Apr 11, 2016

About last night

Last night, my "FWB" texts me and wants a favor.  I'm watching the Masters and don't particularly want to leave the house.  After much pointless texting, it becomes apparent that she wants "benefits".  "Sure, come over," I text.  Now, she can be a little annoying.  Actually, really annoying.  The last time we talked, I got irritated and told her to "Shut the fuck up".  So, I hadn't heard from her in 2 months.  She arrives at the house a couple hours later...with her dog.  Her dog is a medium sized dog and usually sleeps with us.  I've been single for 4 years now and I'm starting to find my little pug and dickhead cat annoying in bed with me.  But, what's the harm?  I get some "benefits" at the cost of little sleep.

Fast forward to the middle of the night.  Her dog keeps drinking out of the toilet...like 10 or 15 times and I'm thinking this dog is going to piss in my house.  If only, that was the case.  6:30 AM, I wake up and am like "What is that smell?"  I look up and the dog has shit on the carpet.  And it reeks.  My "WTF is that" wakes the "FWB" up.  I explain and she starts cleaning up after her dog.  Now, I go downstairs looking for the piss that I'm sure to find.  Nothing.  But, the smell is even worse down here.  I get the flashlight out and begin searching.  And there it is, in my dining room, the biggest pile of green dog shit I've ever seen.  Just thinking of the smell, is causing me to dry heave as I type.

Apparently, the "FWB" had had a Sunday Funday brunch at her house.  And, her lovely friends had been feeding this poor dog people food all day long and I became the benefactor of that.  I guess this is why the dog was so thirsty.  On the bright side, no piss was found...just steaming piles of shit.

So goes, the single life of a 47 year old...

Mar 1, 2016

March 1st- Vegas thoughts

Happy March 1st everyone.  I've now transitioned from guilt ridden and stressed out to extremely excited and can't focus on work right now.   This past weekend I took the kids camping and spent some quality time with them at the beach which seemed to ease some of the concerns of not being around for the next 3 weeks.  The stress is also subsiding with a great run of 12-3 in NHL in the last two weeks coupled with some optimism at work. The confidence level is rising with less than a week to go, which is good.  With that, I was teaching Wyatt how to calmly roll the dice and not just sling it across the room.   I think I have a new technique that might change my rolling luck of the last two years.   

Last night I was thinking about goals for the trip and then there was some chatter around if certain things will happen, so I will put REALISTIC lines on some things that I want to do and what others have already said might happen. 


  1. Can Derek not drink for one 16 hour gambling session? +2000- this is real folks.  I'm going to see if I can do it and how it impacts my gambling.  I might just go to a water park or go on a field trip one afternoon. 
  2. Will there be a $15 craps table at 9:00pm on Friday at the Mirage?  -110- money has already been placed on this. 
  3. Will Tanya have our rooms correct? Yes +350/No -120.  She is the worst, but I have to admit I might of gone back to her at least 5-6 times to change the reservation. 
  4. Over/Under on the time is takes Eric to first complain about being overbooked, despite being advised that he was overbooking himself?  12 hours. Under -150
  5. Will someone yell at John to deal the cards?  Yes -135/No +450.   Lee, get ready for the worst dealer at the Mirage.
  6. Over/Under on the number of craps points hit for the trip: (must play at least 1 time for bet to be active)
    1. Wiz- 22
    2. Eric- 24 (not due to him being the best roller, but due to sheer volume of his play)
    3. Lee- 12
    4. Derek- 8.5
    5. Mike D- 10
    6. Mike A- off the board.  Will set line once I see his first craps roll. 
    7. Don- 10
  7. Over/Under- Derek's total number of missed All Tall/All or Nothing bets because he has to run to the bathroom and one of them hits.  1
  8. Over/Under on the number of Baccarat sessions for Eric. 5.5- note Eric said he hates Baccarat, but we all know he can’t help himself.  He loves the old ladies in that room.
  9. Over/Under on the number of Salon sessions for Eric. 1.5
  10. Over/Under on the number of markers Wiz will have outstanding at ONE table during ONE session. 2.5.  I’m giddy about this one J
  11. Will we have a UTH table designated “Reserve”?  Yes -175/No +200.  I think we are the only assholes to ask the pit boss to increase the limits so that we keep the idiots away.  It worked in July.
  12. Over/Under on Lee’s visits to the special pool section.  1.5
  13. Will there be an altercation at a table?  Yes -175/No +150,  There were 2 last year.  It all depends on what convention is out there this year.  Oh. Just googled it and we have 3 this year.  Western Veterinary Conference, National Association of Pizzeria Operators, Nightclub and Bar expo, and the Wedding/Portrait Photographers expo.  Interesting
  14. Will Derek bet on/against Marquette?  Yes +600/No-1000.  I’ve held true to my New Year’s resolution of not betting a game that involves Marquette. My hatred for Wojo has blinded me on this team so I’ve stayed away.  As Eric pointed out last night, the list for all of us is growing way to quickly on teams that we hate and can’t figure out.  Texas, Iowa State, and Iowa are approaching this segment.  
  15. Will the majority of the groups picks for the golf pool miss the cut?  Yes +350/ No -400
  16. Will we get a result of 6-1 or 7-0 on our daily college basketball parlay ticket?  Yes +700/ No -1000.
  17. Will there be a single bet placed at a casino outside of the Mirage?  Yes+200/No -250
  18. Will Wiz over tip for bad service at a restaurant? Off the board

 

Feb 29, 2016

Vegas 2016 Prep

Well hello out there! Today is the 5th anniversary of Janice and I's engagement....it was a cold and dreary February day in 1996 when I got down on my knee on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. It doesn't get much more romantic than that.

To celebrate, we (just the two of us) had a wonderful brunch at the Omni hotel downtown. Randomly bumped into another couple we knew and the four of us spent 2 1/2 hours pigging out.  Nothing like a 4,000 calorie meal at 11 am. What came after dessert? Another helping of Prime Rib! I'm still stuffed now and I haven't eaten anything since that meal. (Maybe that explain why I didn't sleep well and am up at this hour? )

That buffet certainly got my stomach ready for the Vegas trip, now just 9 days away. Need to get my game plan/strategy in order as well for the trip. Some notes to ponder as we get closer to the start:

- Loved Layup's previous post about this innermost feelings for the trip. I, too, am a little nervous about bankroll. We've got a lot of things going on this year - Spring Break trip, the golf trip to Ireland, and other things - and of course a bad college basketball season. It all adds up - quickly. And I don't have the ex-pat salary cushion anymore. ( I know, cry me a river...)

