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Cook’s 2021 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 14

Week 14 of the NFL is here, and Steve Cook has your picks! Can he follow-up a strong Week 13 against the spread?

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NFL Week 14 Picks Against The Spread

Hi, hello & welcome to Week 14 of the National Football League! In case you’re wondering why things have felt a little different over the past few days, we actually had a good week with the picks. That’s probably got something to do with it, along with the holiday season being in full swing. I try not to toot my own horn too much on these things, but this is the first time this season I’ve actually had reason to. So toot toot.

We make no promises for positive Week 14 results, as we know how things tend to go in the NFL. Up & down like a dang elevator. Let’s take a look at where the elevator is taking us this week. Lines provided by Vegas Insider.

Thursday, December 9

Pittsburgh at Minnesota (-3)

I blame the media. We all know that the Pittsburgh Steelers are at their best when people start doubting them. Certain teams are just like that, like the Alabama Crimson Tide. The one time in the past decade people started doubting them, they beat the hell out of Georgia and are back in the catbird seat in the College Football Playoff. Pittsburgh is no different. Once people start talking about how Ben Roethlisberger is washed & the Steelers are falling apart, that’s when they make their move. Damn you all.

Meanwhile, the Vikings will probably be missing most of their offensive weapons. As I said last week, asking Kirk Cousins to do more with less is usually asking for trouble. The Steelers got this.

Sunday, December 12

Las Vegas at Kansas City (-9.5)

Talk about two teams headed in opposite directions. The Chiefs are reminding people that they are what we thought they were. So are the Raiders, actually. This is the time of year where they wilt and teams like the Chiefs thrive.

New Orleans (-5.5) at NY Jets

There was a time where it seemed like the Saints had a chance to do something. There was also a time where people were convinced that Taysom Hill could be a competent NFL quarterback. If there’s a chance for Hill to prove Sean Payton right, it’s this game against the Jets after a 10 game break. Fantasy experts are pleading with you to pick him up even if his performance against Dallas didn’t inspire any confidence. I’m gonna need to see more before I join the chorus.

That all being said…I’m still picking the Saints over the Jets. Maybe this is one of those weeks where the Jets randomly show up, but I can’t trust them. Plus, Alvin Kamara might actually play.

Jacksonville at Tennessee (-9.5)

I was looking back at my picks last week and was horrified to see that I actually picked the Jaguars to cover. Don’t know what happened there. After a brief stretch of somewhat competent football, the Jags have gone back to their usual selves in the last three weeks. The Titans are coming off a bye after being humiliated in New England, so you know they’ll be up for this one.

Baltimore at Cleveland (-2)

The Ravens are getting hosed on this one. Baltimore & Cleveland just played back in Week 12. Week 13 saw the Ravens play the Steelers while the Browns finally got their bye week and a chance to rest some people. One of the main things going against the Browns all season has been injuries, and some time to relax might be just what they needed. Expect a low scoring AFC North-style game in Cleveland with the Browns breaking the Ravens’ streak against them.

Atlanta at Carolina (-2.5)

The Panthers are coming off of a bye while the Falcons might as well be coming off of a bye after getting shellacked by the Buccaneers. I kinda still want this Cam Newton comeback to be a thing since it makes for interesting content, so I’m thinking the Panthers take care of business here and hang on to playoff hopes.

Dallas (-4) at Washington

All of a sudden, the Football Team has won four straight games after losing four straight games. That the thing about Washington. We’d like to be able to ignore them since they’re a dysfunctional franchise with terrible ownership that continually embarrasses themselves with some bit of stupidity. Yet, they end up contending for a playoff berth more often than not, and even make it in sometimes.

Of course, the Cowboys are also know for their embarrassing ways, so it makes sense that the two teams are bitter rivals. Take the Cowboys since the Football Team can only beat them when Dak Prescott isn’t playing. He’s only thrown one interception in eight games against Washington & only lost once.

Seattle (-7.5) at Houston

Are the Seahawks back? It won’t really matter here. The Texans’ season is officially over and now they’re playing for draft position. Their biggest worry for the next few months will be figuring out if they can finally do something about this whole Deshaun Watson thing.

Detroit at Denver (-7.5)

The Lions finally got over the hump last week! Can this lead to further success? Once teams taste victory once, they’re going to want some more of it. Unfortunately, Denver’s not the best place to find more victory. The Broncos & countless fantasy teams will ride Javonte Williams to victory this week.

NY Giants at LA Chargers (-10.5)

The Chargers’ odd/even trend is going to get a stiff test this week from a Giants team that’s running Jake Fromm out there fresh off the Bills’ practice squad. There was a time when Fromm was one of the top prospects in college. He wound up being a fifth round pick by the Bills, who cut him and placed him on their practice squad during the 2021 off-season. Now he’s a Giant, and now he’s getting a chance to show people what he’s made of.

If the Chargers team I saw last week shows up this week, it won’t be much.

Buffalo at Tampa Bay (-3)

So how worried is the Bills Mafia right now on a scale from 1-10? Probably at least fifteen. There was a time where we thought they could run away with the AFC East, but now that’s the Patriots’ deal. Again. They’ve beat one team over .500 all season, and that was the Chiefs back when we were wondering what the heck was wrong with the Chiefs. They’ve gone W-L-W-L the last four weeks, and now they’re going against Tom Freaking Brady.

I got bad news for Bills fans, they’ll still be worrying after this week. Brady probably won’t throw four touchdown passes again, but the Buccaneers will still put up some points on these boys. Look for Leonard Fournette to have himself another week.

San Francisco at Cincinnati (-1)

It sure seemed like the 49ers had turned things around when they blew out the Rams back in Week 10. Their schedule opened up afterward, and you could easily see them on a four-game winning streak heading into Cincinnati. The only problem was that the Seahawks actually showed up last week and put the streak to a stop at three. Which is bad news for the Bengals, since their best hope for a win here was for San Francisco to come in overconfident.

The last few weeks have been a roller coaster ride for the Bengals. They’ve blown out the Raiders & Steelers. They’ve gotten blown out by the Browns & Chargers. The schedule won’t be getting any easier for this team, as they follow this up with a trip to Denver, then two home games against legit AFC contenders. They need this one, so obviously I’m picking the 49ers.

Chicago at Green Bay (-12.5)

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about how the one of the few things everybody can agree on is collective disgust over the Lions being featured on television every Thanksgiving. Something else we can agree on? A collective disgust over the NFL’s insistence on putting the Bears in multiple prime time games every year. Who asked for this? Like, who took a look at this schedule of games and thought “Yeah, Bears vs. Packers! That’s what people want to see on Sunday night!”?

Should be a barn-burner, meaning people would rather burn their barns than watch it. Packers win, as they usually do against the Bears.

Monday, December 13

LA Rams at Arizona (-2.5)

Kyler Murray & DeAndre Hopkins back and the Cardinals are looking like the Cardinals again. Which is bad news for a Rams team that only gets it done against the likes of the Jaguars, Texans, Lions & Giants. Any team better than that lot presents a major problem for LA. Arizona beat the Rams by seventeen earlier this season…it won’t be that lopsided again, but I do see the Cardinals creating more space between themselves and their NFC West peers.

Week 13 Results: 10-4

Overall Results: 86-105-3


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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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