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Cook’s 2021 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 12

Cook had a better week last week, but still not great. Thanksgiving seems to be similar; but a few winning picks can change rough games! Give the spread a look!

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Hi, hello & welcome to Week 12 of the National Football League! It’s Thanksgiving, so we’re getting three big games on Thursday along with the usual Sunday/Monday fare. It’s also a very interesting week schedule-wise, as the slate is littered with games featuring teams in playoff contention. The flip side of that: there’s also a ton of games with bad teams going against each other. These games either look awesome or terrible, there’s no middle ground.

Before we get started, I must wish the people a Happy Thanksgiving. One of the main things I’m thankful for: the people that have stuck with me through what hasn’t been one of my best overall years content-wise. One look at my picks record at the bottom of the column will tell you how this particular experiment is going. I appreciate you all for hanging on this ride, even though jumping off might be the easier thing to do.

Lines provided by Vegas Insider

Thursday, November 25

Chicago (-3) at Detroit

Ah yes, it’s that time again. Every single year, NFL fans join together at Thanksgiving in a display of unity that’s rarely seen in this day & age. We disagree on pretty much everything, but there are a few things that most Americans can still agree on. One of them is our annual dismay over being forced to sit through a Detroit Lions game on Thanksgiving. Nothing against the Lions personally, it’s just that they’re almost never good. It’s more often that they’re awful, and this is one of those awful years for the Lions. Their opponent, the Bears, seem on the verge of firing their head coach no matter what happens in this game. Smell the excitement!

If you must gamble on this thing, go ahead and pick the Lions. The Lions are the worse team here, but at least we know they’ll be trying. The Bears have a lame duck coach and winning by a large amount of points would just make things complicated.

Las Vegas at Dallas (-7.5)

The Raiders are heading down the tubes, which doesn’t come as a surprise considering everything that’s happened in Las Vegas this season. There’s only so much a team can handle before going off the rails, and the Raiders have gone through much more than their limit. Dallas needs a win since the Eagles & Washingtons are starting to look like they might contend for that division title. If the Cowboys keep messing around like they’ve been doing, they won’t like the results.

Buffalo (-6.5) at New Orleans

Gonna be an emotional night for Saints fans as they get to honor their franchise’s GOAT. If they’re not crying over that, they might be crying over the state of their team. Alvin Kamara won’t be playing, Mark Ingram is questionable, Trevor Siemian is still the quarterback…we’re going with the Bills here due to the Saints’ myriad of issues.

Sunday, November 28

Tennessee at New England (-7)

The Titans are near the top of everybody’s NFL Power Rankings, yet they’re rolling into Foxboro as the decided underdogs. It’s easy to see why: The Patriots are looking like the Patriots again. We all knew it was coming, there was no chance in hell that Bill Belichick’s guys were going to be mediocre forever. Now they’re great again, and we figure they will beat everybody.

It’s also tempting to pick against the Titans because they somehow lost to the Texans last week. I think they rebound this week, and at least beat the spread.

NY Jets at Houston (-2.5)

The sad thing is this isn’t even the worst game of the week. The Texans might be able to pull something together for at least one more week.

Philadelphia (-3.5) at NY Giants

Two teams headed in opposite directions here. The Eagles seem to be making a run towards playoff contention, and will keep that going against a Giants team that seems headed towards big changes this off-season. What they’ve been doing hasn’t been cutting it.

Tampa Bay (-3) at Indianapolis

I was concerned about Jonathan Taylor’s matchup against a stout Bills rushing defense last week. I’m not concerned about Jonathan Taylor’s matchup against anybody now. I still like the Buccaneers here because Tom Brady does pretty well in Indianapolis.

Atlanta (-2.5) at Jacksonville

I told you we had some rough games on the docket this weekend. I guess take the Jaguars at home as a dog? Maybe? I dunno man, both these teams stink out loud.

Carolina (-2) at Miami

Cam Newton looked good in his comeback, but not good enough to lead the Panthers over the Washington Football Team. I think the Dolphins win here and continue sneaking their way into playoff contention by virtue of defeating miserable teams. Not their fault, they didn’t make the schedule.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (-4.5)

I know how this movie ends. A dominant showing for the Steelers that sends them up the rankings & the Bengals back to their customary spot at the bottom. I’ve seen this play out too many times, and as much as I’d like to think things could change with a new cast of characters, I doubt it.

LA Chargers (-2.5) at Denver

I don’t know how the Broncos are still in the playoff hunt, but it’s a thing that’s going on. They got a couple of tough weeks coming up, and this is part one. Justin Herbert & Austin Ekeler should be able to get things done for the Chargers in Denver.