- Instead of setting loss limits on game, I like to make sure I know what I will take into a session for each game and my initial betting strategy. This, of course, will change on conditions such as time of day, alcohol intake, and general moods. But here is my initial plan for each game:

1. Craps - the hardest to figure out. Assuming a $15 table, we have:
   - pass line with double odds ($45)
   - 6 and 8 for $18 each ($36)
   - a $5 lotto ticket on the all small
   - hard 4/10 when the point is 4 / 10 (I know, awful...)

That's $86 per roller; if the point is 6 or 8, I may do a come bet instead of a 2nd place bet; this will get us to about $100 per roller..... ugh.

I think we need 7-8x the roller outlay as a bankroll, so we are talking $750 for a $15 table.

I'm looking forward to craps at the Mirage - I hate playing craps down here at the Horseshoe; I don't think I have ever come close to winning money. The thrill of the all small and a parlayed hardway just can't be beat.

What do I do at a $25 table?
  - pass line with double odds ($75)
  - 6 and 8 for $30 each ($60)
  - $5 all small
that's $140; 7x$140 = $980 so $1000 for those sessions.

By the way, we are flying through the craps curriculum here at the house with the two older boys. Freddie and Warren are now on the Craps 302 course, covering advanced topics such as:

 - What does 3-4-5 odds mean and how can you get more money on the table if you are limited by the odds
 -  What are the proper don't pass odds
 - What does "off and on" mean
 - How to ignore your dad when he is hustling for tips at the table.

It's fascinating to watch their strategies. Freddie, who is very conservative with his money, will always press his 6 and 8, while Warren - who bets $100 fields regularly - will always say "same bet" with his place bets.

2. UTH: Not much to say here. I think my baseline of 40x the ante bet is good for a session. So $600 for a conservative $15 game, $1000 for a $25 games. This has worked in the past; you can run out quickly if you get killed, but for the most part, it's ok. That's 6-7 "4x" loss hands.

3. Blackjack: Ugh. I'd like to play more blackjack on the main floor this trip - $25/$50 tables. I'm comfortable with 20x the minimum bet here. $500 for $25, $1000 for $50. Really don't want to go higher than that...... (I'll just stop here).

4. Baccarat. Double ugh. I do love this game, but this is getting expensive. (I went through my records - holy crap, what happened in 2014????? How did I lose that much money in baccarat? need to read the blog). 8-10x minimum bet is usually good, but that can get wiped out in 2 minutes with bad cards. Can we stay away ? (no...... I'll drag Mike A into this and blame him)

5. Pai Gow - this is the opposite of Craps for me at the Horseshoe. I usually have good luck at the Horseshoe with Pai Gow - mainly because I actually stay at the table when playing (how's that for an idea, Layup?) - but can't catch any cards at the Mirage, especially against John. I won't play with him at night - just too painful - but in the morning or for a break in the afternoon, yes, I'm sure I will play. I'm thinking 8-10x bet is a good enough bankroll here. So for $50 hands, $400 is fine.

6. Sports betting. I need to REALLY re-evaluate what I am doing here. This on-line account has been problematic. For the Vegas trip, it's all fun and games if you go to the window during the week and bet 87 games *.....you go 40-47 and incur a small loss, and it's a lot of fun.

However, you do that 5-6 days a week (taking off on Friday), and it really wears you down. I can't get out of the "smorgasbord" attitude I have - oooooh look, there's a 1 pm OVC game today! - and just focus. I need to just pick the 3-5 games a day (or, 3-5 in afternoon and 3-5 in evening) and shoot for those. No more picking 20 games a day.

(* - that is a slight exaggeration, but only by a little. I'm sure there have been trips where I placed over 50 wagers across 4 days).

Planning to play golf 3 of the 5 days will be good - will allow me to get out of the casino for a bit and then focus on the sessions later that day ( or early, before golf). I don't think it's healthy to spend 24 hours in the casino each and every day (which is what we did last year).

I know a lot of these plans will be thrown out the window once the drinks start flowing and the all smalls start hitting - but I firmly believe you need to have a base strategy to start with and then adjust on the fly.

(Oh - drinks - I think I need to add to my drink choices, esp at UTH. What the hell should I drink while at a 4 hour UTH session? Rum and cokes? Vodka Lemonades? Tom Collins can only take you so far....)



Feb 23, 2016

Vegas March 2016

With two weeks left until our 19th annual trip to Vegas, I’m starting to get a little nervous.  The usual excitement that I have for the Vegas trip has been replaced by guilt and stress.  The guilt comes from my upcoming travel schedule.  I head to Vegas on Mar 8th and I don’t get back home until Mar 26th.  I have to fly out from Vegas on Sunday to Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan for two weeks for work, so I’ll be away from the family for 3 weeks.   For the first time ever, Carol mentioned that maybe I should head back from Vegas on Friday so that I can spend one day with the kids before heading out.   Yeah, I’m not prepared to do that just yet. So I’ll be flying out of Vegas at 7:00am to LAX, so catch my connection to Bangkok at 10:50am.  Nothing like a 20+ hour flight right after Vegas.

The stress comes from the bankroll.   College Basketball has been a disaster in Nov-Dec causing my Vegas bankroll to go down a significant amount.   I have rebounded in Jan-Feb, but not even close enough to make back any money.  Couple that with a 50/50 chance of me losing my job since AIG is a disaster, my annual bonus still up in the air, the market kicking me in the ass, and my last big trip to Vegas last July, where I got absolutely destroyed, my confidence level is at a new low and my stress level is at a new high.  If I start out ice cold on Tuesday evening in Vegas, I know I could become gun shy which is never fun or a good thing when it comes to gambling.    

