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Cook’s 2022 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 4

Cook’s picks are staying marginally more 50/50 this year. Will we get a few tally marks for the good guys or continue the early season slide?

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Thursday night was a pretty great night for Cincinnati fans! The Bengals got back on track with a win over the Dolphins, putting them at 2-2 and right in the mix. It wasn’t a great night for Dolphins fans, or the NFL quite honestly. Tua Tagovailoa was stretchered out of the game after taking a big hit and what looked like to all the world another concussion just four days after Miami’s game against the Bills where everybody thought he got a concussion but the Dolphins claimed he injured his back/ankle. They said he passed the protocol and was good to play on Thursday, but everybody wondered if that was the best idea. It wasn’t.

Head injuries are a tricky thing to figure out, especially when you don’t even play a doctor on the Internet. I would not want to be the person to make that decision, especially when the player in question is likely demanding to play no matter what condition they’re in. I’d like to think that if I saw my future of the franchise quarterback stumbling off of the field after getting his head smashed into the ground, I would not try to claim it was a back/ankle injury and just plan on my experienced backup quarterback leading the team four days later. Then maybe I’d have a 2-point conversion play set up for him, along with other plays to give my team a better chance of victory. Bad deal by the Dolphins that didn’t give them the best chance to win in Cincy, and compromised the future of their franchise.

Now we deal with the rest of Week 4. Lines are via the Vegas Insider Consensus on Friday afternoon.

Sunday, October 2

Minnesota (-3) vs. New Orleans

Yep, the Vikings & Saints are in London this week, so forget any of that noise about a homefield advantage. The Saints would probably prefer to play this game in the SuperDome, and they’d also prefer to have Jameis Winston & Michael Thomas available to practice. Thomas was declared out on Friday, and it’s not looking great for Winston. Coming off a loss to the Panthers and possibly missing a couple of your key offensive starters? Not great, Bob! That said, there are worse backup options out there than Andy Dalton.

The Vikings went back on the “good” side of the ledger last week with a win over Detroit. They’re still figuring things out on offense, but I expect they’ll get there. I’m liking the Vikings to get some revenge for their ancestors in jolly ol’ England. Did the Norsemen have issues with the Brits back in the day? Probably, they seemed to have issues with everybody.

Cleveland (-1) at Atlanta

After two narrow losses to start the season, the Falcons scored a nice little win in Seattle last week. They seem to be slightly better than expected, and could pose a difficult test for a Browns team that could be missing Myles Garrett. Interesting how the media coverage & public opinion on Garrett has twisted over the past couple of days. It’s gone from “OMG I hope he’s ok” to “OMG this guy drives too fast and must be stopped”. I don’t really have an opinion on it, other than the flip-flop is pretty interesting.

Even without Garrett, the Browns have superior talent and should be able to run the ball all over the Falcons.

Buffalo (-3) at Baltimore

I have to do some travelling this Sunday. It’s one of those things that I’m kind of dreading, but at least I won’t have to worry about missing Josh Allen vs. Lamar Jackson in a battle of two MVP candidates. WKRC would rather have us watch Cleveland vs. Atlanta in a battle of Jacoby Brissett vs. Marcus Mariota. I could be sitting home watching that or Commanders vs. Cowboys, so I guess I can’t get on my friend too much for scheduling a wedding on a Sunday during football season. At least they were smart enough to not do it on a Bengals Sunday.

I might need to find somewhere to catch part of this game though, as it’s two of the best teams in the AFC with some playoff implications down the road if they’re vying for the top seed in the playoffs. Should be a good one. I’ll take the Ravens since they’ll be at home, but wouldn’t be shocked if Josh Allen & company went off after their loss in Miami. They looked pretty mad, didn’t they?

Washington at Dallas (-3.5)

One of the NFL’s most storied rivalries, though I must admit some of the marketability has been taken out of it since Washington stopped using Native American imagery. It’s still two of the most popular/hated franchises in sports going at it, and no matter what the teams look like people will watch them.

I’m done picking the Commanders after last week’s debacle, so look for Cooper Rush’s run of dominance to continue. My plan of setting the media up to talk endless Dak Prescott after the Cowboys go downhill when he returns seems to be working!