Minnesota at San Francisco (-3)

You know we have to pick the Vikings as an underdog no matter what the number is. They always keep it close, and this week will be no exception even if Jimmy G is revitalizing his career with his recent play.

LA Rams (-1) at Green Bay

I’m supposed to pick a an LA team on the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field in late November? What am I, insane? Have I been taking some of that medicine Aaron Rodgers recommends? I have not, so I’m picking the Packers. A loss in Minnesota is just what that team needs to get their heads right for the last part of the regular season.

Cleveland at Baltimore (-3.5)

Lamar Jackson is over his illness, and Hollywood Brown seems to be on his way back too. On the Browns side of things, Kareem Hunt might be back this week. That would help a great deal, but Baker Mayfield is still held together by duct tape & spit. The Ravens defend their home turf.

Monday, November 29

Seattle at Washington (-1.5)

It’s probably time for all of us to admit that the Seattle Seahawks just aren’t any good. You guys probably realized that before me, to be fair. I kept buying in because of the whole Russell Wilson thing and the fact that they usually end up figuring things out, but it’s time to face facts. Seattle isn’t good. The Football Team is at least feisty, and should be able to take care of business at home.

Week 11 Results: 6-9

Overall Results: 69-93-3


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Cook’s 2021-22 NFL Gambling Picks: Super Wild Card Weekend

Much like the Steelers, Cook has a mediocre at best season and yet finds himself in the Playoffs! How close are his picks? Who’s calling the money line? Do Chiefs win by 50?

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Hi, hello & welcome to Super Wild Card Weekend! We’ve managed to add two extra games to this round, and one of them is going to be on Monday night. I’m sure whoever wins won’t complain when they get a short week against their opponent in the Divisional Round. At this point in the season, complaining is somewhat limited as long as you’re still playing.

Yep, I’m still playing too. Even though the regular season didn’t go as hoped, nobody from The Chairshot told me to gather my belongings. You might have expected to see me out on the street with Joe Judge, Matt Nagy and the rest, but I’m still here doing my thing. Let’s get to it. Odds are from Vegas Insider.

Saturday, January 15

Las Vegas at Cincinnati (-5.5)

I’m not here to make excuses for my poor regular season performance. However, I can’t help but feel that my constantly picking against my favorite team in an attempt to get some good mojo going had a bit of an effect on things. Again, not making excuses, I should have been able to make up more points on other games. It’s an aspect of the strategy that we’ll have to analyze during the off-season.

In any event, the Bengals are coming full-circle here. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard at some point about the 31-year playoff losing streak they’re on. You’ve also heard about how the first loss came to the Los Angeles Raiders in a game where Bo Jackson suffered a career-ending hip injury. It’s one of those memories from the good ol’ days that I can’t forget. Cincinnati sports media is telling us to forget all about the Curse of Bo Jackson, or Carson Palmer’s knee, or any other of the calamities that have be-fallen the Bengals during this stretch. Now that Joe Burrow is the quarterback, things are different.

Hey, I hope they’re right! If anybody seems to have the stuff necessary to get this franchise over the hump, it’s Burrow. His calmness combined with a lack of time for failure & ability to connect with everybody in the room has made him a great leader. Along with his superior football-playing ability, of course. Burrow’s got everybody to buy in, so much so that the Bengals are the favorites in a playoff game a year after winning four games and two years after winning two games. Pretty heady stuff.

Of course you know I’m picking the Raiders, so let’s touch on them for a minute. As much as nobody believed in the Bengals up to this point, nobody believed in the Raiders either. The fact they’ve made it this far is downright astounding with everything they’ve been through this season. It’s a nice story. I wish it wasn’t going up against my Bengals, but such is life. A brief glance at their Week 11 meeting shows a 19-point victory for the Bengals, but it was much closer than that. The Raiders were only down 16-13 early in the fourth quarter. The Raiders shut down the Bengals for the first half, shutting down their passing game & running game by creating pressure. The Bengals eventually got the advantage by sticking with the strategy of running Joe Mixon down Vegas’s throats, and he wore them down. Burrow only threw for 148 yards & a touchdown in that game. If Vegas can keep him closer to those numbers than the video game numbers he posted against Baltimore & Kansas City, they should be able to go into Paul Brown Stadium and come out with a win.

Everybody will tell you that nobody picked the Raiders, but you’ll know better.