Last year, I had the great success for the trip.  I played responsible for the most part and adhered to my strategy, and came back up for the trip.  Trying to read my notes from last year and while I had some very weak moments, I was able to minimize my losses and take profits when I was hot.   A couple of initial thoughts about what I need to continue to focus on for this trip:

·         Loss Limits-  This is more like a bankroll for a session.  I feel comfortable on what I take to the table now for a bankroll. 
o   Craps-  $1500 at a $15 table limit and $2000 for a $25 table limit
o   UTH- $1500 for a $25 table limit
o   Roulette- Don’t really play this anymore, but just in case it will be $300. 
o   Black Jack-Salon- This is really the only one I struggle with.  I really don’t like taking $2000 for the session.  Don’t know why, but this is the right amount. 
o   Baccarat- $1000-  Its not the loss limit that is the problem here.  Its my pressing and betting strategy.  Need to read up on this before going back out.
o   Pai Gow- $500-  I really hate playing this game now.  Maybe it’s because I have ZERO strategy on pressing or how to make money.  Or maybe I just hate the game now.  I won’t play this game by myself, and its only fun if we have a full table and we tend to be drunk.  Other than that, I feel like I’m on a time out whenever I play this.
·         Win Limits-  Wiz sort of drilled this into me two years ago and it really helps out to take profits when you get hot.   A pre-defined win limit just like a loss limit before you sit down at the table.  And you have to be prepared to pick up the instant you hit that win limit and not dick around.  I remember Wiz did this to me for the first time in the middle of the shoe in the Salon two years ago.   I was upset at first, but I now understand how important it is to pick up the instant you hit this limit.   For example, in July, Wiz and I sat down in the Salon for some afternoon BJ.   I set a win limit of $2k.  In the middle of the FIRST shoe, I hit my win limit.  I must of won the first 10-15 hands and I was pressing.   I decided that I would wait until the end of the FIRST shoe and if I was up $2k I would pick up.  Well guess what happened.   The second half of the shoe got cold and I was only up $1,500.  I decided that I would stay since I wasn’t at my win limit anymore.   3 markers later, I picked up down a ton and just sooo upset at what happened.  While this is an extreme example, I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me at Craps.   Win Limits have really helped me get away from the table with money and reset.   Other than the July incident, I have followed this frequently and has helped out tremendously on taking profits.
o   Craps- I think this is probably where Win Limits come into play the most.  I’m up a decent amount of money after a solid roll and I stay at the table to either roll or say that I’m going to leave after the next roll, or something like that.  Next thing you know you have given back some of the profits or all of the profits which leads to staying at the table longer.  I’ve set my win limits to $2k-$3k depending on the time and who I’m playing with.   If I hit my win limit in the middle of a roll, I will limit what additional money I put on the table. 
o   UTH- depending on the time and who I’m playing with it will be $2k-$4k.  
o   Salon- this is really tough and need to hammer out before I sit down.  I have gone on huge runs in the salon to where I’ve won $5k-$6k multiple times. So the x1 or x1.5 my bankroll wouldn’t of allowed me to go on some of those runs.  
o   Baccarat- No clue on this.   Just like the salon, I have gone on massive runs in the $5k-$6k arena on several different occasions.   Not too sure how important this is, since I don’t tend to bleed back profits in this game.   Since I’m not a huge fan of the game, I have no problem picking up after a hot run.  Might just set it at $5K. 
o   Roulette/Pai Gow-  Ugh.  Whatever.  If I’m playing these games, its on such an infrequent basis and with small amounts, so I haven’t even thought about it.   I will say that its to double my bankroll in a session. 
·         Sports gambling-  A couple of key things that worked for me last year:
o   Don’t be afraid to max out on games I love!  Can’t just bet the same amount on the games I love and games I have a small lean on.  
o   For games I have a small lean on but still want to wager, I need to knock my amount down by 75%.   This allows me to still have action on that game, but won’t eat into my bankroll in a large way.
o   2nd half wagering- Continue to either make double up or hedge out of overall wagering based on 2nd half lines. I can’t be afraid to hedge out, pay the juice and wait for the next game.  I don’t do a lot of this, but need to be OK with admitting I made the wrong decision and I now have an opportunity to get out of it.
o   Moneyline wagering on favorites-   Continue with this strategy. It seems to be working.
o   Limit Moneyline parlays-  I tend to do 2 or 3 team ML parlays since I don’t like to lay so much money on the favorite.  These tend not to work out, so I need to stay away from this.

·         Drinking-  So I’m trying not to drink so much beer over the past 3-4 years.   So at home I tend to drink Vodka or Scotch.  This works out well at home since I have a couple of drinks and I can call it a night.  But in Vegas, where I might be drinking for 8-10 hours, vodka is a bad bad bad choice and beer would be better suited.  Need to figure out what will be my go to drink.  Vodka lemonades have not treated me well in Vegas.   

I'm hoping to get some more posts over the next two weeks.  If you want to waste 4 hours of your day, go back and read the 10 years of Vegas posts.  They are classic.   

Jan 3, 2016

NFL Week 17: The Price is Right

Here it comes! Television's most exciting hour of fantastic prizes - the 60-minute Price is Right!

We save the best for last - the defining game show for me in the 1980s (and some of the 70s and 90s!) - The Price is Right. Will there ever be a more perfect game show invented? I say no. It combines game theory, strategy, probability, commercial placement of products (the most important?), luck, and not-simple math. Could anything else be more up my alley?

I won't bore you with the details of how the game works. Let's just dive right in to random thoughts on each part of the game:

One-bid (this is what the call the part where the 4 contestants bid for the right to get on stage)

- if you get called as one of the 4 in the opening sequence, you just have to go into place #4, right?
- or maybe you go into place 3 - since the 2nd pricing game tends to have the car - so if you assume #4 wins the first bid, then you are the last bidder for the second game!
- which reminds me - JESUS, IF YOU BID LAST YOU HAVE SUCH AN ADVANTAGE. USE IT!
- so many times the last bidder plays it completely wrong. If the highest bid of the 3 is $950, I see the last bidder bid $925 or something. WTF is wrong with you?
- In the 80s, it was perfectly normal for women - and men - to reach into Bob's pants pockets for a $100 bill if they got the bid exactly right. I think the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1992 ended this practice on TPIR.
- The $1 bid! I loved that. I would have been the ass that would have bid $47 or something like that - same idea, but more creative.
- Have we ever seen a $2 bid on top of someone's $1 bid? I'll have to search for that...

(Note: Here it is! -ed)

- The look on contestant's faces when someone bids $901 on top of their $900....priceless!

Pricing Games 
I did a whole year's worth of NFL picks with my favorite pricing games earlier in 2006 so no need to review them here. Some notes, in random order:
- Plinko is overrated. Completely brainless.  There, I said it.
- Love "Any Number". All numbers 0-9, included.
- If the Bonus Game is ever played again, that producer should be fired. Or else there are time constraints and they only have 45 seconds for a pricing game.
- I Love the Blank Check game! I was one of 4 people who liked that in 1984.
 - Clock Game - who could forget the strategy there? Couting up or down so quickly like Joe Isuzu.
- Cliff Hangers! The music!
- Love the Dice Game! Roll it over the line!
- Golden Road - I called Layup into the room whenever Golden Road was on.
- The Grocery Game was good in 1976, not useful now.
- Hole in One - or Two! I think the hole here is 2x the size of a real golf hole.
- Lucky Seven - Should you just guess "5" after the first number? Sometimes they throw a "9" in there so the "5" strategy won't work....
- One Away is in the top 5 games invented. Perfect.
- They need to somehow bring "Pathfinder" to a Vegas casino. Perfect drinking game.
- The Race Game! 45 seconds of people running around the stage! Any liabilities here from an insurance standpoint?
- How did they get the Pink Panther music for Safe Crackers?
- Need more Switcheroo in  my life
- People were complete idiots at Ten Chances. Too much thinking for the hyped up contestants.
- 3 strikes! Love the idea of placing the numbers in addition to pulling them out of the bag....

