Saturday, October 30, 2010
Perhaps that does not come as an absolute shocker, but the amazing thing is that White has room to spare atop both categories. The Atlanta Falcons Pro-Bowler has 54 receptions, nine more than both Hakeem Nicks and Reggie Wayne, who are tied for second. White’s 747 yards put him 38 ahead of Brandon Lloyd and at least 145 clear any other player at his position.
White cemented his status as an elite receiver—if not the elite receiver—last Sunday at the Georgia Dome. And he did it with Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens (who were jabbering and jabbering the entire week leading up to the game) on the other sideline. White hauled in 11 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns while making a one-handed grab, a juggling catch for a 43-yard score, and a leaping snag for a two-point conversion.
Just how good was White on Sunday? Well, let’s just say that Ochocinco (108 yards, one touchdown) and Owens (88 yards, one touchdown) both had big days and their combined numbers just about matched White.
White, who is never shy of talking himself, would have no best-receiver-in-the-league talk during interviews after the win over Cincinnati. But he took the bait without hesitation in an interview with the NFL network on Wednesday.
He was asked where he ranks on the NFL's list of best receivers.
Some tidbits from that interview: "I'm probably right now No. 1 in the league. I'm probably the best receiver in the NFL right now the way I am playing."
Maybe—maybe—Ochocinco and Owens could somehow come up with an argument to suggest otherwise. But there’s no argument here.
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This is an important point and I think you'll see football in a whole new light if you get it. Similar situations pop up a lot and about 95% of the time the coach gets them wrong.
Dallas was down by 18 and on the 6 yard line with 12 minutes to play. Nearly all coaches would have kicked the field goal in that situation. Phillips went for it. The announcers couldn't contain themselves talking about how stupid he was. 15 points is two scores. 11 points is two scores. You should in no circumstances ever risk being down three scores when you could be down only two. The number of times you need to score from here until the end of the game is the only thing that matters.
Phillips was right. They were wrong. I'm going to explain why. Hopefully, I'll be clearer this time.
I think most people agree that there was really only one way to win involving the field goal.
Kick the FG
Hold NY scoreless
Score 2 TDs
Convert 2 pt Conversion
Win in OT
Do all of that and you win. Miss a single piece of it and you lose.
If Dallas went for the touchdown, their path to victory would be:
Make the Touchdown
Hold NY Scoreless
Score 2 TDs
Compare the two options and you see that "Score 2 TDs" and "Hold NY Scoreless" are in both of them. Is there any particular reason to think that in either case, it is more likely that you'll be able to make 2 TDs and hold NY scoreless just because you kicked or went? Not really. Obviously, doing this is unlikely, but its unlikely whether you go for it or not. Whatever probability you want to assign to this, you need to assign it to both scenarios. Since the probability is the same, you can just remove it from the equation.
So ultimately the decision comes down to
Make the touchdown or Kick the FG + Convert the 2 point conversion + Win in OT
Sports bettors should recognize this scenario. Wade Phillips was basically offered a choice between a straight bet and a teaser. One low probability event vs having to complete all 3 higher probability events. You can go ahead and place your own probabilities in there but I think you'll see that the teaser was the wrong choice.
But the analysis doesn't end there. Both of those scenarios involve making both TDs and holding NY scoreless. There was no realistic way that Dallas could have won without doing this if they kicked. There are several ways Dallas could have still won the game even without 2 more TDs and holding NY scoreless if they got the initial TD. They could have won in OT with two TDs and a NY field goal. They could have won in OT with one TD, a 2 point conversion and a field goal.
When you add these scenarios back in to the straight bet, the teaser that Wade Phillips was offered became even less attractive.
I'm sure some of you won't get this. Some will just throw up their hands and say "two scores is always better than 3". Some just don't want to accept that 95% of coaches routinely make the wrong decision. The crowd can't be wrong. The one guy that goes against it must be. But others might get it. If you look closely at what I'm saying and you aren't instantly dismissive, I think you'll eventually come around.
I know its counter intuitive but you'll gain a whole new understanding of football strategy if you really think about it.
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Saturday, October 23, 2010
Betting the NFL last season was a chalk bettor’s dream come true. Double-digit road favorites covered like they were playing the Washington Generals every weekend. Seasoned bettors fully expected the books to adjust their opening lines and destroy the public the second half of the season. It never happened.
