18 November 2012

The Streak, Cadillac Rainbows, and Lots of Spaghetti

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Streaks come and go. You win some. You lose some.

Every once in a while, you catch a Halley's Comet-like streak and experience something outta this world that comes around once in a lifetime for most people. Whenever a rare moment like that happens, you have to hold on for dear life and surf that magical tidal wave for as long as you can before the ride is over and you come crashing down. And when you eventually crash, you pray that you don't get sucked into the undertow and drown.

Whatever goes up... must come down. It's the law of gravity and sports betting.

On Saturday, we snapped an embarrassing losing streak in college football (see yesterday's post titled "Sometimes It Rains"). When you go 0-4... then 0-5... then 0-6 (which we were since cashing the monsterbetten on Oregon), you immediately lose faith in yourself, and second guess everything and everyone. Logic falls out the window and paranoia strikes deep. In those dark and despondent moments, you have no choice but to take a step back to re-evaluate everything. In the modern era of instant stats, you can often over-analyze a situation and incorporate too many statistics. Information overload!

We went for a zen-like approach of clearing the mind and embracing simplicity. We returned to the A-B-C basics of handicapping and busted our slump. Most importantly, we got our mojo back... which was vital heading into Saturday night with four NBA games on our slate, and at least 6 NFL games on Sunday offering up favorable edges. We picked the best possible time to regain my confidence. There was free money out there ready to be plucked away... but only if I had the balls to go out and get it.

We were en fuego... 11-0 (combined NBA and NFL) going into Sunday Night Football. Due to a weird situation with Big Ben's injuries (see last week's post titled  "The Curious Case of Byron Leftwich"), the line on Baltimore jumped from +3.5 to -3. We got +3.5 in on Monday nigh just before they bookies took the game off the board when word got out about Big Ben's shoulder/rib issues. Our crew was conflicted over taking Pitt +3, or trying to sweep with Balt -3. In the end... we decided that Byron Leftwich was way too rusty and that the outcome would come down to Joe Fucking Flacco stepping up against the iron-clad Steelers' defense.

11-0. Those double digit streaks happen once every four or five years. You have to go way back to March Madness 2008 for my last mega-streak, when I went to Vegas with my brother and Senor, and we hung out with Miami Don at Red Rock for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games. We had tons of fun that trip, mostly because I was in the middle of a double digit heater and we got schwasted during a four-day bender.

Our current streak began on Saturday night. With all the college football picks in (and finishing up 2-2), we eyed a quartet of evening NBA games. We swept them. All of them. 4-0. Helluva way to end the day! I had to work late and woke up late on Sunday, but we went 4-0 in the morning games. We had only one cakewalk (Cincy -3), but on three close close close games (GB -3, TB -1 and Cleveland +9.5) and two of those were decided in overtime. The afternoon games went much smoother (New Orleans -4.5 and OVER 53.5 Pats/Colts) and we went to 6-0 in the NFL. We had only one NBA game on our radar and Brooklyn covered. We improved to 7-0 for the day overall or 11-0 in the last two evenings.

Holy shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!We were all thrilled to go 8-0. Never expected to hit ten in a row, let alone 11.
It's all downhill from there, right?

Would the streak continue, or get thwarted by Sunday Night Football? Baltimore at the Pittsburgh Bumble Bees. If Baltimore won by 4 or more, we'd go 13-0.


Pittsburgh wore their throwback uniforms once again. Al Michaels called them a cross between "bumble bee pajamas" and "prison uniforms." My girlfriend was horrified at the matching black and canary yellow stripe socks.

The Bumble Bees stung first and got off to a 7-0 start. Baltimore was in the hole and I had yet to finish dinner and settle into the game on my couch. Baltimore answered with a FG, and then added a dazzling Jacoby Jones punt return for a TD to make it 10-7. At the start of the 2Q, I hurled cuss words at Baltimore's kicker when he shanked a FG attempt. He could put them up by 6.... yet it remained a three point game.

