Saturday, October 14, 2006

Week 6 sucker bet

5-0 YTD

Week 1 - Seattle -6 @ Detriot
Week 2- Carolina -3 @ Minnesota
Week 3- Baltimore Ravens -7 @ Cleveland
Week 4- Jacksonville -3 @ Washington
Week 5- Kansas City -3.5 @ Arizona

Congrats to all who were along for the Cardiac Cardinals last week

One of the things about this sucker bet, is that a lot of these games come down to the very end. Every single one of these games was won by less than a touchdown. That means this isn't one of those blowout wins you count on... you have had to sweat these games out until the bitter end.

Week 6- Rams +3.5 (bodog line)

This was the hardest sucker bet for me to pick yet. Each week we have seen these lines that people just blindly jump on. I think last week was a little bit different, in that people were playing KC off the blowout win and the cards after a blowout loss. I don't think people seemed to notice that the Cards switched QB's, and are actually a much better team at home. This week was difficult to pick because those huge public plays are not ALWAYS losers. If there were any trends that were right 100% of the time, gambeling would be easy. If people think that they can just fade the largest plays and win everytime, they are are wrong.

To go along with that theme, the Eagles are the anti-sucker bet of the week which I will go into detail later. The fact that I like the Eagles to beat the Saints, HELPS my logic with the rams over seattle.

So far this season, on all the pre-game shows we keep hearing about how " the saints are the sleeper team of the year thus far". Well I think cinderella goes home early this week, and the rams will be crowned " the NEW sleeper team of the year". After New Orleans losses to the Eagles, the Saints will be 4-2, while the Rams will be sitting atop their divison at 5-1. Not only will the Rams be in first place, but the Rams will have knocked off the division leader and NFC superbowl representative. The rams have a bye in week 7, and will enter the bye week as the talk of all the pregame shows. We will unfortunatly have to hear the Chris Collinsworths, Terry Bradshaws, and Mike Golics talk about how they " saw the rams as the sleeper team all along".

Besides my own personal blog, one of the sites I would reccomend for information is These guys have a "moneyball" approach to football and statistics. Right now the Rams are ranked 8th in the NFL with a DVOA of 16.2%. Seattle is ranked 18th with a DVOA of -.08%. If you are unfamiliar with DVOA's it basically means that the rams are operating 16.2% better than an average "ghost team" in certain situations, while seattle has basically been performing average. On defnese, the negative number for both defenses is good, means that opposing offenses are performing basically 5 and 10 percent WORSE than average.

Rams total DVOA 16.2%... offense 11.5%... defense -4.6%
Seattle total DVOA -.8%......offense -9.8% ....defense-10.5%

Now I am not one to go just on rankings, because rankings represent " what happened", and we are looking for " what's going to happen. The DVOA's also don't really take into consideration "home and road", but they do try and factor in competition played. Right now, their algorhtyems are also factoring a little bit of the preseason as well, because the regular season has only seen 5 or 6 trials for most teams. I wouldn't try and go soley by DVOA's, but I do give the creators credit with trying to create a "master rankings formula".

- Seattle last year was 8-0 at home ( 10-0 counting playoffs) , but only 5-3 on the road ( 5-4 counting the super bowl)
- The rams were both 3-5 at home and on the road last year, but the previous year they were 6-2 at home but only 2-6 on the road with a realativly similar cast of players.

The point I am trying to get at, is that Seattle not only has a strong homefield advantage, but they are also a bad road team. Seattle was undefeated at home, but played almost .500 ball on the road.

To go along with that point, let's take a look at seattle against their own divison last year...
Beat the rams by 15 at home last year, but beat the rams by 6 on the road last year
Beat the 49ers by 38 at home last year, but beat the 49ers by 2 on the road last year
Beat the Cardinals by 25 at home last year, but beat the Cards by 14 on the road last year

So far, nothing has changed for seattle. In week 1 they beat the winless Lions by only a field goal. Two weeks ago they got demolished by the bears on the road.

St. Louis has defended their home field thus far. They beat a good Denver team in week 1, and they won a shootout against the Lions in the "martz bowl".

A lot of people are going to point out who the rams beat, and how they beat them. The rams were fortunate enough to get 5 turnovers against Denver, as the Broncos really probably beat themselves. The rams also beat weaker teams in Green Bay, Detroit, and Arizona. I really can't disagree with that. What I can bring up though, is that the weaker schedule is not their fault. The rams are 4-1 and have beaten who they had to play. The rams might have been "lucky", but why can't they continue to be "lucky"? Last year the Jags and Seahawks had the easy schedules. The Jags got banged out in their first playoff game, while the Seahawks went all the way to the Super Bowl.

