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Cook’s 2021 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 13

Cook nearly goes .500 this past week, so are we seeing a late season run? Check out the odds and see how you agree with the picks!

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Hi, hello & welcome to Week 13 of the National Football League! It’s been a bit of an unlucky year so far with the picks, but maybe an unlucky number will help us turn things around. It’s worth a shot!

You know who doesn’t need to turn things around? The NFL! Thanksgiving ratings were through the roof, even though every team playing that day was coming off a loss. Numbers keep going up & up. There was a point recently when it felt like the league had peaked. We’re not getting that feeling anymore. Lots of young stars & interesting teams…it’s a good time to be a football fan, no doubt about it.

Thursday, December 2

Dallas (-4.5) at New Orleans

Head coaches missing games due to Covid haven’t really affected their team’s performance so far. If you ask most Cowboys fans, the team would be better off without Mike McCarthy anyway. They are getting healthier as a whole though, with Amari Cooper & CeeDee Lamb expected to be back in the lineup. On the Saints’ side of things, Taysom Hill is expected to make his first start at quarterback this season, while Alvin Kamara isn’t expected to play.

I’m liking the Cowboys to get things back on track this week. I feel like I’ve said this a few times and it hasn’t happened yet, but I’m sticking with it. They’re going to turn it around at some point, right?

Right?

Sunday, December 5

Minnesota (-7) at Detroit

Speaking of teams I just can’t give up on, the 0-10-1 Lions certainly are one of them. Obviously they aren’t good, but they have that fire in them where they won’t give up. Why I told you to bet on them against the Bears if you must, and will tell you to bet on them here against a Vikings team that only beat them by two points earlier in the season. They’ll also be missing Dalvin Cook, so Kissin’ Kirk Cousins will be handling more of the offensive load than usual.

Arizona (-8) at Chicago

Eight points feels like a lot, but we’ve been saying these kinds of things about the Cardinals all season and they just keep winning. Justin Fields might be back for the Bears, which I don’t think will help their cause.

Tampa Bay (-11) at Atlanta

Eleven points feels like a lot, but you gotta keep in mind that the Buccaneers won by seventeen points last time these teams played each other. So the line makes sense. The Falcons don’t seem very good, but they’re still on the fringe of the playoff hunt largely due to Cordarrelle Patterson. I’ve been slow to jump on the Patterson bandwagon out of spite…yeah, I was one of those people that predicted big things for him back in 2014 when he turned in a dismal sophomore season. Made things difficult for a number of my fantasy teams. He’s good now though!

Bucs win on the road, but the Falcons keep it close.

Indianapolis (-9) at Houston

The Texans are back to being the Texans, so expect Jonathan Taylor to run all over them and lead the Colts to a fairly easy victory.

Philadelphia (-6.5) at NY Jets

It was nice to see the Jets get back on track last week. Too bad they’re getting knocked back off track this week. The Eagles continue their dominance over the New York team that isn’t in their division.

LA Chargers at Cincinnati (-3)

We’ve got two teams that could be defined by their 2020 NFL Draft first round quarterbacks for years to come. Justin Herbert & Joe Burrow have given their fanbases hope, and have been part of moving their teams up the standings. This will be their first meeting, and hopefully many more will follow. The Bengals have looked great since their bye week, while the Chargers have been up and down. Since the Chargers were down last week, I expect them to be up this week.

NY Giants at Miami (-4)

I told y’all that the Dolphins were going to make a run here against inferior competition. That run will continue against a Giants team that’s actually been tougher to beat than one would think. Too bad about Mike Glennon though.

Washington at Las Vegas (-2.5)

The Raiders are a confusing bunch. In Week 11, they couldn’t have looked much worse. In Week 12, they had people hyping them up as actual playoff contenders. Washington is an equally confusing bunch, so I’m really not sure what to expect here. Take the Raiders as the home favorite.

Baltimore (-4.5) at Pittsburgh

The Steelers probably hit rock bottom with their showing against Cincinnati in Week 12. It looked like a typical Bengals/Steelers game, except the Steelers were playing the role the Bengals usually play. As proud an organization as that is, surely the Steelers will show up this week motivated to prove some people wrong. They might not be as good as the Ravens, but it’s not like Baltimore has been clicking on all cylinders lately. Take the Steelers to keep things close.

Jacksonville at LA Rams (-13)

It’s been a struggle for the Rams lately. Surely they can get things right against Jacksonville, but 13.5 is a lot of points. Take the Jaguars to get closer than that.

San Francisco (-3.5) at Seattle

The Seahawks’ offense is a dumpster fire, and the 49ers are on a hot streak. The way things have been going this year tells me that the Seahawks are the pick. Makes no sense, but what has this year?

Denver at Kansas City (-10)

There actually are AFC West ramifications here, so even though everybody would have rather seen Herbert vs. Burrow flexed to SUNDAY NIGHT IS FOOTBALL NIGHT, there are reasons other than “Patrick Mahomes” to air this in prime time. The Broncos actually have a winning record, to the shock of many. They’re not a sexy pick like the Chiefs are. KC has won eleven straight games against Denver, and I expect the Chiefs to make it twelve. Gonna go with the Broncos keeping things within 10 points.

Monday, December 6

New England at Buffalo (-2.5)

The last thing the Bills need right now is for the Patriots to roll into Buffalo and take a win, further establishing themselves as the team to beat in the AFC East again. We know what’s going to happen though, right? The Patriots are going to win because that’s what the NFL is doing this year. The Empire has risen again.

Week 12 Results: 7-8

Overall Results: 76-101-3


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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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