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Cook’s 2021 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 11

Cook’s better record looks as bad as the Jets record this year. Our main man may have just had his hopes for a positive record dashed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to make some money! Plus you could always just bet against him like I suggested a few weeks ago…

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It’s Week 11 in the National Football League! Last week at this time, we had a little hope. Your humble correspondent had managed a winning record during a week where a lot of crazy stuff happened, and the road to .500 & beyond was starting to look feasible. Then Week 10 happened, and just when I thought I had hit rock bottom, I found a level below that.

This has been a good learning experience for me. It’s taught me how far below I’m at compared to actual NFL experts. I feel that most fans could benefit from such an experience. Y’all go ahead and try to pick games, and you’ll be at a level near mine. It’s so ridiculous.

I wish I had something better to say about my picks, but I don’t. So let’s hook em up!

Thursday, November 18

New England (-7) at Atlanta

The Patriots are on a four game winning streak, and three of them would be classified as blowouts. They’re a half-game behind those Buffalo Bills, but heading to Atlanta on a short week against a Falcons team that got humiliated in Dallas. The good news for the Falcons is that they didn’t wear themselves out too much in the second half of that game. The bad news: the Patriots are rolling.

Sunday, November 21

Detroit at Cleveland (-10)

There’s one main question we need the answer to here: Is Nick Chubb playing? We’re not certain of that at this moment. We are certain Kareem Hunt won’t play, and we’re also certain that the Browns offense isn’t doing a lot without either man. Say what you will about the Lions, but a lot of their games have been closer than one would expect. I expect this to be one of those games.

San Francisco (-6.5) at Jacksonville

I declared the 49ers dead last week, so of course they stomped all over the Rams on Monday night. Of course their schedule opens up pretty nicely for a stretch run. If there’s one thing we’ve established so far this year it’s that I usually don’t know what I’m talking about.

I’m still pretty sure the Jaguars are bad though, so go with the 49ers.

Indianapolis at Buffalo (-7)

The Colts’ strength has been the running game, as anybody that’s been forced to use Carson Wentz on their fantasy football team can tell you. The Bills boast one of the best rush defenses in the NFL, so much of the Colts’ hopes will rest with Wentz. Relying on the passing game in Buffalo in November isn’t the best route to success. I see the Bills taking care of business here.

Miami (-3) at NY Jets

It’s tough to trust the Dolphins on the road, but it’s the Jets & Joe Flacco. If the Dolphins can make Lamar Jackson look human, surely they can keep Joe Flacco from getting a whole heck of a lot done.

Washington vs. Carolina (-3.5)

Killa Cam is back, and Panthers fans couldn’t be happier. Heck, we’re all pretty happy about it. Cam Newton in a Panthers uniform just looks right. His homecoming this week should be something else, and it’ll be a tough environment for a Washington Football Team that had lost four straight before beating the Buccaneers last week in one of those results that makes one scratch their head.

We’ll ride the emotion this week and go with the Panthers to get the win here & give the fans more hope about what Newton can do in a late-career renaissance. We’ll ignore the fact that he didn’t actually start his first game back for now and enjoy the atmosphere.

Baltimore (-5) at Chicago

The Ravens haven’t looked right since that demolition of the Chargers back in Week 7. A narrow victory over the Vikings has been sandwiched by two butt-kickings by the Bengals & Dolphins. Neither of whom were expected to do such things. The Bears are coming off of a bye week after arguably getting hosed by the officials in Pittsburgh back in Week 9. Defense is their strength, and they should be able to do enough to at least keep the Bears close in this one.

New Orleans at Philadelphia (-1.5)

It’s been a tough stretch for the Saints, with two narrow losses after wins over the Seahawks & the Bucs supposedly put them on the map. They need to score a win here to keep the spiral from getting too downward. The NFC South is pretty close though, so they’re not in as big a pinch as the Eagles are. Philly is 4-6 & looking up at a 7-2 Cowboys team that doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. They also haven’t won a home game since December 13, 2021. The team they beat then? The New Orleans Saints.

I think Jalen Hurts gets it done and the Eagles stay in contention.

Houston at Tennessee (-10)

What arguments can we make in favor of the Texans? They’re coming off of a bye. Derrick Henry still isn’t playing. That’s all I got. Houston has only come within one score twice in eight weeks, and the Titans have beat a good number of the teams making mincemeat of the Texans. Maybe there’s a surprise in store for the Titans here, but I don’t see it.