Showcase Showdown
I think at one point in my life, I memorized the order of the numbers on the big wheel...$1.00, 15, 80, 20.....after a few minutes of a refresher, I could do it again.
One of the most fun moments from our Vegas trip was me setting the line of the winning score at a random Showcase Showdown and getting those suckers Wiz and Layup to fall for the sucker side! Ha ha! It was under 87.5!
So - statistics question. You are the 2nd person to spin. The first guy has gone over. You get a .45. What do you do? Spin again, and risk the over? Or stand with a measly 45? What if it is a 60? Where is the breaking point?

Showcase
To me, the showcase was anticlimatic. Not too much drama - and the difficulty of winning a double showcase. I mean, NO ONE got within $250 of the actual price in a showcase? I did try to do the math and add up the prizes to come up with a total - but that never worked. When I was in a bad mood, I loved to wish for the double showcase loser - both contestants bidding over. Happened about twice a month!


Loved the Astericks theme on the platforms! Perfect 1970s motifs that lived well into the 90s.


Of course, the hosts were perfect here. Can anyone do a better job at this game than Bob? And, for me, he had the perfect side host with Rod Roddy. Rod, of course, is my role model for color choices with my golf outfits.

That brings us to the end of the 1980s game show review....and that means one thing:

"Help control the pet population...have your pets spayed or neutered!"

You should also have your quarterback spayed and neutered, just in case. Oh Johnny.....

On to the games, quick predictions:

Atl 27, NO 24
NYJ 24, Buf 16. I think the Jets are focused enough to win this.
Chi 26, Det 24
Bal 23, Cin 20. Cincinnati may be playing it safe here after McCarron got banged up.
Pit 47, Cle 3. Am I predicting too close of a game?
Dal 20, Was 13. No motivation at all for the Skins.
Hou 27, Jax 13. Can't see the Jags putting up a fight here.
Ten 20, Ind 17. Josh Freeman as QB?
NE 27, Mia 17. Belicheck will pull it back at halftime.
Phi 26, NYG 17. The Eagles will be motivated without Kelly.
Car 24, TB 13
KC 24, Oak 23
Sea 27, Az 24. I don't think the Seahawks want to be embarrassed again.
Den 23, SD 10
StL 21, SF 17
GB 24, Min 21. No idea here.

Best bets; 11 of them. Last week: 8-6; overall: 117-96-7
NYJ -3
Bal +9.5
Pit -10.5
Dal -4
Hou -6.5
Ten (no line yet)
Phi +5.5
Tb/Car under 45.5
Oak +7
Sea +6.5
SD/Den under 42

Supercontest: need 3-2 to hit .500. What a disappointing finish! Last week: 3-2; overall: 39-40-1
Bal +9
Pit -10.5
Phi +3
Oak +6.5
Sea +6.5







Dec 27, 2015

NFL Week 16: Card Sharks

Aces are high
Deuces are low
Call it right
And win the Dough!
Ooooooooooon.......Card Sharks!

Why hasn't this game made a comeback? It's a game show so good, they made it twice in the 1980s - Card Sharks! What a great game. It's a good mix of Family Feud, mathematics, strategy and gambling all rolled into one. And the bonus round is easy enough to recreate with your 5-year old kid!

The main game is simple - there are five cards for each player laid out end to end. To win the game, you have to get to the end of the row successfully, calling each card "higher" or "lower" than the previous one. But before you can guess "higher" or "lower", you have to get control of the cards - and that is done with a survey question.

The survey questions are asked of 100 people that are of the same "type" - married men, Playboy bunnies, priests, etc.  - and it's a general form of "Have you ever.....". For example, a survey was done of 100 priests  and they were asked  - have you ever placed a bet at a race track?
The first contestant makes a guess at how many of those 100 priests said yes; the second contestant then predicted if the real answer was higher or lower than the guess. The answer is revealed; if the second contestant is right, he gets control; if not, the first contestant gets control.

Once they get control of the board, they can choose to change their "base card" - starting card - and then off they go with the guesses. They can stop and "freeze" at any time, and then the turn ends and a new survey question is asked. If they get a guess wrong, control goes to the other opponent. A player wins a game when they get through all 5 cards successfully; 2 out of 3 games are needed to win the match and go to the bonus round.

The strategy here is trying to figure out the percentages and when to change base cards. Aces are high, 2s are low, so the "middle" card is an 8. If your base card is 8 - or 7 or 9 - you definitely want to change. But what about a 6? Jack? 5? Tough choices!

The bonus game is where the great excitement for the game is - it's called the "Money Cards". It's a board with three rows - three spots on the bottom 2 rows and a single spot at the top. You start with $200 and have to risk at least $50 on each spot, guessing higher or lower. You can bet it all at any time, if you want. You continue for the three cards in the first row - and, if you survive, you get a $200 bonus to start the 2nd row and continue on. At the top, for the "big bet", you must bet at least half of your "pot". You can change cards at any time at the beginning of each row.

This is where a young Eric first learned of compounding interest! You start with $200 and can end up with $28,800 by doubling it each time! Easy as pie! I re-created this game with Layup as kids and now are teaching the boys how to play. Of course, Warren is usually the winner.

Cards Sharks appeared twice on TV, once from 1978-82 with our good friend Jim Perry. He was the perfect host for this - asked the survey questions with the right tone, and was able to create the right level of drama with the Money Cards. Card Sharks came back in 1986 with Bob Eubanks - the new show had a few more bells and whistles (cars, etc.) that seemed contrived - and personally, I just wasn't a fan of Eubanks hosting this version. Nothing could replace Jim Perry.

This show has a place in our Vegas history - in our 2006 trip, we found that the MGM casino has a table game based on Card Sharks. The rules are here (from Wizard of Odds)....our friend Don cashed out with a black chip (described here from some primitive Vegas diaries from 2006!).

