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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: 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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