Green Bay (-2.5) at Minnesota

Another thing we already know: this game’s going down to the wire. All Vikings games do, it’s just a fact of life. I know we make the joke every week, but only one Vikings game has been decided by more than one touchdown. If you like watching competitive football, this is the team to watch. The Packers have been on a pretty good roll since Week 2 (not counting the game Aaron Rodgers missed, of course), and I tend to side with them in divisional games. And in most games, to be honest.

Cincinnati (-1) at Las Vegas

People tell me that a bye week is supposed to give a football team a chance to rest & recover so they can come back strong for the rest of the season. As a Cincinnati Bengals fan, I see the bye week as a chance for a football team to mess around and not prepare for their next opponent, as that’s what the Bengals do. A really good way to prove that things have actually changed with Zac Taylor at the helm would be for this team to actually get their poop together & win in Las Vegas.

These teams are in oddly similar positions. The Bengals went to New Jersey and lost to the injury-riddled Jets, then went home to get blown out by the Browns, a bitter division rival. The Raiders went to New Jersey and lost to the injury-riddled Giants, then went home to get blown out by the Chiefs, a bitter division rival. They’re both at 5-4 and could really use a win here to stay in the thick of the playoff chase. I assume the Raiders will win this because the Bengals typically don’t win in these spots. Should the Bengals actually win, the odds of me getting drunk and tweeting embarrassing things at Leigh Mayock are pretty high. (Hell, I’ll probably be doing that either way.)

Arizona (-2.5) at Seattle

The Colt McCoy Era looked pretty good for one week, then came crashing back to reality. Then he got hurt and the Cardinals were stuck with Chris Streveler. Kyler Murray seems to be getting closer to returning, but the conventional wisdom is that Arizona will wait until after their Week 12 bye to bring him back. That would be smart. Especially since it’s going to be cold & rainy in Seattle, and Murray would just end up laying an egg anyway. Like Russell Wilson did last week in Green Bay.

This one’s going to be a low-scoring win for the Seahawks, leading into everybody writing off the Cardinals.

Dallas at Kansas City (-2.5)

“Most anticipated regular season game of the season” seems like a stretch when we treated Brady vs. Belichick like it was the Super Bowl. You’ve got two pretty popular sides here though, and both seem to be on an upward trajectory. We think. Dallas is showing those yo-yo tendencies while Kansas City’s offense finally started looking like itself last weekend against the Raiders. In any event, it’s Patrick Mahomes vs. the Cowboys, and Fox is going to get a pretty huge rating for it.

Dak Prescott apparently needed a week to warm up, along with an inferior defense to take advantage of. He’s got another one of those this week. I think the Cowboys defense has a better chance of making a stop against Kansas City, which seems impossible to believe unless you’ve seen the Chiefs defense.

Pittsburgh at LA Chargers (-5.5)

Theoretically this seemed like a pretty good choice for SUNDAY NIGHT IS FOOTBALL NIGHT. Shame everybody’s injured and both teams are coming off of embarrassing showings against NFC North teams. Pittsburgh is especially lacking in star talent on the offensive & defensive sides of the ball this week, so the Chargers look to be the pick here.

Monday, November 22

NY Giants at Tampa Bay (-11)

You know everybody’s jumping on the Tom Brady is PISSED OFF bandwagon. The only problem with that is that I cited Tom Brady being PISSED OFF last week, and he went out there and lost to the Washington Football Team. Does it take longer to get mad when you get older? Given my experience with old people, I kinda doubt it.

That being said, the Buccaneers are 3-0 when favored by double-digits at home. They’ll probably win here, the question is if the defense can keep the Giants from getting too close. It largely depends on whether or not Saquon Barkley is playing or not. As I type this, it looks good for him. That might change, but until then I’m going to roll with the Giants to get within 11.

Last Week’s Results: 2-12

Overall Results: 63-84-3


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NFL

Cook: Super Bowl LVI Final Thoughts

The Super Bowl worked for Cook’s betting picks, but not his fandom. He unfurls some feelings and thoughts about the Super Bowl, and the season that was.

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As a fan of the team that lost Super Bowl LVI, I should probably feel disappointed. Distressed. Discouraged. Disgruntled. Disenchanted. Despondent. Disconcerted. Dissatisfied. Depressed. Dejected. Despondent. Down. Downcast. Downhearted. Lots of D words, basically.

