17 December 2012

The Story of the Ghost: Giovanni Carmazzi

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

You win some, you lose some. Then you lose some more.

It’s never a perfect world. If some aspect of your life is running good, I guarantee you some other part of your life is suffering.

I rocketed to the top of Pauly’s Pub (a competitive pick’em pool with friends I’ve been running for over a decade and Shamus is the defending champ) and I’m on the money bubble of a confidence pool with a bunch of college buddies. Unfortunately, picking teams without point spreads was the only highlight from Sunday. When it came down to the spread… well, it wasn’t pretty. I’m glad I was fighting off the wook flu and too busy (work projects) to head out to Vegas because I would have lost my shirt and pissed away all that profit we won last weekend.

Sunday NFL Sweat: GB -1, Denver -3, St. Louis -1.5, Pitt -1, Cleveland +1, UNDER 48 Sea/Buf, NE -4 and -3.5

We had two winners and the rest were dogs with fleas. The good? Denver -3 and GB -1.

I was surprised the GB dipped to below a FG, but then again, those Bears-Packers games are always gritty affairs. I’m an avid reader of Steve Rosenbloom’s musings on all things Chicago sports and he has been calling for Lovie Smith’s head for over a year (or more). The Bears got off to a hot start and their defense looked as awesomely impossible to score on as a defense as I had seen in the 21st Century. That’s when the Bears were hit with a rash of injuries… Jay Cutler got hurt and the defense suffered a few setbacks. Plus Lovie Smith is still Lovie Smith… and the wheels promptly fell off the Bears’ bus. The Bears were 7-1 and pundits were penciling them into the NFC Championship game with San Francisco… but that was only midway through the season. Since then, the Monsters of Midway sputtered along and tried to bounce back from an embarrassing loss last week against the Purple People Eaters from Minnesota.

Meanwhile, Green Bay weathered their own shitstorm (injuries, bad play calling, swiss cheese defense) and have slowly gotten back up from the mat after taking it on the chin a few times.  When the line dropped to -1, we couldn’t resist the number. I was wary about Green Bay covering a big spread (e.g. the Detroit Lions last weekend), but -1 seemed like it was too good to be true even if the game was in Chicago. It wasn’t pretty, but Green Bay pulled out the victory. Are they the team to beat in the playoffs? Not really, but no coach wants to have to play at the frozen tundra in January. even if you get to play GB on your own turf, it’s still a troublesome matchup.

Peyton’s offense in Denver improves more and more every game. You can see entire team radiating confidence. That’s what happens when you have Peyton Manning on your squad. Denver’s defense is underrated. Heck, the reason Tim Tebow won all those games last year for the Broncos was simple… the defense kept them in the game. This year with Peyton at the helm, the Broncos’ offense can score on any given possession, so no matter what, they are never quite out of any game if they get behind early.

Denver got off to a hot start and never looked back. Baltimore’s offense is in shambles. They fired their O-coordinator 12 weeks too late. Who was the genius who decided to make Flacco the nucleus instead of Ray Rice? The Ravens got in such a deep hole and the game got so ugly that the local affiliates in SoCal removed the game and gave us a more competitive game instead.

Denver and Green Bay both won and covered which prevented us from having a truly abysmal day. We were way off with St. Louis and Cleveland. Both teams returned to their core-suckiness.

Cleveland had been playing better football the last few weeks, but they regressed and looked totally inept on Sunday. St. Louis is a team that offered up tremendous value all season long, but the team that was 1-0-1 against San Francisco failed to show up against Minnesota.  You knew that Minny and AP (chasing a NFL all-time rushing record) was gonna run the ball up their ass and even though St. Louis knew what was coming they couldn’t stop the AP Express.

Seattle shocked me. I thought their 50+ point performance against Arizona was a fluke because Arizona sucks camel balls, but Seattle came to play against Buffalo.
Wisdom of the Ocelot
Fade the Seachickens on the road, but bet them big at home… except when they play in Canada.
With the game being played in Toronto, we wavered back and forth trying to determine if it was really an “away game” for Seattle or if it should be considered neutral territory. You never know how many Bills fans would make the drive across the border to support their team. In the end, we passed on betting the Seachickens on the road… even though that would have been the sharper play than hitting up the UNDER. It was so ugly that we tore up the ticket mid-way in the 2Q. Both teams almost beat the total by halftime.