New England at Buffalo (-4)

I had the opportunity to work at this game, at least until the trip got cancelled. Doing anything in those types of temperatures doesn’t sound like a good time to me, and throwing the ball deep probably won’t be fun either. I’m with Mina Kimes on the whole “Buffalo should build a dome” thing. Bills fans would hate it because they love being miserable, but Josh Allen and that Bills offense would be darn near unstoppable. Ain’t like Buffalo’s ownership is lacking for money, right? Forbes (a trustworthy publication if I’ve ever heard of one) says that Terry Pegula’s wealth has grown by $2 billion in the past two years. Why not use it to build a dome?

The Bills do seem to be getting things together, riding a four game winning streak into the playoffs. Three of those games were at home, the other one was in New England where they beat the Patriots by twelve. Doesn’t bode particularly well for Coach Belichick, does it? The Patriots are ahead of schedule anyway, so there’s no reason to worry about them. The Bills should be able to win by a touchdown.

Sunday, January 16

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay (-8.5)

I don’t think I’ve seen an Eagles game this season. I can’t name any Eagles other than Jalen Hurts & the Reagor wide receiver guy that Eagles fans spend all their time complaining about. Heck, since Doug Pederson left I can’t even name Philly’s head coach. This might be the quietest team to make the playoffs, which makes them dangerous when you think about it.

There isn’t anything quiet about the Buccaneers. Everything they do is live & in public for the whole world to see. Theoretically, there are distractions out the yin yang. This would affect most NFL teams, but I don’t think the Buccaneers are one of those teams that get easily distracted. They’re either uber-focused like Tom Brady, or in that place where distractions don’t matter, like Rob Gronkowski.

You know full well that we don’t bet against Tom Brady, especially in the playoffs. However, if you’re going to give me the Eagles at 8.5 points…we can make that work. Especially since Tampa’s pretty banged up.

San Francisco at Dallas (-3)

Yep, this is the playoff football I grew up on. The early to mid 1990s NFC was all about 49ers vs. Cowboys. Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, the names went on and on. With the Bengals winning three games every year, the Cowboys were a fun team to watch as a bandwagon fan. It was also pretty easy to root against the 49ers, their defeating the Bengals in two Super Bowls during the 1980s was fresh in everybody’s minds. Of course these teams had some notable meetings before I was born. Something about a catch? Even if these franchises haven’t attained that success in recent years, this matchup still means something to people of a certain age.

It’ll mean something to the kids too, since this is the Nickelodeon game and will have slime & Spongebob and all sorts of good times. As for who will have good times on the field, it’s tough to bet against the 49ers right now. They’re one of the hottest teams in the league with Deebo Samuel making big plays, the running game looking good & the defensive line shutting people down. Dallas hasn’t looked as good of late, though they were pretty solid against the Eagles B team. At the end of the day, the Cowboys still strike me as a team that comes up short in big situations, and I think they’ll come up short here.

Pittsburgh at Kansas City (-12.5)

These teams just met in Week 16, and the Chiefs beat the Steelers 36-10 in a game that really wasn’t that close. What’s happened since then to make things different?

-The Steelers won their next two games over division rivals, making their way into the playoffs with some help from their friends in Jacksonville. They didn’t look overly impressive in either game, but did enough to win.
-The Chiefs narrowly lost to the Bengals, then narrowly defeated the Broncos. Two games that could have easily gone either way with one or two plays going the opposite direction. They didn’t look like the Chiefs we saw locked while they were blowing out the Raiders & Steelers.

Add in the fact this is a postseason game and there’s no way the Steelers are getting blown out this time. Mind you, this is another one where I would love to be wrong. I’ll be rooting for the Chiefs to send Pittsburgh out of the playoffs & Ben Roethlisberger home for good, and there’s a better than 50% chance they’ll do just that. It’s gonna be closer than people think.

Monday, January 17

Arizona at LA Rams (-4)

Two teams that have been on different trajectories of late. The Cardinals lost four out of their last five games while the Rams had been on a five game winning streak before losing to San Francisco. The road team has won each of these games, so either you think that’s a trend or you think “well jeez, a home team has to win at some point”. Most of us made that mistake last week with the idea of the Colts having to win in Jacksonville at some point.

I think the Rams are going to win this game with Cooper Kupp making some type of amazing play because that’s what he does. However, it’s the playoffs, it’s prime time, and it has to be close. So take the Cardinals and the points.

Week 18 Results: 8-8

Regular Season Results: 127-141-4


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Cook’s 2021-22 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 18

Basically needing a perfect week to break even, Cook throws out one last Hail Mary for the regular season! Does he pull off a helmet catch moment or fall short like a Jeff Fisher season?

