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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’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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