These ahhh dahhhk, dahhhk times for one Mistah Simmons. DAHHHK. The Red Sox have now gone one seasons without winning a World Series (FIRE FARRELL!), the Celtics are going to be shitty again this year (silver lining: their division will be super shitty right along with them), and now the GREATRIOTS are finally in the process of falling apart after more than a decade as a good-to-great team. Turns out you can't just trade a pro bowl offensive lineman for peanuts and still give your aging QB enough time to go through his reads. Anyways, to top it all off, now he's suspended by his employer which means he can't shine light upon the world by giving it his weekly picks. But since Grantland's readers want a picks column anyways, starting last week (and hopefully continuing indefinitely, even after Simmons gets back), that responsibility fell to Bill Barnwell. You know, the guy who writes about football at Grantland who actually can analyze his way out of a wet paper bag if he has to.
What the Christ does this even mean? This means nothing. This is a post hoc face-saving device you bring up when the dust has settled and you just lost $500 in a weekend. "Should have TOTALLY been aware of the possibility that the Bucs wouldn't just cover in Pittsburgh, but could actually win outright. So dumb to put the Steelers in all my parlays. That was a total Obvious Pick. Can't believe I missed it." (Barnwell got that game right, by the by.)
Whether it’s some allegedly hot team coming off a big win, the team that just looked awesome on Sunday or Monday night, the team that every “expert” is picking on Thursday and Friday, the most obvious candidate for your Eliminator Pool (like Chicago at home against Buffalo this week),
Rule: Always take a beat when you’re just blindly checking off games to ask yourself, “Wait, are we sure … ?”
Like the Jets laying five to Oakland in Jersey this week.
Rule: Make a plan for double-digit spreads and stick with it.
Picking double-digit spreads is like having a 12 against a two in blackjack — there’s no right answer, but you’re better off doing the same thing every time.
Rule: Beware of obvious choices and not-totally-reliable candidates for two-team and three-team teasers.
You should approach every tease with this mind-set: I would feel totally comfortable betting my life on this if it wouldn’t be so bizarre to bet your life on a two-team football tease. I already broke this rule in Week 1 when I teased Seattle -6 (already covered) with Chicago -7.5 at home against Buffalo (looks sooooooooo easy on paper and I did it anyway). When Jay Cutler limps out of the game in the second quarter, blame me. It’s my fault.
Rule: When in doubt, always grab an underdog at home.
During a typical gambling season, home dogs will cover somewhere around 58-60 percent of the time. But during the Great Gambling Train Wreck of 2013? Home dogs started out hot as always (17-11 over the first five weeks), then free-fell into a fiery hell (25-34-2 over the next 12 weeks). Again, we have a solid amount of evidence that 2014 might be the Year of the Dog.
Rule: Make a list of teams you irrationally like and dislike before the season starts, then stick to your guns those first five weeks.
I broke that strategy down in 2004’s award-winning “Simbotics” seminar—
My dream Week 1 matchup: my favorite still-undervalued team playing at home against 2014’s no. 1 regression candidate. Actually, this game is like a hot blackjack table. Just shut up. Don’t celebrate, don’t brag, don’t count your chips, don’t taunt the pit boss, don’t say anything.
No, you're not. You dummy.