The matron saint of our Vegas trip - or should I say "Holy Godmother" - is Norma Brown. Click this link for 3 minutes of your time that is well worth it. 

And - if your luck is going bad, cheer up - you could be this poor soul. When I first found this video, I wondered what would have happened if Layup was the contestant here.

What more to say about the Browns? I like what I see from Johnny right now....he is starting to be more comfortable in the pocket and yet scramble when needed...the team is starting, slowly, to respond to him (don't worry about the 4,562 drops in the Seattle game). He's like a "6" in Card Sharks. Do we keep the card and guess "higher"? Or change it? I think, at this point, we keep him and gamble. I've seen enough to give him 2016.....

On to the games:

Car 24, Atl 17. I don't see how a de-motivated Falcons team stands in the way.

Buf 27, Dal 10. Talking about motivation - Dallas is done for the year and I can't see them amping up for this game. Kellen Moore on the road against the Bills, coming home after 2 road games?

SF 23, Det 20. Monday night hangover, and I think SF's defense is playing better.

Ind 20, Mia 13. Again, the key here is to find teams that have packed it in. Have you watched Miami against the Giants and then at the Chargers? They are done.

NYJ 20, NE 17. Maybe this is a hopeful guess, but since the first game went over, I think this one will stay under the total - and an "under" game is good for the Jets.

TB 30, Chi 17. A .500 team will prove their worth against a Chicago team that has lost 3 in a row to fade out of contention.

Ten 22, Hou 20. I can bet against Brandon Weeden - on the road - and get points, too??

Pit 31, Bal 20. Almost an impossible game to handicap. What is the motivation for Baltimore? I know it's a rivalry, but they have nothing! And yet, I hesitate to lay the 10 points.

Jax 27, NO 17. Why did I fall for the Saints last week? Their defense is not getting better this year...I know Brees is starting, but I think the wrong team is favored.

Az 30, GB 20. Still thinking Green Bay is a fraud here. They were gifted 14 points last week.

Sea 27, StL 13. The Rams don't have the weapons to take advantage of the Seahawks weakness. I know the Rams lines are good, but in Seattle? The Hawks will find a way to get ahead early.

Min 27, NYG 16. Just the perfect opponent forthe Vikes - the Vikes are a methodical, disciplined team - and their opponent is a undisciplined, erratic team out of the playoffs with their one weapon suspended.

Cin 19, Den 16. I think the Bengals will find a way to win this close game Monday in a classic.

Best bets: 14 of them. Last week: 8-5-1; overall: 109-90-7
Car/Atl under 47
Buf -6.5
SF +9.5
Ind +2.5
Ind/Mia under 44
NYJ +3
NE/NYJ under 45
TB -3.5
Ten +4
Jax +2.5
Jax/NO under 52
Az -4.5
Min -7
Cin +3

Supercontest: last week: 3-2; overall: 36-38-1
Buf -6.5
SF +9.5
Ind +1.5
Ten +4
Cin +3.5

Dec 20, 2015

NFL Week 15: Name that Tune

From Hollywood, it's the New $100,000 Name that Tune! 

Now here's an oldie that made a revival in the 80s for a few years - the good old classic Name that Tune! I have to say - I am surprised this hasn't made its way back into the airwaves again. It's a simple concept that can be easily updated for today's songs. (we'll talk more about this later). 

Name that Tune has been around since the 1950s, but we will focus on the 1984-85 syndicated version. The game is simple - all the games, and the bonus round, focuses on naming a song based on instrumental notes played by a live orchestra.  It starts very much like Price is Right - there is a contestants "box" where 2 contestants are called out randomly from the box.* They are shocked and surprised to get on stage to play!

(* - were they really random? Did they really not know they would be picked? )

Three "games were played for points, and the contestant with the most points goes to the bonus round - the Golden Medley. This is probably the only game where one of the main games is more popular than the bonus round. 

The first game was "Melody Roulette"; the host would spin the wheel for a dollar value and the contestants would play a best-of-5 naming random tunes. The second game was a category round - "Tune Topics"; the 1980s ENIAC computer would randomly pick 1 of 5 topics for songs in that segment, all connected by a common word or topic. 

The final game - where all the drama took place - is the game that most people associated with Name that Tune. Bid a Note! The host would give a short clue description for a song, and then the contestants would "auction" off a chance to guess at the tune. 

"Wiz, I can name that tune in 6 notes"....

"Layup, I can name it in 5"

Whenever someone was stuck, they would challenge the other to "name that tune". 

A piano would play the required notes - and the "winner" of the auction needed to name the tune; if he could, great! If not, the point went to the other team. 

I guess this was the first time I actually saw bluffing work in action. Some old lady would challenge a big guy to the tune and force him to name it in fewer notes; 80% of the time he couldn't do it. 
The bonus round was the Golden Medley. 30 seconds was put on the clock in the form of a giant roulette wheel and would count down; the contestant would need to name 7 songs in those 30 seconds to win. They could pass if needed and come back to it. Winners of the Golden Medley would come back to play in the monthly tournament for $100,000.

The host of this version was Jim Lange - we've seen him before as the Chance of a Lifetime host and the old Dating Game host. Maybe Wink Martindale would have been a better choice with his Hollywood connections and Wink's overall smarminess. Jim seems forced and formal for a show like this. 

The hidden star of this show was the orchestra! Yes, a live orchestra was on stage playing all the songs on the show. Imagine the logistics of this! 25+ songs on the music stand, and they have to rifle through each one during the show in the correct order. And, of course, in the Golden Medley, they'd have to keep the passed songs separately and come back to it in the right order. Madness!

I really wanted to like this show in the 80s - I listened to B104 all the time ("all the hits, all the time"), but of course, the songs played in this show were from the 50s and 60s. Nothing I knew at all - I'm sure "The Girl from Ipanema" came up once every 2 shows. As a 12 year old, I tired of this show quickly. 

This would be a great show to bring back, right? We could have Ryan Seacrest host; we could have Beck lead the orchestra in the back and play songs from 1990 on. 25 years of "new" songs for this show! This has to work, right? Maybe a better host would be Eminem? Mark Mcgrath? MC Hammer? 

I feel like I am in the Golden Medley for the Browns Quarterback audition. 3 weeks left and the clock is ticking to see if we have a quarterback for 2016. Is it Johnny? Can he look solid in the final 3 weeks - against Seattle, Kansas City and Pittsburgh? Can he at least be decent in these losses, or will he "pass" and take a 0 for these games? I like him and want him to do well - just afraid that he is not set up for success here in weeks 15-17. 