This season is different. Underdogs are 54-31-9 through six weeks, and double-digit road spreads on the road are rarer than a millionaire at a Gamblers Anonymous meeting. Eleven out of fourteen games in the NFL were decided by a touchdown or less this past weekend. Six were by a field goal or less.
Parity is back in the NFL. Adjust your betting card accordingly.
Underdogs worth wagering this week:
CAROLINA PANTHERS (+3) vs San Francisco 49ers
CAROLINA: There’s no sugarcoating Carolina’s early struggles: the Panthers will finish in the cellar of the stellar NFL South this season. Still, getting three points is a gift here. Home team coming off a bye playing a west coast team in an early game always has great value. The good news is that Steve Smith is back this week. The two-headed monster of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart will keep the Panthers competitive in what will likely be a punt-a-thon decided by field position. Turnovers will be key in this game and having Matt Moore back at QB instead of rookie Jimmy Clausen is a plus in that department.
SF: Mike Singletary has given his team fire with his unbridled passion but what he hasn’t done is give them a competent offense. San Fran has weapons on offense but lacks a QB to execute and consistently get them the ball. Anyone who’s watched Alex Smith this season knows he consistently misses throws on crucial third downs. It doesn’t matter what defense Smith is facing if he can’t execute a simple 5-yard hitch or slant. It almost makes sense to drop back in coverage and let him make a mistake rather than send a pass rush the way he’s playing. Bottom line is that Frank Gore can’t do it by himself. The Niners D is legit but this team needs Alex Smith to put it together to have any shot of winning on the road. Don’t count on it.
Minnesota Vikings (+3) at Green Bay Packers
GREEN BAY: Betting against the Pack in Lambeau has always been a big no-no. Don’t be afraid to fade them at home because this is nowhere near the same team that was undefeated and 4-1 Superbowl favorites a month ago. Since then, their injury report has grown longer than the Starr Report. The biggest loss is TE Jermichael Finley who was on his way to becoming the next Antonio Gates before he went down for the season with a torn meniscus. The offense has sputtered without Finley and RB Ryan Grant (also out for the season), averaging 15.5 points during their downward spiral back to .500. The D took another blow when they lost the perennially reliable Nick Collins to a broken wrist. Add that to losing half their secondary (Al Harris, Atari Bigby) and this team barely resembles the Packers who stormed out of the gates as legit Superbowl contenders.
MINNESOTA : Forget the tiresome Favre theatrics surrounding this game. The key to this game is getting pressure on Aaron Rodgers and the Minnesota DL still excels in this category (2nd in the league with 21 sacks). Rodgers needs to have a big day against a Minny pass defense (3rd in the NFL) has been solid all season long. Jared Allen and the Williams wall won’t make it easy for him.
On the other side of the ball, Green Bay is a team that Randy Moss has consistently shown up against throughout his career. Expect the Vikings to test the wounded Packer secondary early and find Moss for an early score. This offense simply has too many weapons to continue struggling. If they can get in a rhythm and build a lead in the first half, pounding Adrian Peterson in the second half will earn them a crucial division victory and put them back in the playoff picture.
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Thursday, October 14, 2010
NY Jets 4 1 0 .800 135 81 2-1 2-0 3-0 3-1
New England 3 1 0 .750 131 96 2-0 1-1 2-1 3-1
Miami 2 2 0 .500 66 92 0-2 2-0 1-2 1-2
Buffalo 0 5 0 .000 87 161 0-3 0-2 0-3 0-4
North Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
Baltimore 4 1 0 .800 92 72 2-0 2-1 2-1 4-1
Pittsburgh 3 1 0 .750 86 50 1-1 2-0 0-1 1-1
Cincinnati 2 3 0 .400 100 102 1-1 1-2 1-1 1-2
Cleveland 1 4 0 .200 78 97 1-2 0-2 1-1 1-2
South Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
Jacksonville 3 2 0 .600 107 137 2-1 1-1 1-0 3-1
Houston 3 2 0 .600 118 136 1-2 2-0 1-0 2-0
Indianapolis 3 2 0 .600 136 101 2-0 1-2 0-2 2-2
Tennessee 3 2 0 .600 132 95 1-2 2-0 0-0 1-2
West Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
Kansas City 3 1 0 .750 77 57 2-0 1-1 1-0 2-1
Oakland 2 3 0 .400 111 134 2-1 0-2 1-0 1-2
Denver 2 3 0 .400 104 116 1-1 1-2 0-0 1-3
San Diego 2 3 0 .400 140 106 2-0 0-3 0-2 1-2