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Cook’s 2021-22 NFL Gambling Picks: Divisional Round

With the Divisional Playoffs having some unlikely franchises clash; Cook decides to continue his picks! Will his Bengals keep this momentum going?



People often say that Wild Card Weekend is the best weekend of the NFL year, and with added games increasing the amount of football, it’s easy to see why. I’ve always said that the Divisional Round is just a little bit better. Two games on Saturday, two games on Sunday, and none of the riff-raff that sometimes sneaks into the playoffs. One week is enough to get rid of the filler, the second week gives you all killer with the top-seeded teams entering the fray.

Making things even better this season, at least on a personal level: The Cincinnati Bengals are part of the proceedings for the first time in thirty-one years. It’ll sound silly to those of you that root for teams that regularly win championships, but you have to keep the context in mind here. Let me tell y’all a little story…

Winter 1991. The Cincinnati Reds won the World Series a couple of months prior, sweeping the overwhelmingly favored Oakland A’s. The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Houston Oilers in the wild card round, only to fall short against the Los Angeles Raiders in the divisional round. Six year old Steve Cook was bummed out, but not overly worried. The Bengals had been in the playoffs a ton recently, making the Super Bowl a couple of years prior. The Reds had a pretty good tradition of winning baseball. Surely, there would be plenty more opportunities for these teams to win championships.

There would not be.

The Reds made one more NLCS appearance in 1995 before sinking into irrelevance for most of the next three decades. As pathetic as their plight has been, the Bengals became even more of a joke. The 90s Bengals teams were good for about three wins a season. Wins started becoming more prevalent once Marvin Lewis came to town, but for whatever reason, he couldn’t get over the hump in the playoffs. Couldn’t even win one measly playoff game! It’d be one thing if the Bengals were getting stopped in the AFC Championship Game multiple times in a row, or even if they pulled a Buffalo Bills and lost four straight Super Bowls. They couldn’t win one playoff game.

So you’ll excuse Bengals fans for getting a little excited over winning one playoff game. It’s been thirty-one years! Many of us weren’t born, or barely even remember a time where the Bengals were seen as a threat in the playoffs.

Easily the biggest sports result for this fan since 2013, and the NCAA says that University of Louisville men’s basketball season didn’t happen. As long as the NFL doesn’t vacate the 2021 Cincinnati Bengals season due to prostit-er, sex workers visiting the players’ houses, this one should stay in the record book. It’s a beautiful thing.

Now, we move on. We went 2-4 last week, mostly because we gave too much credit to teams like the Cardinals & Steelers that put up miserable efforts. We don’t have teams like that to fool us this week, so let’s get to it.

Saturday, January 22

Cincinnati at Tennessee (-3.5)

I hate to say it, but this is nothing new for Nashville sports teams. As much as I love the Predators, I would be delinquent in my duties if I didn’t point out the multiple occasions where that franchise has undertaken methods to try and keep fans of rival teams out of Bridgestone Arena. Chicago Blackhawks fans are a frequent target when their team is good. The problem the local teams run into is that Nashville is a pretty great place for a road trip. Tons of things to see & do, plenty of locations to hold pre & postgame activities. Nice location too, as Nashville is just four hours away from Cincinnati. Local businesses are doing their part to dissuade Bengals fans by jacking up prices on everything.

However, Bengals fans know good & well that divisional playoff game appearances for their team have been few & far between. No matter how high Nashville hotels want to price themselves, there will be Bengals fans taking up a portion of the rooms. It’s a special occasion. Hell, I’d consider heading down there myself if I wasn’t working this weekend and had two non-blurry eyes. Some things are worth braving a pandemic for.

People ask me why the Bengals won’t beat the Titans, and I have two words for them: Derrick Henry. He still finished in the top ten in rushing yards despite missing the last half of the season due to injury. Jonathan Taylor had a great season and finished more than 500 yards ahead of second-place Nick Chubb, but odds are he would have been second place had Henry played the full season. The Bengals have been good but not great against the rush, and Henry’s one of those guys where you don’t worry about the matchup anyway. Add in the fact that all of the Titans’ wide receivers are actually healthy, and this is going to be the best Tennessee offense we’ve seen all season.

The Titans’ defense has been better against rushers than the Bengals, and slightly better against the pass. They’ll create a lot of pressure on Joe Burrow, making it tougher to get the ball to Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins & Tyler Boyd. One thing to keep an eye on: Bengals head coach Zac Taylor was with Ryan Tannehill at Texas A&M and with the Miami Dolphins. So he knows Tannehill pretty well…to me, that means the Titans give Derrick Henry the ball even more than they would have otherwise.

I think the Titans have heard the buzz from certain outlets how they’re the worst #1 seed of all time, and are going to be looking to prove some people wrong.