Both teams traded FGs in the 3Q. It was 13-10 heading into the 4Q. Joey Flacco had yet to throw a TD. In fact he had the same amount of yardage (153 yards) as Byron Leftwich. Flacco was due for a big play, but he struggled to pick apart the  Bumble Bees' gritty defense.

Going into the last five minutes, Baltimore was up by 3... but they could not get in a spot to get any insurance points. Baltimore had the ball facing 3rd and 2 on a couple of instances, and both times they opted for pass plays instead of handing the ball off to Ray Rice and letting him rumble through the trenches for the first down. Nope. Flacco threw an incomplete pass on one and got sacked on the other.

The Bumble Bees got the ball back with a minute left. Crappy field position, but it was up to Leftwich to lead his team to the promised land... or the least... into FG range.

Big Ben's backup faltered. Dreams crushed. Comeback? Never happened.

Baltimore won 13-10. We shipped the +3.5 bet, however, we pushed the -3 wager and slipped to 12-0-1.

Streak over. Dunzo.

Or is it? Johnnie insists it's still on. We pushed a single bet and haven't lost... so technically he has a valid point. I appreciate his sentiment, but in my eyes, the streak halted at 12.

Heck, 12 in a row is one of the most memorable runs I've ever had spread out over two pro sports. 12-0-1 over a 13 game stretch inside of a 30+ hour time frame? Outstanding performance that touts could only dream about selling. I'd love to replicate a sizzling streak like that every time... but it's never that easy. Blind luck? Dumb luck? Who cares.

We finished "Halley's Comet Sunday" with a 7-0-1 record in the NFL. In the last three weeks, we've found a terrific rhythm in the NFL and went 16-5-1 (which breaks down to 11-2 on sides and 4-3-1 on totals). We're ecstatic about those much-improved results after a rocky start with a shit-tastic record of 17-15-3. Around Halloween, we had a meeting and tweaked a few things with HAL420. Ergo, we got our proverbial shit together. Let's hope it lasts the rest of the year.

Okay, this is a total side tangent, but did you see sickest catch of the day? A.J. Green. Love the guy. Cincy's #1 wideout had been hooking me up with at least one TD a week in fantasy football.

Moving on...

We had only one NBA play on Sunday: Brooklyn -3.

The bet I wish we made? The UNDER in Indy/Knicks. I woke up too late to get it in because finished up a deadline around 2:30am and didn't fall asleep until 5am. I woke up after tip off (9am PT) and forgot to set an alarm. Those early-riser games at Noon ET scheduled on the weekends are rough for me, let alone NBA guys who are accustomed to playing in prime time games.
Wisdom of the Ocelot
When NBA teams are playing at noon on the weekends, look at betting the UNDER, especially West Coast teams because they are not used to playing so early.

Bookies factor in the "west coast teams traveling east" into football point spreads and most of the betting public is aware of that trend, but I don't think the public pays as close attention to that rare situation for NBA games. Anyway, betting trend totally blind is not the best way to make a buck, but if you can find a good number, then there's inherent value in betting the UNDER in noon NBA games.

Anyway, the Knicks bounced back after losing to Memphis the other night. 7-1? Not too shabby for Melo and company. They did all of that without Amare. I know... I know... Amare, who?
Our only wager? Brooklyn laying -3 in Sacramento, which seemed like a gift from the offshore bookies. Free money. Who among us doesn't like cherry picking NBA games off a slate of 8 or so games? We faded Sacramento because their coach Keith Smart ain't so smart. The game was not much of a sweat and only made me anxious for a few minutes at the end of the 3Q, when Brooklyn coughed up a big lead and Sacramento  got within 2. That's as close as they'd get. Brooklyn shut the door and won by nine.

I watched the Brooklyn game on via NBA Season Pass and got to scout some of the OKC/Golden State game. NBA Pass is my new favorite toy. The Brooklyn game was perfectly scheduled in between the afternoon NFL games and  Sunday Night Football.
After a 4-0 clip on Saturday, we're riding high with a 5-0 streak.
MLB: 22-11
NBA: 29-20-2
NFL: 33-20-4
College Football: 22-17