On to the games:

Bal 27, KC 20. I have too much respect for Harbaugh as a coach. 

Hou 27, Ind 17. Wow, the Colts have fallen apart. Their defense has looked bad for 2 weeks now, and Hasselbeck has gotten worse. Houston will bounce back from the Pats game. 

Atl 26, Jax 24. This game should be a layup for the Jaguars - which means they will mess it up. 

Min 23, Chi 17. Two teams I can't trust. How do you not win that game at home last week, Chicago? 

NE 30, Ten 17. I think Mariota will be able to score some against the Pats; the question, as usual, is how motivated the Pats will be to run up the score. This will be close to the number. 

Car 34, NYG 27. Not impressed with the Giants defense; should be an up and down game. 

Was 20, Buf 17. Who knows what team will show up here on both sides! Are we sure we can trust Washington - but they are at home! The Cousins mistake will come - but so will the 12 Bills penalties. 

Oak 27, GB 20. I'm not ready to say the packers offense is back after wearing down Dallas last week. They had the ball for 40+ minutes; eventually they were going to get in the end zone. 

Pit 27, Den 24. Let's not crown the Steelers yet, Their defense still is not that tested (oooh, you beat the Colts and the Bengals without Dalton). I expect a shootout. 

SD 30, Mia 17. The final game in San Diego will end with a win. Last games in a city have a way of rallying the team (see Cleveland, 1995)

Cin 27, SF 13. After a week of practice, I have confidence in McCarron. 

Az 20, Phi 17. Not sure of the motivation of the Cardinals or the Eagles' offense. 

NO 31, Det 20.  Just think the Lions are done with the season and are primed to lose big in New Orleans in prime time. 

Best bets: 14 of them. Last week: 8-6; overall: 101-86-6
Bal +6.5
KC/Bal over 41
Hou +2
Atl +3
Car/NYG over 48
Was +2.5
Buf/Was under 44
Oak +3
Den +6
Den/Pit over 45
SD -1.5
Cin -5.5
Az/Phi under 51.5
NO -3

Supercontest: in a big rut. Last week: 2-3. Overall: 33-36-1
Bal +7.5
Atl +3
SD -2
Cin -4.5
NO -3



Dec 13, 2015

NFL Week 14: Let's Make a Deal

It's time for the All New Let's Make a Deal, starring TV's big dealer, Monty Hall!


It's time to review one of the classics - Let's Make a Deal! I have a lot of fondness for this show - especially the 1980s version with Monty Hall - which I think everyone in our age group thinks of when someone refers to the show.

Who doesn't know the basics here? There are a bunch of contestants in the studio audience (36 of them, we learned) that Monty randomly chooses to participate in small games and deals. For instance: here is a small stack of bills - the top and bottom bills are $1 bills. There could be anything else in between. Would you like to keep your stack, or trade it in for door #1?

That's an example of a simple deal. Other deals become more complex; it could be a game between two contestants (such as a grocery pricing game, or trivia, etc.) - and Monty would take turns offering the "deals" between the two contestants - and zero, one, or both of them could take the offer.

What's the risk? Of course, sometimes the "deal" offered was a ZONK. The "prize" behind a curtain could be a big wheel....or a llama...or sheep.....or a stick and some sheets that can be considered luggage. This usually is chosen after the contestant turns down $2000 in cash or something.

At the end of the game, the two highest winners from the day are chosen to play in the "Super Deal" for a large prize package (usually around $8-10,000, in the 1980s!). Sometimes contestants will refuse to play and keep their prize, so Monty goes down the list of the winners to find 2 people that will play. They each take a curtain (one out of 3) to trade in their winnings for a curtain; hopefully one of them will pick the big deal....

Simple, right? Of course. But let me digress on so many notes/tangents on this show:

1. What's the deal with the costumes? All of the contestants are wearing wacko costumes on the "trading floor". How did that start? This show started in the 1960s, and back then, everyone wore formal wear as a contestant (suits and dresses). One show, a lady brought in a sign for Monty, asking him to pick her; he noticed the sign and did pick her! Soon after, another lady wore a fancy hat in order to be noticed; she was and was picked! It snowballed from here.

2. One of the more famous modern statistical problems shared in college classes - and no, I am not joking - is the Monty Hall problem. I remember hearing about this in my undergrad statistics classes in college. The problem is similar to the End game; you have 3 curtains, 1 curtain has a car, 2 others are zonks. You pick a curtain (say, curtain #1). Monty shows you curtain #2 - and it is a zonk.

The question is - should you trade curtains if offered (and change to curtain #3)?

The answer is yes - Marilyn Vos Savant (from the Weekly "Parade" magazine) answered this in 1990 and was immediately (and incorrectly!) berated by professors. I won't go into the solution here, but it is intuitive if you think about it a while. Here's the explanation for more details:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Hall_problem

3. While the closing credits roll, Monty goes around the contestants for mini deals - "quickies" - asking random contestants for household items. "Do you have a fork? I'll give you $50 for a fork". Or a passport. Or a Canadian coin. I think half of the people had a huge hand bag full of junk just for this eventuality.

4. One of my high school memories (or maybe it was middle school - it was 1985) was having a sub for a class; we were supposed to watch a movie but we couldn't get the VCR to work. We then convinced her to turn the TV to Channel 11 to watch "Let's Make a Deal". It was educational!
After about 5 minutes, the sub - Mrs. Grauer, I think - was puzzled. Why are they in costumes? What's going on? I don't think Mrs. Grauer was a big fan of game shows.

5. The show introduced door #4 in the 80s - where a big wheel came out to "randomly" select a contestant to spin a wheel for cash and prizes. A random number generator picked a number from 1 to 36 to pick a contestant to play. I think they had to do this since it seemed that the contestants picked for the main game play were never random.

I haven't watched the revival of Let's Make a Deal with Wayne Grady - so I can't comment on how well the new show matches up with the classics. However, in my mind, Monty Hall will
always be Mr. Let's Make a Deal. The perfect host for this show.

Anyway - we are getting to the point here where we have to play Lets Make a Deal with Johnny. We've got 4 games to determine whether we stay with door #1 - Johnny - or take Door #2 - Jared Goff? Colin Kaepernick? I feel like we will have llamas behind any door we choose.

On to the games:

Car 23, Atl 13. Yes, the Falcons are falling apart, but I don't know if the Panthers have the motivation to crush them.

Chi 27, Was 17. Completely shocked at how flat the Skins were last week. Fox will dial up the same defense for Washington.

Cin 26, Pit 23. Should be a great game; I have Big Ben going for me in the playoffs so I need a great game here.