Don’t get me wrong. A sports fan’s favorite team losing any type of game comes with a bit of a sting. You want your team to win. Even those mid-September baseball games where your team has already been mathematically eliminated come with a little sting upon defeat. So yeah, I won’t deny that the Bengals coming up a little short at the end of the game stung a bit. It wasn’t the optimal result.

With that being said…I’m not disappointed or distressed or discouraged or disgruntled or disenchanted or any of those other D words I mentioned earlier. There were plenty of Bengals seasons that left me in that state of mind. Most of the pre-Marvin Lewis seasons. A lot of those Marvin Lewis seasons did, even the ones where they made the playoffs.

The 2021 version of the Cincinnati Bengals gave me nothing to be ashamed of. There were certainly some ups & downs in the regular season, but we all know that the postseason is what matters in football & every other sport. The postseason was the downfall of the Marvin Lewis Era of the Bengals. They could make it there. They just couldn’t win a game. Against anybody. I’m pretty sure I could have found 22 people on the street and beat the Marvin Lewis Bengals in a postseason game.

These Bengals made us forget about the past. Three decades of not winning in the playoffs came to an end. They were favored against the Raiders, but not really favored because they were the Bengals. It was a big hump for fans to get over. I was more gobsmacked after that win than what followed.

I could barely even text people afterward. It was unreal. Once that happened, things got more real. There was this Tennessee Titans team that was the #1 seed but was doubted because of their quarterback and injuries that happened but still got the #1 seed. (Those fans are still very bitter towards Bengal folks, btw.) The Titans even sacked Joe Burrow 9 times and still managed to lose because their offense couldn’t take advantage. But their coach won an award so everything’s ok.

The Chiefs, now there’s a beast I still can’t believe the Bengals managed to beat twice somehow. They’re cutthroat sumbitches just like Dustin James, and have the best quarterback of modern times in Patrick Mahomes. We know they’ll be one of the top teams in the AFC for years to come. Beating them in Week 17 in Cincinnati was one thing. Beating them in the AFC Championship Game in Arrowhead Stadium? Another thing entirely. Crazy stuff, unimaginable before it happened.

The Super Bowl didn’t end well, obviously. There were still moments that Bengals fans wouldn’t have believed before they happened. Joe Mixon throwing a touchdown pass, for one. The experts expected the Rams to blow the Bengals out of the water, and that isn’t quite what happened.

So what did happen?

The Rams’ stars rose to the top, as cream always does eventually. The Bengals could keep Cooper Kupp & Aaron Donald down for so long. You can’t keep the cream down forever. The Bengals’ offensive line could hold the Rams back for 2.5 quarters. They hit a wall eventually. The Rams ran out of weapons other than Cooper Kupp. Odell Beckham had a good game early, got hurt. Kupp was their last option after that, and the Bengals could shut him down for a minute, but not forever. When it was the end of the game and time for stars to step up to the plate, Cooper Kupp got the ball. You have to tip your hat to him.

The Bengals didn’t capitalize off of certain opportunities. As much as we love Evan McPherson, an extra touchdown instead of a field goal would have helped. That early 4th down call that led to a Rams touchdown didn’t help. Why was Samaje Perine in & having the ball directed towards him during the last two Bengals offensive plays of the game instead of Joe Mixon?

Maybe we’ll understand someday. Maybe we won’t. At the end of the day, the result is the same. The loss hurts, but seasons have come to an end in much bitter fashion. The future is still bright. The Cincinnati Bengals may not have shed all of their stereotypes, but few can deny that this isn’t a different team than previous versions. Joe Burrow is still with us, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Ja’Marr Chase is pretty good, along with Tee Higgins. The main thing the Bengals need? Offensive line, which this upcoming draft seems to have a deep pool of.

No, I’m not any of those D words. I’m optimistic about the future of the Cincinnati Bengals. The main thing that worries me? Given how fleeting existence on this mortal coil seems to be these days, I just hope to be around to see that moment where the Bengals finally shut the mouths of those critics. If only for a moment. Critics will always critic, as I well know being one myself.

Who Dey.


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Cook’s 2021-22 NFL Gambling Picks: Super Bowl LVI

Get some of your Gambling Pick insights for the Super Bowl! Cook’s heart may be with the Bengals, but where is his money?

