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Cook’s 2021 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 16

Cook is 12 games below .500 on his picks after an 8-8 week last week. Can he make the late season rally? Do we go back to picking against him to make the most money? Find out!

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Hi, hello & welcome to Week 16 of the National Football League. I’m pretty sure that every single matchup featured here had somebody on Twitter asking the NFL to move the game to Tuesday due to covid. That’s how things are going here in sports at the end of 2021. The NHL went on break. Most of the NBA teams aren’t playing. Louisville’s men’s basketball team had to shut down instead of playing Kentucky.

I have no idea what’s going to happen here. I think the 49ers & Titans will play on Thursday. Beyond that, I don’t have a clue. I consider it a miracle that I managed to go 8-8 last week given everything. I make no promises of replicating that, but I do promise to give it a try! Odds are provided by Vegas Insider, and they’ll fluctuate like crazy before game time.

Thursday, December 23

San Francisco (-3) at Tennessee

The 49ers just keep winning and insinuating themselves into the playoff chase. Meanwhile the Titans have struggled against teams that aren’t the Jacksonville Jaguars. The 49ers are missing some pieces, but the Titans are missing more. Should be a close one, but I think the 49ers take it.

Saturday, December 25

Cleveland at Green Bay (-7.5)

Yeah, good luck Cleveland. You’re gonna need it on a short week against Aaron Rodgers & the Packers. The Browns have had a tendency of playing up to their competition, as we saw in their Week 1 trip to Kansas City. That was approximately five years ago, though. Packers have no problem here.

Indianapolis at Arizona

We have a good number of pick ems as I write this, which goes to show me that Vegas doesn’t know what’s going on either. It does seem like Colts vs. Cardinals would be tough to predict regardless of what’s going on. Two teams heading in opposite directions lately. The Colts have been super impressive with Jonathan Taylor running fools over, while the Cardinals have been anything but impressive and seem to have peaked too soon.

Logic tells me the Colts win, but the tweet above seems accurate to me considering how NFL business has gone this season. The Cardinals get back on track here because it’s the NFL where parity rules. Plus, if losing to the Lions doesn’t light a fire under your ass, I don’t know what will.

Sunday, December 26

Tampa Bay (-10) at Carolina

The Buccaneers will be missing some key offensive pieces, but they still have to be the pick here given whatever they’re doing in Carolina. That thing is just a hot mess, and there’s no way I can pick them against Tom Brady. Especially Tom Brady coming off of a shutout loss & with his favorite wide receiver back.

While I’m thinking about it. Note to Bruce Arians: Just tell us you need AB back because there’s a sudden lack of wide receivers on your team. Don’t make up some shit about how he’s a better person now, nobody believes that. Just tell the truth.

NY Giants at Philadelphia (-10)

Speaking of messes, the Giants are a mess even by their recent standards. Dan Patrick was talking the other day about how Russell Wilson could go to the Giants & contend again, and I was wondering which Giants team he meant. The baseball team? Maybe that’s it, Russ does have some baseball experience. The Eagles will contend with Jake Fromm instead of Russell Wilson here, so they should be ok.

LA Chargers (-10) at Houston

The Texans got a nice win over Jacksonville. That doesn’t mean we’re picking them against the Chargers, but it’s nice they’re still trying.

Detroit at Atlanta (-5.5)

It’s tempting to pick the Lions here since they just got a win and they always try hard, and the Falcons are one of the most forgettable teams in the league. Do you remember anything they’ve done this year? I sure don’t! One thing about the Falcons is they don’t do too well at home. Take the Lions and the points. Why not live a little?

Baltimore at Cincinnati (-3)

I mean…he ain’t wrong. I’ve been to St. Louis & Atlanta’s baseball parks in the last couple of months, and there was a stark contrast between the entertainment options around their parks & Cincinnati’s lack of such things. They’re trying to make it better, but it’s been almost twenty years and it’s still pretty bare. No, Burrow isn’t going to get any heat with Bengals fans over this.

The Ravens have a ton of people on the covid list, and Lamar Jackson is very questionable. That all being said, Tyler Huntley wasn’t terrible against the Packers and the Bengals have a way of making backup quarterbacks look good. I see the Ravens keeping this thing close somehow.

LA Rams (-3) at Minnesota

All these dang Vikings games are close and this one will be no different. Rams are looking pretty good these days, but I’m liking the Vikings to keep it close like they always do.

Jacksonville at NY Jets

Jets? Sure, why not.

Buffalo at New England (-2.5)

Bill Belichick is PISSED OFF, and the Patriots sure seem to have Buffalo’s number. Josh Allen & the Bills have missed a few opportunities to take this division, and aren’t going to get it at the end of the day.

Chicago at Seattle (-6.5)

Thank goodness I won’t be asked to watch this one is all I can say about it. I’ll take the Seahawks at home, though it might be a low-scoring game due to that snow. Also due to the offenses involved.

Pittsburgh at Kansas City (-10)

The Chiefs have been looking good lately, but have a covid situation with a couple of Patrick Mahomes’ best targets. That’s not good, especially against a Pittsburgh team that’s been rebounding lately. Give me the Steelers if you’re going to give me that number.

Denver at Las Vegas

Two fairly interesting AFC West teams that I consider quite evenly matched. No wonder Vegas made this thing a pick em. Should be a pretty low scoring game where the first team to two touchdowns might win. I’ll roll with the Raiders due to their homefield advantage.

Washington at Dallas (-11)

How bout dem Cowboys? They’re getting things done, the Football Team isn’t, and this should clinch the NFC East for the Cowboys.

Monday, December 27

Miami at New Orleans (-3)

In fairness, the Saints have at least won something in the last twenty years. It’s funny though, as those of us who were around in 2006 remember when the Dolphins & the Saints were the two main teams considering signing Drew Brees. The Dolphins passed due to concerns over Brees’ shoulder and traded for Daunte Culpepper instead. The Saints signed Brees, and finally attained relevancy.

Miami has mostly been irrelevant since then. They won a division title in 2008 and have made two playoff appearances in the years after passing on Brees. It seems like they might be on the road to a third, but they’re going to need to keep winning now that they’re playing some good teams. The Saints are really good sometimes, and pretty blah other times. Which team shows up here will tell the tale. I’m thinking the good team shows up, and the Saints take care of business.

Week 15 Results: 8-8

Overall Results: 104-116-4


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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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