Ind 27, Jax 24.  The Jags D is horrendous; Indy can pass and take advantage of it. Hasselbeck will recoup and give the Colts the win.

KC 27, SD 23. San Diego is better on teh road now rather than at home to get away from the distractions.

NYJ 26, Ten 13. Not sure I see how Tennessee will score 14+ points vs. this defense, as they are so one-dimensional.

Buf 24, Phi 20. 21 points by the Eagles last week were on returns. I'm not ready to say they are back.

StL 20, Det 13. One last good effort by the Rams. No logic behind this pick.

TB 30, NO 17. The Saints played their Super Bowl last week, and the Bucs are making a charge to theplayoffs - not a perfect team, but getting better.

Sea 27, Bal 10. Jimmy Clausen again?

Den 24, Oak 20. Not sure if Denver can score enough to cover this spread.

GB 22, Dal 20. Maybe this is too high of a score prediction. How does each team score points here?

NE 24, Hou 21. Facinating game. I think Belicheck's history with Hoyer will make the difference here.

NYG 27, Mia 16. The Dolphins are crap. Time for me to get another Monday night game wrong.

Best bets: 14 of them. Last week: 9-7; overall: 93-80-6
Atl/Car under 46.5
Chi -3.5
Ind +1.5
Ind/Jax over 46
SD +10.5
KC/SD over 44
NYJ -7
Ten/NYJ under 43
Buf +1
StL +3.5
Det/StL under 41
TB -4.5
Dal +6.5
NYG +2

Supercontest: Last week: 2-3; overall: 31-33-1
Chi -3
TB -4
Ind pk
Sea -6.5 (stale line)
NYG -1





Dec 6, 2015

NFL Week 13: High Rollers

And now a game of high stakes, where every decision is a gamble, and every move could be your last. Hiiiiiiiigh Rollers!

We are going way back into the memory bank for this one - High Rollers! Dice, numbers, strategy, prizes, cheesy graphics, K-cars....how could you make a game more perfect for me?

The game was based on the old favorite board game "Shut the Box". In Shut the Box, there were numbers 1-9 set up and you rolled dice; you knocked off the numbers 1-9 based on your roll... If you could knock all the numbers out, you win! We bought a cheap Shut the Box set in Bangkok for like $3....they are all over the markets in Asia , for whatever reason.  This game sounds easy, but in practice, this is a lot harder than it looks!

The main game for High Rollers acts the same way. There are 3 columns of 3 numbers each - randomly distributed from 1-9 - and a toss up trivia question is asked to see who gains control. The winning contestant can either roll or pass.

If they roll, they rolled the dice and chose what numbers to take off the board based on the sum of the dice. For instance, if they rolled a 7, they could take off the 7, or 1-6, or 2-5, or 3-4, or 1-2-4, etc. Then another question was asked.

Later in the game, as the numbers whittled away, it was more advantageous to pass the dice to your oppornent. If the last numbers was "9" - good luck, Mr. Opponent! (Unless the opponent is Mike Dietrich). If you rolled and could not take off any numbers, you lose the game. Two wins out of the 3 and the contestant went to the bonus round.

The table and dice used for the game? Well, it looks simply like a big 1970s dining room table. The set looks like it is in a formal room. Pure late 70s/early 80s gaudiness. And the dice! At least 8" a side - just huge! Like the dice hanging from rear view windows in cars at the time. (boy, was I obsessed with those when I was 6 or 7. One of my friends had a big sister who drove - and she had those fuzzy dice - holy shit! She was my idol. I forgot her name, however. She may still be here in Cincinnati. )

Seems simple - and it is! A couple of wrinkles: each column had a nice prize (a trip, Amana washer/dryer, etc.), and if you cleared a column, you win that prize. This tried to force more people to roll rather than always pass.
Also - doubles! Doubles gave you an insurance marker .... a "free roll". Just like monopoly. This crystal-like plaque is handed to you to keep for the round; this is a much classier "hall pass" than those cheap coasters handed out on Wheel of Fortune.

The bonus game is simply the playing of "Shut the Box" for $10,000! Of course, the numbers were all lit up on the main stage - the 5-foot high numbers went dark as they were taken off one by one.  There is an episode of the bonus game where the only number left was "2" - and he rolled snake eyes to win!

Our host for the game.... Alex Trebek! Yes! Why isn't he given more credit as a staple of American television? This game started with Trebek as a host in 1974...this means he has been around our life on TV for 40 + years. This is Dick Clark territory here! How come he never gets the credit for this?

How could I not love this game? I remember watching this - vaguely - and practicing at home with any dice I could find. I quickly found out that winning the bonus game was impossible. Try it sometime! It's not easy. This made me even more determined to "win" at it. The show went off the air in 1981 (it made a brief return in 1986 with Wink Martindale) - but I never forgot it. - the dice, the graphics, and the table.

Rolling dice is now our quarterback situation. I feel like the only numbers on the board are a "1" and a "2" ... good luck, Cleveland! Find a quarterback! Contestant 1 is the alcoholic liar, Johnny; Contestant 2 is Austin Davis, a 4 years journeyman who we signed to a 2 year contract earlier this season! Is he the answer? Who knows...

On to the games, quickly:

Hou 23, Buf 17. Love how Houston's D is playing, and Buffalo's offense is shaky.

Chi 24, SF 20. I think the bears are overrated; they beat a bad Packers team last week. I like San Fran to keep it close here.

Mia 20, Bal 17. Bal still has pride, and I'm not sure if the Dolphins do.

Min 23, Sea 20. Tricky game, as the weaknesses/strengths here don't match up well on either side.

NYG 27, NYJ 24. Love Coughlin here as I think the Giants are going to be motivated to answer the bell.

Az 27, StL 13. Just can't see how the 3rd stringer of the Rams can put up enough points.

TB 30, Atl 17. Ryan does not play well outdoors, and Atl's defense is porous enough for Wnston to take advantage.

Ten 24, Jax 17. Jax will have a letdown here; they let their season slip away with that loss to the Chargers last week.

KC 24, Oak 20. Seems like a trap; can you always depend on an Andy Reid team to come through?

Den 20, SD 10. How will the Chargers score here against the dominating defense of Denver?

NO 30, Car 23. Just a feeling - one last hurrah for the Saints at home. Yes, I think I am desperate here.

NE 27, Phi 17. I don;t think the Pats will move the ball well without Gronk; and we know Philly's problems on O.

Pit 26, Ind 23. Ind's defense is playing better. This may be closer than we think.