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Hi, hello & welcome to Super Bowl LVI speculation! I’m Steve Cook, and I’m in a bit of an unfamiliar position here. In years past when I’ve done Super Bowl predictions & projections, I haven’t had any skin in the game. My Cincinnati Bengals are typically done for the season long before early February hits. Usually, I’m watching the Super Bowl as an impartial observer that doesn’t really care which team wins. This year, I have some interest.

Before we make the official Super Bowl LVI Against The Spread pick, we’ll look at some of the prop bets. Nothing in the world has more prop bets than the Super Bowl. Most of them are pretty ridiculous. I mean, we’re really betting on whether singers are going to show some cleavage? (Take “Yes” on that one, LA’s going to have some record heat on Sunday.)

Odds via BetOnlineVegas Insider!

Super Bowl MVP:

  • Matthew Stafford: +115
  • Joe Burrow: +225
  • Cooper Kupp: +600
  • Ja’Marr Chase: +1600
  • Aaron Donald: +1600
  • Joe Mixon: +2500
  • Odell Beckham Jr.: +2500
  • Cam Akers: +3000
  • Tee Higgins: +5000
  • Von Miller: +5000
  • Sony Michel: 6600
  • All others: +10000 or above

We all know that quarterbacks are the most likely Super Bowl MVPs, so Stafford & Burrow are the most likely to win it. As far as a less likely option goes? If Jalen Ramsey (+10000) shuts down Ja’Marr Chase and gets an INT in the process? He’d be my pick, and the best pick to get some money on. Von Miller might be a good pick at (+5000) since the voters know who he is.

Will the Super Bowl field goal record of 54 yards be broken?

  • No: -320
  • Yes: +210

Evan McPherson has made four field goals in each of the Bengals’ playoff games. This includes three over fifty yards. His longest field goal during the regular season was 58 yards. It’s definitely within the realm of possibility for him to get it done, so throw some money on Yes.

Largest Lead

  • Over 14.5 (+100)
  • Under 14.5 (-130)

You might think this will be a close game, and it could end up being one. But we’ve seen both the Bengals & Rams come back from double digit deficits during the playoffs. We’ve also seen the Bengals & the Rams have double digit leads, only for their opponents to manage to tie the game. So it wouldn’t surprise me at all if one of these teams got out to a big lead, only to see their opponent come back. Take the over.

Overtime Odds

  • Yes (+950)
  • No (-2000)

We’ve only had two overtime games in these playoffs, both involving the Kansas City Chiefs. One of them also involved the Bengals, so Yes might be worth throwing a few bucks on just in case it happens.

Over/Under: 48.5

I’m liking the under here. We’re talking about two teams without a ton of Super Bowl experience. Will the moment get too big for some of these players? Maybe playing at home helps the Rams like it helped the Bucs last year, but it’s still the Super Bowl.

Sunday, February 13

LA Rams (-4) vs. Cincinnati

The best argument for the Bengals just might be their inexperience. They’re the youngest team on average in Super Bowl history. They don’t know what they don’t know, which can be an advantage in big situations. Of course, Joe Burrow has plenty of experience leading teams in big situations, as we saw him lead LSU to a National Championship just before the pandemic started. His coolness has been a large part of the Bengals’ success so far, no matter what happens he doesn’t seem to get rattled. Of course, if there’s a time where something like that could happen, it might be one’s first Super Bowl.

The Rams defense worries me, as a Bengals fan. They have a couple of top-notch pass rushers in Aaron Donald & Von Miller. Tough to find faults in their games, and everybody else can capitalize off of being unnoticed. Joe Burrow might not mind being blitzed, but we all know that the main Bengals weakness is their offensive line.

Then the Rams have Jalen Ramsey working the cornerback position. He’ll have a lot of receivers to keep track of, but I feel like Ramsey Island is something for the Bengals offense to worry about, like Revis Island back in the day. If Ramsey can shut down Ja’Marr Chase, then Tee Higgins or Tyler Boyd need to take advantage. Maybe they can, but here’s the difference: I don’t doubt that Cooper Kupp or Odell Beckham can take advantage off of whoever’s covered. The Bengals just don’t have that secondary depth.

If the Rams can get the same pressure on Joe Burrow that the Titans did, there’s no reason they shouldn’t win this game by at least a touchdown.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy Super Bowl LVI!


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