Seattle at Detroit (-4)

Awesome Twitter handle. The Lions have gone from being Vegas’s least favorite team over the past few years to being a darling of the industry. Unfortunately, that loss against the Vikings last week wiped out a good bit of their offense. D’Andre Swift doesn’t look good for Sunday, and new WR star Amon-Ra St. Brown will be out. Jared Goff will have to hope the backups are equally as effective. What I’m guessing is a low-scoring game, as the Seahawks weren’t able to score an offensive touchdown the last time they were on the road.

I’ll roll with the Lions, but this should be an ugly one.

LA Chargers (-5) at Houston

The Chargers are falling apart by the day. Joey Bosa has gone on the IL, taking away the best player on their defense. Justin Herbert is somewhere around 60% healthy if I had to guess. Keenan Allen might be playing this week, so that’s nice. It’s a mess of a team, and they’re going to Houston to play a Texans team that there’s no reason to have any confidence in. If I was actually a gambler, I’d stay far, far away from this mess.

Since I’m just making picks, I’ll tell you to go with the Chargers, simply because they actually have some players I’d start in a fantasy lineup.

Tennessee at Indianapolis (-3.5)

This is what the AFC South has been reduced to. Fighting for first place after the JAGS lose a game. Goodness Gracious. We are talking about two teams that rose from the dead last week to beat AFC West teams, so a win for either this week would revive their playoff hopes.

We’ll take the Titans at the current spread. I’m not really sure what to make of either team right now…I think they’ll both be decent at some point.

Chicago at NY Giants (-3)

If you’ve been wanting some of that old school football with three yards and a cloud of dust, this will be the game for you! Neither team passes the ball well, so expect the running backs to get carries early and often. Unfortunately for da Bears, David Montgomery won’t be playing and he happens to be their best running back. I was leaning Bears until that news broke, now I’m forced to go with the Giants. My apologies to Greg & Reby.

Jacksonville at Philadelphia (-6.5)

Those Eagles are rock & rolling right now, and Philly fans are pretty excited about it. They’ll be happy to welcome former Eagles coach Doug Pederson home on Sunday, who now coaches a Jaguars team that looks a bit spicy early in the season. Two early wins over teams projected to be playoff contenders isn’t what most folks were expecting from the Jags. After a struggle in Year 1, Trevor Lawrence is starting to live up to the hype in Year 2. Lawrence’s counterpart on the Eagles, Jalen Hurts, is right in the middle of MVP conversation after the first three weeks. Yes, I realize MVP conversation after three weeks is a bit wild, but it’s what we do in 2022.

I’d like the Jags to come in and make a game of it, but something tells me that the Eagles are going to give them the same treatment Minnesota & Washington received.

NY Jets at Pittsburgh (-3.5)

Zach Wilson should be playing this week! Jets fans are hoping that provides a boost to their offense, and for their sake I hope they’re right. If Wilson can’t do much more than Joe Flacco did the first three weeks (with the notable exception of that 4th quarter against the Browns), it’s a poor sign for their future. Steeler fans are hoping for a boost to their future at some point. Kenny Pickett’s time is coming, but it’s not going to be this week.

We’ll take the Jets to get within a field goal. Should be a bowling shoe type of affair.

Arizona at Carolina (-1)

Got the Panthers winning this one since I have to deal with a couple of Carolina fans on Sunday.

New England at Green Bay (-9.5)

If there’s one thing we know this week, it’s that Mac Jones is day to day. We don’t really know the status of his injury, as Bill Belichick doesn’t know how to read MRIs, and Jones is acting like he plans on playing this week. I assume this is the usual hocus pocus from the Patriots where they act all secretive and force their opponent to prepare for any damn thing. I would hope that the Patriots err on the side of caution and sit Jones this week. Thursday night’s game was Exbibit A for why you don’t run your future of the franchise quarterback out there when he’s not right. Bill Belichick, football genius that he is, should be smarter than that. Fortunately, Jones was ruled out on Friday, proving that Bill Belichick is smarter than the Dolphins organization.

The Packers got a good win in Tampa Bay, though the offense is still a bit of a struggle. It’s fair to wonder if Aaron Rodgers & his team can put up enough points to cover here. I’ll go with the Packers at Lambeau Field since it worked out pretty well the last time we did it.

Denver at Las Vegas (-2.5)

The Broncos, along with the 49ers, set football back approximately fifty years on Sunday night. Some may wish to tell you it was a great defensive struggle. I tend to think it was a battle of two offenses that couldn’t do anything. Even though the Broncos went to 2-1 with the victory, you won’t see as many people talking them up now as you did during the preseason when everybody thought Russell Wilson was Peyton Manning.