Was 23, Dal 13. How will Dallas score? Washington is a good home team.

Best bets: 16 of them. Last week: 5-7; overall: 84-73-6
Hou +3
SF +7
Bal/Min under 42.5
Min +2
NYG +2.5
NYG/NYJ over 46.5
Az -4
TB -1
Ten -2
Den -3.5
Den/SD under 43.5
NO +6.5
Phi/NE under 49
Ind +7.5
Was -3.5

Supercontest: Last week: 1-4. Overall: 29-30-4. Below 500 now! Ugh!
SF +7
Hou +3.5
TB -1
NYG +2.5
Was -4.5

Nov 29, 2015

NFL Week 12: Super Password

"It's Password......

It's Super Password!"

Password was a hit game show in the 60s and 70s that it came back in two forms in the 1980s! We are going with the later revival, hosted by Bert Convy from 1984-1989, which captured all the fashions and style of the 1980s.

The original Password was hosted by Allen Ludden and was a big hit on network TV due to its simplicity. A contestant-celebrity pair made up a team; one of them was the "giver" and one was the "receiver". The giver tried to make the receiver say the "password" by giving one word clues. In the original version, points were given in accordance to the number of times a clue was given....

The new versions of the show tried to make it a bit more complex and add a bonus round. In these versions, each password was a clue to a puzzle - and after each clue, the contestant given the opportunity to solve the master puzzle.

Here's an example: the first password was "Youthful" , the second was "practical" - and the answer to the master puzzle was "Dick Clark".

Three or four puzzles were played of varying value ($100-$400) to hit the number needed to win the game - usually, it was about $500. The winner got to play the bonus round - Alphabetics! This was simply - the team needed to get 10 words in 60 seconds; the words were in alphabetical order, starting with a letter and continuing in consecutive order...... for example, 10 words starting with "A" and going to "J". The bonus prize started at $5,000 and went up $5,000 every time someone did not win.

Alphabetics was always fun to watch, especially if the letters chosen were "Q", "Z", "U" or something. How many words were appropriate for Password with these letters? For U - it was always Ukelele or Unicycle. For X - obviously Xylophone. For Q? Quail, Quintuplet and maybe Quarter. Those were the staple words that always appeared.

(and yes, that is Richard Simmons as the celebrity in that photo).

In this version, they tried to add a few surprises - like the Ca$hword. The Cashword was given to the leading contestant in the middle of the game; a difficult word was chosen and the celebrity had three chances to give a clue to have the contestant say it. The words were hard, and not words you can easily guess while high on cocaine.

The cashword was brought out on a device where you push individual buttons down for each clue - it was given the nickname of the "toaster" as it had the same shape. In more than one occasion, the toaster broke - the buttons couldn't be pressed down, and it had a reputation of being clumsy. Betty White finally busted the toaster in a late episode.

Allen Ludden - the original Password host from the 60s - hosted the first re-launch of Password (Password Plus) in 1978; that show had a more serious vibe about it as an actual competition. The mid-80s version was hosted by Bert Convy. He bought a much more lighter attitude to the show, making it more entertaining and less about the competition. Bert was the owner of several bloopers (where he would accidentally give the clue) and the guest starts seemed to be given more leeway to shine. This probably was the right direction for the show, and that was the direction of TV at the time - toward more entertainment and less of the competition. Maybe it foreshadowed the rise of the daytime talk shows in the 90s.

For me, this show acted as filler and ear candy. It's a nice show, nice to have on in the background but certainly it was not appointment TV. Password is a time-tested format, but since it has been on for 30 years or so, how new/innovative can you make it? There's not too many gimmicks you can put in there to spruce it up and make it feel fresh.

Talking about filler and ear candy - that would describe the Monday night game this week. Will anyone out there really pay attention to this game? The exploits of Johnny will be used as material constantly and be overblown. There will likely not be any fantasy games riding on the MNF contest. ESPN will try to sell this as NBC sold Super Password - as a celebrity fun fest with the game being secondary. Oh gee, can't wait to watch. ....

On to the games....

Atl 24, Min 17. I think the Packers exposed the Vikings last week as a offensively limited team. Not sure how they keep up in a dome vs. a team desperate for a win.

Cin 23, Stl 13. On the face of it, this would be a mismatch, but I think there are starting to be concerns with the flow of Cincinnati's offense. They should shut down the Rams outside, however.

NO 27, Hou 23. New Orleans is off a bye with a new defensive coach. I'm not sold yet on Houston being a sudden contender; I think the Saints will pull it together to find a win here.

Ind 26, TB 23. Interesting game - is Tampa ready for prime time? Is Indy's D improved enough to stop an improved Bucs' offense?

Jax 24, SD 17. Really disappointed in the Chargers last week. Have they mailed it in? Playing an east coast 1 pm game against a Jags team that suddenly has something to play for. What is the mind state of San Diego right now, with the move looming?

KC 23, Buf 16. How does Buffalo move the ball against the Chiefs? How do the Chiefs fare against a team that actually tries to win and doesn't lay down? Fascinating game.

NYJ 27, Mia 13. The Jets are desperate for a win and they have the Dolphins' number. They have more talent on both sides of the ball, and I'm still not sold on Miami's offense.

Oak 24, Ten 20. Tennessee off of 10 days rest, but still have lots of injuries in the secondary. Oakland has laid an egg in 2 straight games...not sure what's going to happen here.

Was 27, NYG 24. I think Washington is a solid middle of the pack team, and will always be competitive; they can take advantage of the Giants secondary.

Az 31, SF 14. Yes, this could be a possible let down for the Cardinals, but the Niners just have no weapons against a solid defense like the Cardinals.

Pit 30, Sea 20. Seattle is still a fraud, and the Steelers need this game ...and Pittsburgh have the weapons to take advantage of the secondary issues in Seattle. A win over the Niners does not mean the Seahawks are back, people.....

NE 27, Den 20. Trying to see how Osweiller outsmarts Belicheck here....I'm sure Bill will have something for the young QB. Denver's defense is good, but I don't think Brady will have too much trouble moving the ball.

Best bets: 12 of them. Last week: 3-7-2; overall: 79-66-6

Atl -2.5
StL/Cin under 42 1/2
NO +3
Jax -5
NYJ -4
Oak -1
Was +2
NYG/Was over 47
Az -9.5
Pit +3.5
Pit/Sea over 45 1/2
NE -2.5

Supercontest picks: 1-4 last week; overall: 28-26-1. Ugh.
Atl pk
NO +3
Jax -4
NYJ -3.5
Pit +3.5