If you want to talk about not being too impressive, look at seattle. They barly beat the winless Lions in week 1. They skated by the Warner Cardinals in week 2 , the Giants had multiple turnovers and beat themselves in week 3, and the hawks got eaten up by the bears two weeks ago.

The Seahawks have had trouble scoring points this year. They only put up 6 on the bears on the road, 9 against the Lions on the road, and 21 against the cards. If you took away the Giants game, the Hawks offense has really been struggling. If you took away the Giants game, they have only put up 12 points per game, and only 7.5 on the road.

Matt Hasselback hasn't been himself this year. I'd say Hasselback is one of the better QB's in the league. I'd say he's a late top 5QB, or middle of the pack for the top 10. Right now Hasselback has a QB Rating of only 74, he has 6 TD's to 7 Picks, and only 853 yards. I'd say that the lack of that luxary run game has put a lot more pressure on Hasselback. The hurting run game could be a function of losing mauler steve hutchingson at Left Guard, and Alexander playing through some pain...

on the road week 1... Alexander had only 51 rushing yards against DET in the dome, and 2 fumbles. Hasselback was 25/30 for an efficient 210 yards.

On the road against the Bears... Morris only had 35 rushing yards, while Da Bears were able to run on seattles defense.

I think Maurice Morris is one of the better backup runningbacks in the league, and I think he could have rushed for 1200 yards behind that line last year, but shaun alexander was an ATM inthe redzone last year... Shaun Alexander was an "automatic touchdown machine" in the redzone last year. Alexander had 27 rushing touchdowns last year! He did rack up a lot of stats against weaker competition, but he made hasselbacks job easier. This time around, the Hawks might have some of those "Automatic 27 touchdowns" turning into "automatic Josh Brown field goals"... not good for seattle.

Along those rushing lines, is the fact that Stephen Jackson is leading the NFL in rushing right now. I'd actually like to point out that he has a legit chance of being crowned the rushing leader. Last years top 5 ( alexander, tiki, LJ, Portis, and edge) are kind of banged up right now.

Look at how the Rams have changed as a philosphy. They go from a pass happy matchup offense with Mike Martz, to a much more balanced attack under Scott Linehan. Mark Bulger doesn't have to go out there and throw for 300 yards to win anymore. ( BTW Bulger has a great home record). Now the Rams have bulked up their defense, and given Bulger a run game. Bulger has been much more efficient this year. He has 1200+ yards, 7 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a 94 QB rating. So with the rams, you have an efficient QB, and the leading rusher in the league and a more balanced offense.

On defense, the biggest addition is their new Defensive coordinator. Jim Haslett might have not been the best coach in the league, but he has improved their defense. I actually like the rams front 4. They now have some real meat in the middle of their D-Line, with La Roi Glover ( maybe the strongest guy in the NFL), Jimmy Kennedy and his push, and Lennard Little. I am not a big fan of Lennard Little as a person, but he is a very good pass rusher. It looks like they have a quality D-Line that is strong up the middle for the run, and can also rush the passer.

I'd like to say that with some key injuries that this game also goes "over" 44.5
Will Weatherspoon looks like a no go, while the rams have 2 questionable corners...
Marcus Tubbs looks like a no go, while seattle has 2 questionable safeties...

The Seahawks have been running a lot of 4 WR formations. They sometimes liked to RUN out of this, as they spread out the defense horizontally, and then had alexander running more isolated on linebackers, but it's also dangerous against the pass.

This is the biggest game the rams have had in over 2 years, and I think that dome will be LOUD. People will be checking out if the "overrated 4-1" rams are for real, and I think they win this week and add fuel to the fire. The Seahawks were 6-0 in the division last year, and if you think they will lose ANY divisional games this year, this is the most likely loss in my opinion. I don't think they go 6-0 in the division, and there is an outside chance that they have the superbowl hangover syndrome and miss the playoffs. I guess a lot of people are playing the Hawks after the blowout loss and the bye, thinking it is guaranteed the 13-3 hawks bounce back but these are two different teams from last year. The "better" hawks from last year only beat the weaker rams by 6 in st. louis. I think the rams are probably better, and the hawks aren't as good as they were last year.

I also like the "no more mike martz stupid mistake" worries. The fact that I think the saints lose, and the rams win, makes them a huge "cinderella team" story for all the pregame talking heads. I do think the rams don't deserve to be 4-1, and I do they they are and will be overrated, but they will live to die another day.

I think this will be an exciting "over" bet and sucker bet, that once again comes down to the last possession.

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