The Pittsburgh game was tough to stomach, especially after a shitacular day. Even though the Steelers were down early, I felt confident that Big Ben would rally the troops and take advantage of Tony Romo turnovers in the second half. Although Big Ben sparked a come-from-behind run… Romo did his job and held onto the ball. In overtime, it was Big Ben who made a crucial error when he threw a devestating INT… and that’s all she wrote. Dallas won by a FG and we flushed that turd down the drain.

Had Pitt won, I would not have doubled down on the Pats. The line moved to -3.5 for a few minutes and we jumped on it (we already had Pats -4). That ended up costing us dearly.

The Niners dominated the Pats in the first half. The score should have been in the mid-30s, but the Pats were damn lucky the score was only 17-3 at halftime. Everything that could go wrong… did. Fumbles. Rare Brady INT. Bad penalties. Dropped balls by Welker. Tentative play from Hernandez. Frustrated Brady. The nightmare for the Pats continued at the start of the second half when the Niners extended their lead to 31-3.

Brady woke up in the 3Q. He torched the Niners’ prevent defense and four touchdowns later, the score was tied at 31-31. As soon as the Niners got the ball back, Kaepernick found Crabtree one-on-one. The defender slipped and Crabtree could have walked into the end zone. 38-31. The Pats got another shot on the ensuing possession but failed to convert a vital fourth and 2 situation. They turned the ball over in Niners’ red zone, yet the Niners could only muster up a FG. The scary thing was that even with two minutes to go, the Pats were still in the game… and we had a small glimmer of hope for a backdoor cover. Brady marched the Pats downfield but settled for a FG. They were down by seven points. Sure, we needed three nearly impossible things to happen…
1) Recover an onside kick.
2) Score a TD by the end of regulation and kick the XP for a tie, to force overtime
3) Win the game in OT on a touchdown (and not a FG).
Easy right? With Brady’s arm and his “never give up” attitude, the impossible seemed probable. But the Pats whiffed an onside kick and that was it.

Why did we bet the Pats? They were at home and Brady hates the Niners. He and his old man were bitter than the Niners passed up on local boy Brady (from San Mateo, CA), who slipped to the 6th round. The Jets passed up on Brady too and instead drafted paper mache Chad Pennington. And who did the Niners think would carry the torch after Montana/Young? Hofstra’s Giovanni Carmazzi. That’s right… Giovanni Carmazzi… who never took a snap in a regular season game.

Brady had a chip on his shoulder since 2000. Knowing how Brady’s brain operates, we opted to back Brady because he wanted to burn the Niners badly after they snubbed him. Pros get motivated by random things, but when they are out to prove something to a team/organization, you really can’t stop them. They either fall flat on their face consumed by ire and drowning in their own hubris, or they rise to the occasion and angrily beat the shit out of that chip on their shoulder. You could see the fire in Brady’s eyes in the second half as he brought the Pats down from 28. But his comeback fizzled out. The Pats expended too much energy to get out of their huge deficit and ran out of gas.

Somewhere the ghost of Giovanni Carmazzi was laughing.

In the first half, Brady saved his team points (at least 3 but probably 7) by making a weird shoulder tackle after he tossed an INT to Rodgers. The Niners fumbled the ball two plays later and failed to put any points on the board.

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The media schmucks were billing SF/NE as a potential Super Bowl matchup. If those two meet again, I’m gonna bet Pats big again to make up for this week’s loss. I faded the Pats both times they played the NY Giants in the Super Bowl, but if somehow SF/NE square off in the Super Bowl, there’s no way Belicheat and Brady lose to the Niners twice in the same season.

The Sunday Night Football game was fun to watch if you were a fan… yet a horrendous game to stomach if you had money riding on the Pats. I felt bad for some pro gamblers I know who pounded the UNDER in the game.

Overall, we’re still doing well in the NFL, especially ATS… 35-15-5. However, we’re struggling with over/unders… 19-20-1.

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