San Francisco at Green Bay (-6)

I don’t want to read too much into recent playoff meetings with these teams. The 49ers with Colin Kapernick at quarterback & the 49ers with Jimmy G at quarterback are two different animals. So the fact that the 49ers have won three straight playoff games against the Packers doesn’t matter much for this exercise. What does matter: The 49ers have a darn good track record of covering as an underdog. You see Garoppolo’s record up there, and Kyle Shanahan’s record is in the same boat. 11-6 as road underdogs outside the division. That ain’t bad. Six points seems like too much to give the 49ers to me, even on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

I still think the Packers will win the game, though I can’t help but think that things would be so much more interesting if they lost. If Aaron Rodgers flipped his lid over last season’s finish for Green Bay, what would happen if they went out in the divisional round? More whining, pissing & moaning would be my guess. No offense to Packers fans, I think your tradition is pretty cool! But as somebody that roots for interesting outcomes, I sure wouldn’t mind seeing San Fran win this outright.

(I also might be rooting for the Bengals/49ers Super Bowl trilogy to unfold like the Rock/Austin WrestleMania trilogy did. Tough to say. It’s also tough to say if you can have a trilogy with more than thirty years between parts. Can I get a ruling from George Lucas?)

Sunday, January 23

LA Rams at Tampa Bay (-3)

They made it easy for me this week. You’re giving me Tom Brady as only a three point favorite? I know the Rams are peaking at the right time. They decimated the Arizona Cardinals in impressive fashion. Odell Beckham Jr. is finding his role in the offense. The Rams defense made Kyler Murray look more like Jake “The Snake” Plummer than the eventual greatest QB in Cardinals history. I’d be picking the Rams against most teams in this bracket.

I ain’t picking against Tom Brady & the Buccaneers. Maybe I end up being wrong (it’s happened more often than not this season), but if I’m wrong it’s not because I did something stupid like pick against Tom Brady twenty years after we all should have learned better.

Buffalo at Kansas City (-1.5)

Neither of these teams had much trouble handling their opposition last week, so we get a rematch of last year’s AFC title game. The Bills lost that game, but came out strong in Week 5 and handled a Chiefs team that didn’t look like the Chiefs we knew the last couple of years. Kansas City got back on track and are once again the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Can the Bills change the script?

It’s not as much of a guarantee as Tom Brady is, but the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium are pretty close. They’ve won five straight & covered as home favorites. You know the place will be as loud as possible no matter what the weather might be. The Bills have been hot lately, but it seems like whenever they get too hot they end up cooling off at an inopportune time. Sunday night would certainly be one of those, and I see the Chiefs taking advantage.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for great in-game insight like I showcased earlier.

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Down The Wire: No Cap Recap Super Bowl Edition

The Wortz brothers are back one last time this season to review Super Bowl LVII!



The Wortz brothers are back one last time this season to review Super Bowl LVII!

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Cook’s 2022 NFL Gambling Picks: Super Bowl LVII

It’s the Super Bowl, and the world will be watching! See who your resident Chairshot handicapper Steve Cook thinks will win the NFL’s championship!



Super Bowl 2023

It’s the Super Bowl, and the world will be watching! See who your resident Chairshot handicapper Steve Cook thinks will win the NFL’s championship game between the Eagles and the Chiefs.

Hi, hello & welcome to Super Bowl LVII! I’m Steve Cook, and I’m not going to lie to you good & honest Chairshot readers. I have absolutely no interest in writing this column or watching this game. None whatsoever. Those of you that root for NFL teams that have come up short in conference championship games know exactly what I’m talking about. Granted, getting to that position certainly beats a decade of three-win seasons, three decades of not being able to win a single playoff game & most of the states that NFL franchises currently find themselves in, but there is absolutely no fun to be had in a Super Bowl that you think your team should be in.

Our Cincinnati Bengals had a few too many obstacles in front of them. They had to deal with the best quarterback in the league, who allegedly had a high ankle sprain but seemed to be throwing the ball and moving around pretty well. The Bengals quarterback didn’t have his best game, and their offensive line had a little too much to deal with while the Chiefs’ offensive line seemed unbothered. There was all the trash being talked by some of the Bengal players, which while horribly overplayed by the media certainly got under the Chiefs’ skin. Then there were the officials giving the Chiefs extra downs whenever they needed them and popping up with some kind of bogus call whenever the Bengals made a big play.

So the Bengals season is over. Which is fine. Now I have to hear about how it’s such a wonderful story that the Kansas City Chiefs managed to somehow get back to the Super Bowl. I have to hear about Andy Reid, & Patrick Mahomes, & Jackson Mahomes, & how loud it gets in Kansas City, and that goofball from the University of Convicts, Travis Kelce. Oh don’t get me started…ok, I’ll get started.