Meanwhile, the Raiders sit at 0-3 after a close loss in Tennessee. Doesn’t get much more “must-win” in Week 4 than it is for Vegas. Davante Adams knows the pressure is on and is making some noise about it. This would be a good spot for the Raiders offense to start gelling and get a big win to get back on track. That’s why I’m picking the Broncos to win a low-scoring game that annoys the heck out of everybody.

Kansas City at Tampa Bay

NBC must have had high hopes for this game when it was booked. Mahomes! Brady! Two of the best teams of the past few years! One would have expected both of these teams to roll into Week 4 at 3-0, looking like the Super Bowl contenders they usually are. Then games started getting played. The Bucs offense doesn’t look like the Bucs offense of previous years, mostly because all the WRs are hurt or getting suspended. Tom Brady can’t make everybody a star, as Cole Beasley proved last week. Mike Evans’ return this week should give a boost, and Tampa’s defense did look good against Green Bay, but Aaron Rodgers is in the same position as Tom Brady right now. Looking for people to throw the ball to that might actually catch it.

The football analytics tell you that Kansas City is still the best team in the NFL. They tell you that the Chiefs’ performance against the Colts was one of the best of Week 3, except for the part where they didn’t actually win. Stats are fun, but wins are even more fun. I’m not as worried about that Chiefs offense as most seem to be. Got plenty of faith in Andy Reid & Pat Mahomes to get things at an elite level during the season, and that AFC West isn’t looking as formidiable as it was during the offseason. The Chiefs will make the playoffs and be that team nobody wants to play, as they typically are.

Fortunately this game will be played in Tampa. Our thoughts are with those affected by Hurricane Ian over the past few days & beyond. I think the Chiefs have the more complete team, but sometimes emotion & intangibles play into things, and there should be enough positive vibes going the Buccaneers‘ way to like them this week. The game was a pick ’em at press time, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it stayed that way or even moved in the Bucs’ favor.

Monday, October 3

LA Rams at San Francisco (-1.5)

Yep, it was just last season that the 49ers hosted the Rams on MONDAY NIGHT IS FOOTBALL NIGHT whilst sitting at 3-5 and looking for answers. They romped the Rams 31-10, lost two games the rest of the regular season and made a run to the NFC Championship Game. So you can see why San Fran fans are hanging onto hope here.

Me, I see the Rams slowly but surely getting things right while winning games. They were my pick to win the NFC again, and while it was tempting to balk on that after Week 1, they’re getting on the right track now. Maybe my mind is polluted by that awful SNF game the 49ers found a way to lose, but I’m taking the Rams.

Week 3 Results: 7-8-1
Overall Results: 22-26-1


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NFL

Cook’s 2022 NFL Gambling Picks: Week 13

It’s lucky week 13 as Steve Cook’s path to a winning record continues! Can Cook keep the streak going with his NFL Week 13 Gambling Picks?

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Josh Allen Buffalo Bills Away Jersey

It’s lucky week 13 as Steve Cook’s path to a winning record continues! Can Cook keep the streak going with his NFL Week 13 Gambling Picks?

Hi, hello and welcome to Week 13 of the National Football League! I’m Steve Cook, and I can’t believe it’s already December. Time flies when you’re having fun, and I think most of us have had a good amount of fun so far this season. There’s still plenty to come, and we’re at the point where the cream rises to the top and we find out just who is for real around here.

We had another successful week in the picks, continuing our streak of going above .500. Could use a really big week to get the record looking good, and hopefully that’ll happen in the following words. Spreads are via Vegas Insider Consensus on Wednesday afternoon and are subject to change.

Thursday, December 1

Buffalo (-4) at New England

It’s one of those rare weeks where the Thursday game doesn’t feature two teams still banged up from Sunday. Both the Bills & Patriots played on Thanksgiving, so they’ll have the typical rest period to get ready for an AFC East clash. I’m expecting a defensive, low scoring game here, but at the end of the day the choice is between Josh Allen & Mac Jones. I can’t see Mac keeping up with the Bills’ offense, even if the Patriots have one of the better defenses in the league. I’ll take the Bills to keep their position on top of the division, and figure that certain things will happen to knock them ahead of Miami.