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Hi, hello & welcome to Week 18 of the National Football League! It’s the Season Finale, as we close out the regular season and get ready for the playoffs. As usual, the last week of the regular season is full of obstacles for gambling types. Some teams are resting their starters for the playoffs. Other teams have one eye on the game and another on the golf course. Then there’s the usual covid stuff going on. We’re here to guide you through the mess.

It’s been a mixed season for your humble correspondent. It’s been a great one to be a Bengals fan, as the team took the AFC North and will be hosting somebody next week. The Bengals are one of the few teams that can actually say “NOBODY BELIEVED IN US” and actually be telling the truth. Great story, now they need to win a darn playoff game. Fantasy-wise, I won one league out of four. Had better years, but have had a lot worse too.

Can’t say I’ve had a worse year making picks against the spread though. Heading into this week, there’s still a slight chance I can make it to .500 or better for the season. I just need to go 15-1 or better. SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE?

Eh, not much of one, but did we give up after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? NO! Let’s go out there and make it happen.

Saturday, January 8

Kansas City (-10) at Denver

One of these teams can score a lot of points. One of these teams can’t. A Chiefs win puts them within reach of the one seed if disaster befalls the Titans, and they’ll take care of it with ease.

Dallas (-7) at Philadelphia

The Eagles have a ton of people on the covid list at the moment, and realistically don’t have a lot to play for here anyway. They’re currently seventh and can move up to sixth if certain things break their way. As far as both conferences go, I am of the opinion that the difference between the second & third seed won’t be that much. The Cowboys could move up to the 2 seed, which would be interesting if the Eagles stayed at 7. I see the Cowboys winning here by about eight or nine points.

Sunday, January 9

Green Bay (-4) at Detroit

The Packers have clinched the 1 seed, but Aaron Rodgers has made it clear that he wants to play on Sunday. Since there’s not an ounce of drama in this game other than where the Lions end up in draft order, I’m going to take a minute to weigh in on this whole Aaron Rodgers MVP debate. Hub Arkush, Chicago based football writer, has an MVP vote and he said on a radio appearance that he’s not going to give it to Aaron Rodgers because he’s “the biggest jerk in the league”. This led to a ton of outrage from other media types, Rodgers calling Arkush a bum, and Arkush penning a lame apology taking back everything he’d ever said.

Here’s the thing, which was something I was thinking about myself before this particular debacle took place. Everybody’s telling me that Rodgers or Jonathan Taylor have to be the only candidates for MVP, with Rodgers the clear favorite. After the last couple of weeks I see some people throwing Joe Burrow’s name out there, which is pretty cool. The question I have to people who are telling me that Aaron Rodgers is the MVP, the greatest quarterback of all time and the best thing since sliced bread:

Who leads the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns?

Why, that would be forty-four year old Tom Brady. There was a time when somebody that old still playing in games would be a “nice story”, not leading the league in various statistics. Isn’t he the obvious choice for MVP considering his team has a division title and nothing to worry about this weekend in spite of all the distractions surrounding them? Sure seems like it to me. I don’t care what Rodgers did or didn’t do off the field, none of it makes him a better quarterback than Tom Brady in my eyes.

Chicago at Minnesota (-3.5)

This could be the last game for Matt Nagy & Mike Zimmer as head coaches of their respective teams, both of which had high expectations that weren’t met this season. I’m a Zimmer fan from his days in Cincinnati, but he’s had eight seasons in Minnesota and things aren’t trending in the right direction. I get it if the Vikings want to move on. Nagy’s had four seasons in Chicago and it’s been all downhill from his first season. As hyperactive as the Bears fan base can be, I can’t fault them too much for wanting a change.

That being said, I think it’d be hilarious if the Bears won here and Nagy ended up keeping his job. Come on, you gotta give a coach who wins three straight games with three different quarterbacks some credit, right?

Indianapolis (-15.5) at Jacksonville

The Colts have struggled against some bad Jaguars teams, but they’ve never played a Jaguars team this bad. I realize that the whole “haven’t won in Jacksonville since 2014” thing is a little daunting, but the streak has to end at some point. It would have last year if the Colts immediately knew what they had with Jonathan Taylor. I think they win…but somehow, the Jaguars keep it within two touchdowns. Do you believe in miracles?

Tennessee (-10) at Houston

The Texans have been looking better lately, but the Titans have too much to play for here. A victory gives them the 1 seed and a week off before joining the playoff fun. You don’t wanna mess that up, especially since it’ll give Derrick Henry an extra week to work back into his groove.

