obviously a legit home-field advantage.  I think the Seahawks will be able to pass on the 49ers, while the 49ers will be able to run against the Seahawks.  Both defenses should play well enough to keep their teams in the game, while both offenses will have trouble actually putting the game away once they have the lead.  This could lead to the scenario of last team to have the ball wins the game.  In that case, I’ll take the points and the superior coaching, despite the 9ers being on the road in the hardest place to play in the NFL.

Pick: 49ers +3.5

Teaser:  Since this is the last week we have more than 1 game, here is the teaser I think I am going to lay.  It seems like a pretty obvious teaser, but I am going to place it nonetheless.

Broncos +0.5, Broncos/Pats Under 62, 49ers +9.5, 49ers/Hawks Over 33

Well folks, we have made it to the NFL Divisional Weekend.  Many NFL diehards point to this weekend as the best weekend of football, as all the championship “pretenders” have been weeded out and the best 8 teams are still playing.  One quick note on last week’s picks.  Since I try to get this blog up before the end of the work week, the spreads may change.  I had Indianapolis at -2.5 on Thursday, which changed to Chiefs -1 in some books by kickoff.  This is just the nature of the gambling beast, but I will be sure to update the blog if something like this occurs in the future.  Again, my apologies.

To recap last week, I liked the Colts -2.5, Saints +2.5, Saints Money Line, 49ers -2.5.  I also picked the Bengals -7, but would have stayed away from the game due to the Chargers up and down nature.  Anyway, on to this week.

Saints @ Seahawks

Line: Seahawks -7.5

After a full week of talking up the Saints on the road due to matchups and coaching, I am going to pull a 180 and explain why the Saints will not win or cover the spread this week.  First of all, the Saints were matched up with a team that had a defense that ranked anywhere from average to below average.  This week they will face the clear cut best defense in the NFL.  Last week the Saints played a team that has not had much of a homefield advantage the last few seasons.  This week they will go into the stadium that represents the biggest homefield advantage in the game.  According to the tremendous DVOA system of Football Outsiders, both teams are very good offensive teams.  However, Seattle clearly outclasses New Orleans in both defense and special teams.  The Saints are a great passing offense, but the Seahawks are the best passing defense in the league.  Sometimes football matchups are like a rock/paper/scissors game.  The Seahawks are the rock to the Saints scissor.  I see the Saints gearing up to stop Marshawn Lynch in the rushing game, but this will allow Russell Wilson to beat them with both his arm and his legs.  Add in Percy Harvin coming back and potentially making a big play on offense and/or special teams leads me to being very confident that Seattle will win this game comfortably.

Pick: Seahawks -7.5

Colts @ Patriots

Line: Patriots -7.5

Year in and year out, fortunes change in the NFL.  Teams go from worst-to-first and vice versa all the time.  It is not uncommon to even see a Super Bowl champion miss the playoffs the year after winning it all.  This makes the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick Era so impressive.  Since Tom Brady took over as quarterback in 2001, the Patriots have only missed the playoffs in 2002 and 2008.  Every other season they won the AFC East, and in 2008 they missed the playoffs even though they had an 11-5 record and Tom Brady was injured for the season in the first quarter of the first game of the year.  I am saying all of this just to remind everyone how great these two legends are.  But despite ALL that, I am going to pick the Colts to cover this week.  Yes, the same Colts that gave up 44 points at home to the Chiefs last week, got blown out by the Rams this season, and are basically down to 2 playmakers on offense.  But I am doing this is because Andrew Luck is in the midst of taking the leap from good to great quarterback.  Luck is able to beat you with his arm, legs, and brain.  Based on last week’s play calling, offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton may finally be willing to admit it is time to put all his chips behind the best quarterback prospect since John Elway.  And when the Colts do run the ball, Donald Brown has performed well, also giving Luck a good checkdown option when his receivers are covered.  While Luck will go up against the great Belichick’s schemes, he will not have to worry about the injured Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, and Brandon Spikes.  Luck’s newest security blanket TY Hilton will likely have the Pats defensive gameplan centered around him, with ace coverman Aqib Talib shadowing Hilton for most of the day.  While both are legit concerns, the Pats have been carved up by opposing WR1 since Talib hurt his hip in October.  As for the New England offense, they have not been very inspiring without Rob Gronkowski.  Tom Brady averaged almost 100 yards and a touchdown more per game when Gronk was in the lineup.  The Pats went from one of the best red zone teams in the league with Gronk to one of the worst without him.  While I admit the Colts defense is more up and down than the Gummi Bears, I think Chuck Pagano will prepare them enough to keep them in the game.  With the Pats offense looking pretty ordinary, their defense banged up, and the Colts proving their mettle against teams like the Seahawks, 49ers, and Broncos, I am picking the Colts in this game.

Pick: Colts +7.5

49ers @ Panthers

Line: Panthers +1

You gotta love when one of the best matchups of the regular season has a rematch in the playoffs.  This time the Panthers get to host the 49ers after beating San Francisco in their own building in Week 10.  Both of these teams have a lot of similarities to each other.  They are physical units that are built on defense with a rushing-first offense that relies on their quarterbacks to make plays with both their arms and their legs.  I think Cam Newton at this point is slightly better than Colin Kaepernick, however I think Kaepernick has better weapons around him.  I like Frank Gore a lot more than DeAngelo Williams and Co., while Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and Anquan Boldin are much better than anything Carolina can throw at San Fran.  Finally, while Ron Rivera has done a great job with this unit throughout the year and is willing to take some calculated risks based on his team strengths, I think Jim Harbaugh outclasses him here.  Despite the Panthers winning in San Francisco, having a week of rest, and being the home team, I am going with coaching and Vegas here.  49ers is the pick.

Pick: 49ers -1

Chargers @ Broncos

A divisional matchup on divisional playoff weekend.  Isn’t that just lovely?  Divisional games always seem to be close, which bodes well for the underdog Chargers.  Both games were decided by 8 or less points, with the home team losing each time.  The Chargers have the least amount of “Three and Out” drives in the league, while the Broncos were second.  However, the Chargers forced the Broncos to go Three and Out five times in their last matchup, while the Bolts played keep away with a ball control offense.  Add in that the Chargers seem to be taking the shape of the Packers, Giants, and Ravens of yesteryear, as the hot team that is on a roll into the playoffs and wins it all.  The Broncos defense was already looking pretty bad, and then they lost their most talented player for the season when Von Miller tore his ACL in Week 16.  The Chargers defense has been no picnic itself, but seems to be playing better as of late.  Peyton Manning is perhaps the best regular season player of all-time, but among the most disappointing in the playoffs.  However, it is hard to blame him for last year’s defeat, which was partially due to a Joe Flacco Hail Mary that was answered.  The Chargers will try to shorten the game again with their ball control offense.  Ryan Mathews has run roughshod on the Broncs this season, but is still dealing with an ankle sprain that kept him out of practice and most of the Bengals game last week.  I have a feeling that the Broncos will jump on the Chargers early and Mathews will be extremely limited with his injury.  Peyton has burned me in the playoffs in the past, but I am going to go with him again here.

Pick: Broncos -9.5

As always, thanks for reading and enjoy the games this weekend!