Sunday, December 4

Cleveland (-7) vs. Houston

There wouldn’t be much reason to care about this game if it didn’t involve the return of every massage therapist’s least favorite customer. The NFL knows how to book these things…it wasn’t going to be enough to have Deshaun Watson’s comeback game be in some random NFL city, it needed to happen in Houston. Otherwise, nobody’s talking about a game featuring the hapless Texans hosting a Browns team that people probably still think are going to make a run here in December.

I don’t have much faith in the Browns to do much other than beat the Texans.

Denver at Baltimore (-8.5)

The Ravens have the advantage of having one of the easiest schedules in the history of the NFL at the end of this season. They should be able to coast to an AFC North title and a good seed in the AFC. So far, they haven’t exactly taken advantage of that schedule. They barely took care of Carolina, then they found a way to lose to the Jaguars. It’s nothing new, as the Ravens have spent most of this season finding ways to lose games they have in control. They should be 9-2 or even better than that, instead they’re 7-4 & tied with the Bengals at the top of the AFC North. Tons of missed opportunities for the Ravens here in 2022.

At least we’re still wondering if they’re frauds or not. We know that the Denver Broncos are frauds. They were a quarterback away after last season, and everybody thought that Russell Wilson would fill that void. He hasn’t. One of the most disappointing teams in recent memory. Not only are they worse than we thought they would be, they’re so boring to watch that they got the Chiefs flexed out of a Sunday Night Football slot. Imagine how un-entertaining a team has to be that NBC is like “Well, we can’t air them against Patrick Mahomes”. Amazing.

As much as the Broncos offend me as a fan of entertaining football, I still have to tell you to take them at this number. The Ravens haven’t shown the ability to blow teams out, and will let the sorry, no-account Broncos hang around in a low-scoring affair.

Pittsburgh at Atlanta (-1.5)

Due to the ineptitude of the NFC South, the Falcons are still in the playoff picture. The Steelers aren’t, but they do have the look of a team headed in the right direction. They also do a good job of stopping the run, as Jonathan Taylor could attest to after that Week 12 game. I like the Steelers here, even if Najee Harris doesn’t end up playing. As long as those defense studs are healthy, they have a chance against most teams.

Tennessee at Philadelphia (-5.5)

Derrick Henry got shut down in Week 12 by the Bengals defense, but I like him to have a strong rebound game against an Eagles defense that’s prone to giving up big runs. The Eagles have a high-powered offense, but Tennessee’s defense has managed to hold their opponents under 21 points in eight straight games. Something tells me this is going to be a tight one, so I’ll take the Titans to keep things close.

Jacksonville (-1.5) at Detroit

The Jaguars showed some spunk last week against the Ravens, defeating Lamar Jackson & company in dramatic fashion. Now they get a Lions team that has a knack for bring involved in games that end in dramatic fashion, including a narrow loss to the Bills on Thanksgiving. Should be a high-scoring game.

Vegas is showing quite a bit of faith in the Jags here. I know they had the good win last week & Detroit has a knack for losing close games, but I don’t mind riding with the home dogg Lions this week. They should be ready to go and well-rested.

Washington (-2.5) at NY Giants

These two NFC East teams seem headed in opposite directions lately. The Giants got all of the buzz early on but are starting to tail off due to injuries to their offensive line & wide receivers. Meanwhile, Taylor Heinicke is making things interesting in Washington while the defense is holding teams in check. It’ll likely be a low-scoring game, but I like the Commanders to keep things rolling while the Giants keep looking for answers.

NY Jets at Minnesota (-3)

Do the Jets have a quarterback now? Mike White had himself a day on Sunday against the Bears. If the team can find some consistency on offense, they have a defense that might be able to take this team farther than one would expect. The only issue here? The Minnesota Vikings are a harder out than a Bears team missing Justin Fields.

As good as the Jets defense is, I see them having problems stopping the likes of Justin Jefferson. Dalvin Cook had a weak showing against the Patriots, but I think he gets things back on track this week. The Vikings have struggled against the best teams in the NFL, but I think they get it done this week.

Green Bay (-4.5) at Chicago

Aaron Rodgers says he’s going to play this week after missing the last quarter of the Packers’ game with the Eagles due to injury. Most years, this would be considered a good thing. In 2022, it’s tough to blame Packers fans if they wonder that the team might be better off letting Jordan Love have a crack at things. Love looked good in that fourth quarter against the Eagles.