Washington (-7) at NY Giants

Joe Judge has become quite a divisive figure during his two seasons as head coach of the Giants. Fans & observers see him as a man in over his head. Players support him and seem to think things are headed in the right direction, regardless of what the scoreboard might show. In fairness, most Bengals fans weren’t too sure about Zac Taylor after his first two seasons, and now he’s one of the betting favorites for Coach of the Year. Thing is, Taylor got Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and some key acquisitions to aid his effort. Judge has Daniel Jones, who we’ve at least established isn’t Joe Burrow. The jury’s still out, but Judge will probably need more than 4-6 wins to keep going beyond 2022.

I don’t see him getting a win this week. The Giants have looked pretty awful lately, and the Football Team has at least looked competent enough to beat teams that aren’t the Cowboys or Eagles.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore (-5.5)

There is still a way for both of these teams to make the playoffs. The Steelers need to beat Baltimore, the Colts to lose to the Jags, and a Chargers/Raiders game that isn’t a tie. Not the most likely path in the road, but not impossible. The Ravens need to beat Pittsburgh, the Raiders to beat the Chargers, the Jags to beat the Colts and the Patriots to either defeat or tie Miami. Again, not impossible. So you see why they’re trying to get Lamar Jackson out there this week, as he greatly increases their chances of winning.

Could go either way, I’ll take the Steelers because it’s going to be a close one. It usually is with these two teams.

Cincinnati at Cleveland (-6)

I haven’t seen a line on a game swing like this one has. After it was announced that Baker Mayfield would be sitting out, the Bengals were 3.5 point favorites. After Joe Mixon & some other Bengals went on the covid list, and it was announced Joe Burrow wouldn’t be playing so he could rest his knee, Vegas jumped all over the Browns. One thing we do know for sure: a lot of second-stringers are going to take this game as an opportunity. They can make some big plays & get some good film out there for coaches & scouts to notice during the off-season. Matt Flynn got a heck of a lot of guaranteed money from the Seattle Seahawks out of a game similar to this one.

The Bengals are AFC North Champions. They aren’t going to beat the Browns this season. Funny how things work, isn’t it?

New England (-6.5) at Miami

I tried to give the Dolphins a little credit last week and they laid an egg against the Titans. Never again, at least not this season. Take the Patriots to handle their business while hoping the Jets can do something.

NY Jets at Buffalo (-16)

The Jets have looked better the last few weeks, but this is a bad matchup for them. The Bills will be looking to clinch the AFC East in impressive fashion, and that’s exactly what they’ll do.

Carolina at Tampa Bay (-8)

Some drama & distractions going on in Tampa, but they won’t make enough of a difference to give Carolina any kind of a chance. The Panthers are just too much of a mess. The Buccaneers will roll into the playoffs & get ready for next week.

I’ve been told I need to mention Antonio Brown here because everybody else is. I’d like to wait & see what develops before making too many rash judgments in public. Not the most popular of stances, I know, but I gotta ride the fence here. Too much that I don’t know.

New Orleans (-4.5) at Atlanta

Saints/Falcons is a pretty big rivalry, and there’s a lot on the line for New Orleans here. They need to beat the Falcons, and they need the Rams to beat the 49ers. There’s a lot on the line for Atlanta as well, as they’d love to spoil the Saints’ plans of playoff glory. I see this being a close game, so take the Falcons.

Seattle at Arizona (-6.5)

A win here and a Rams loss would give the Cardinals the NFC West title and a home game next week. Seems like plenty of motivation to me. The Seahawks will be motivated to go home and figuring out what they’re doing next season.

San Francisco at LA Rams (-4.5)

The Rams have lost five straight to the 49ers, which is good news for San Francisco considering that they need to win here to get a playoff berth. Another game that I can see going either way, and both teams have a ton on the line. Go with the 49ers and them points.

LA Chargers (-3) at Las Vegas

As funny as it would be for the Chargers & Raiders to play to a tie on purpose, I can guarantee you that it won’t happen. There isn’t enough trust between these two long-time division rivals to make it happen. Probably some hard feelings from Raiders management over the whole Los Angeles move they were going to make together that fell through. Likely some jealousy from Chargers management over being the number three team in So Cal all those years. Nah, if this thing ends up a tie it definitely won’t be on purpose.

I’d like to see the Raiders win it because it’d be a better story. We wrote them off after the Jon Gruden debacle & all the other things that have happened, but they just kept playing through it, getting big wins at important times. They need one more. They could also get in with that Colts loss we keep talking about & a Steelers loss to the Ravens. Not likely, but not impossible. The Chargers are probably the better team, but have a knack for coming up short at moments like this. Vegas has come up big in similar moments. Take the Raiders and the points.

Week 17 Results: 9-7

Overall Results: 119-133-4


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