Did you know that Travis & Jason Kelce are the first brothers to oppose each other in the Super Bowl? I might have heard that a time or thousand over the past couple of weeks. It’s not accurate. See, Travis is a tight end for the Chiefs, while Jason plays center for the Eagles. They will not be taking the field against each other. Had the Cardinals & Steelers played in this game, and J.J. Watt played linebacker for the Cardinals while Derek Watt was in at fullback for the Steelers, they would have opposed each other in the Super Bowl. That would have been interesting. This isn’t. Let me know if Travis goes in at linebacker, or Jason lines up at defensive end, because that would be interesting. Here, they’ll just stare across the field at each other like a couple of octogenarian politicians.

Chiefs vs. Eagles. I mean, the whole “two Black quarterbacks” thing is pretty cool, and it’s shocking yet not all that shocking that it took so long. Beyond that, I’ve got nothing. I’m still going to be stuck watching this thing, so how does one get excited for the actual game itself?

Prop bets?

Yep, we got prop bets coming out the yin yang for the biggest sports gambling day of the year. You can bet on almost anything going on in this game, though I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have some inside knowledge. How long will the National Anthem take? Bet on it if you know how fast Chris Stapleton sings things. I don’t listen to current hip-hop, so I’m not familiar with his work. Let’s take a look at some of the best and/or most popular…

What will the coin toss land on?

  • Heads: -105
  • Tails: -105

One of the dumbest things to bet on out there, but still one of the most popular. Heads has won four out of the last five Super Bowls. Personally, I always chose Heads on Madden 2002 back in the day, so that would be my pick.

Super Bowl MVP:

  • Patrick Mahomes: +130
  • Jalen Hurts: +140
  • Travis Kelce: +1100
  • AJ Brown: +1400
  • Miles Sanders: +2500
  • Devonta Smith: +3000
  • Haason Reddick: +3000

There’s a long list of other options on BetMGM, but I feel like I’ve already listed too many. A quarterback has won this award thirty-one times. Mahomes is going for his second, and with his “story” going in it’d be an easy call to make if the Chiefs end up winning. Now, we’ve seen a wide receiver win it two out of the last four seasons, this opens the door for the likes of an AJ Brown to slip through. Interesting thing about Kelce: No tight end has ever won Super Bowl MVP. Considering how much media has gassed him up this week with the “brothers” storyline, he’s an interesting choice at +1100. I still think the quarterbacks are the obvious bets, especially if you’re getting them at plus odds. I could see this changing before Sunday.

Color of Gatorade Bath:

  • Orange: +325
  • Yellow/Green: +175
  • Clear/Water: +750
  • Blue: +400
  • Red/Pink: +500
  • Purple: +900
  • No Gatorade Poured: +1400

I’m a Lemon-Lime guy myself, so I would be hoping for some yellow Gatorade on the sideline if I was involved. I am not, so it would behoove those wanting to bet on this to figure out which Gatorade players of both teams prefer. Blue has had a strong run, winning three out of the last four years. It seems relevant to point out that the Chiefs doused Andy Reid with Orange back in 2020. Some have speculated that Reid may opt out of the Gatorade bath now since he’s old…I don’t think he’s quite that grouchy yet, but it’s something to keep in mind.

I’d go Blue or Orange depending on who you think will win.

Sunday, February 12

Kansas City vs. Philadelphia (-1.5)

We’ve already said a lot about the Kansas City Chiefs. While I have my reservations over how they conduct themselves as an organization and over how they got to this particular game, I’m still a bit surprised to see them as an underdog. They’ve been here before, multiple times in recent years. Their recent postseason success would look even more impressive if it’d taken place before Tom Brady and/or the Patriots shifted the paradigm. Five straight AFC Championship Game appearances, three out of four Super Bowl appearances. They’ve dominated the AFC in recent years, and with Pat Mahomes locked up they’ll probably dominate the AFC in future years.

So why are they the underdogs?

While the Chiefs had difficulty dispatching the Jaguars & Bengals in their AFC playoff games, the Eagles ran through their NFC opponents like a hot knife through butter. They had no issue defeating the Giants, then stomped out the hopes & dreams of the quarterback-less 49ers. There’s a knock against the Eagles, which is the idea that they’ve had a relatively easy schedule. It kind of falls apart when you remember they played the Cowboys & Giants twice in the regular season, along with two other playoff teams in the Vikings & Jaguars early in the season. The Packers & Titans are usually playoff teams and both teams nearly made it again. These Eagles have taken care of business so far, and they could very well do it again.

I don’t think they do. Patrick Mahomes may not have had that blow-away Super Bowl performance yet, but it’s coming. If you’re giving me the Chiefs as an underdog, I’m gonna take it.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy Super Bowl LVII!

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