The good news for Green Bay? They’re playing the Bears, which almost always ends well for them. Lots of questions surround the Bears, most importantly the health status of Justin Fields. Apparently he’ll be a game time decision this week. Tough to like the Bears under those circumstances, so I’ll do what I usually do and pick the Packers over them.

Seattle (-7.5) at LA Rams

The Seahawks have been struggling a bit lately, losing close games to the Buccaneers & Raiders. This pales in comparison to the struggles the Rams have gone through, as the defending Super Bowl Champions have dropped their last five games & seen whatever playoff hopes they had go up in smoke. They could theoretically win their last six games and finish 9-8, but it seems more likely they’ll be trying to avoid setting the record for fewest wins in a season after winning the Super Bowl. The Broncos won six games in 1999, it wasn’t all that surprising since John Elway retired after winning his second straight Super Bowl. The Rams’ struggles are a bit more surprising.

The Rams’ struggles will likely continue this week, though one can make an argument in their favor against a Seahawks team that seems to have hit a wall in recent weeks after over-achieving to start the season. I think Geno Smith leads the Seahawks to victory, but the Rams keep things relatively close.

Miami at San Francisco (-3.5)

Two of the hottest teams in the NFL will meet up in Santa Clara on Sunday. The Dolphins have won every game that Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t injured for and are on a five game winning streak. The 49ers are on a four-game winning streak of their own that coincides with Christian McCaffrey meshing into the offense. The 49er defense has been top-notch, but is going to face one of their toughest tests of the season this week.

I’m not saying the Dolphin offense can’t be shut down, I’m just saying we haven’t seen it happen yet. If somebody can get it done it’s the 49ers. I think this will be a close game though, so I recommend taking the Dolphins as road doggs.

LA Chargers (-1.5) at Las Vegas

Both of these teams got much needed victories last week, the Chargers in the last seconds of regulation & the Raiders in overtime. Week 1 saw the Chargers defeat the Raiders by five points, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing happened this time around. Justin Herbert should be able to score enough points on the Raiders’ defense to keep the Chargers in playoff contention.

Kansas City (-2.5) at Cincinnati

There’s a big difference between the Joe Burrow/Zac Taylor Bengals and the Carson Palmer/Andy Dalton/Marvin Lewis Bengals of the 2000s & 2010s. Elite teams were happy to see those Bengal teams of years past. They knew they could get over on those guys, even if those Bengals showed flashes of brilliance. When the lights were on bright, those Bengals would fade away. Their clutch gene was non-existent. These Bengals have shown more fortitude than their predecessors. They have a knack for beating AFC teams that are supposedly better than them. Ask the Tennessee Titans, who are 0-3 against the Bengals since Joe Burrow showed up. Ask the Kansas City Chiefs, who the Bengals beat to get into the playoffs last season, and who the Bengals beat in the AFC Championship Game. The Chiefs were favored to win both of those games, and had a multiple touchdown lead in each game, but didn’t get the job done either time. The Bengals rose to the occasion and sent the Chiefs home without reason to chop tomahawks.

So we’ve got another week featuring an alleged “revenge” game that isn’t really one but we act like it is so we have something to talk about. Kansas City will have to do a lot more than win in Week 13 against Cincinnati to even the score here. Can they do it this week? I don’t see why not. As hot as the Bengals have been lately, the Chiefs just keep doing their thing and are still the team to beat in the AFC.

Indianapolis at Dallas (-10.5)

The Colts have shown more fire lately, but Jeff Saturday is finding out that this whole head coaching thing is a lot harder than it looks when you’re a pundit on TV talking about how dumb all the coaches are. You think you know all of the ins & outs of clock management, then you’re trying to do it yourself & failing miserably.

Sunday Night will be Football Night, and the Cowboys actually defied the odds and haven’t gone into the tank yet. There’s still time for that, but it won’t be this week. The Cowboys have a better offense & defense, and should handle anything Indy throws at them.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay (-3.5)

It’s Andy Dalton vs. Tom Brady in a prime time game. Is an explanation required? Take the Buccaneers.

Week 12 Results: 8-7-1
Overall Results: 86-89-6


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Down The Wire: NFL No Cap Recap Week 12

Tom and Dave are back, with no cap, to break down all the action from week 12 in the NFL.

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Tom and Dave are back, with no cap, to break down all the action from week 12 in the NFL.

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