Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tyler's Investments: TURKEY EDITION - November 28th

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  From all of us at LOCKS of the Week, and those of us with Tyler's Investments, we wish you a happy, wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  May it be full of good tidings and great food.

Now, let's get to our investments of the week.   We won't have a Wednesday podcast this week, so instead we offer you each of the Challengers' and Tyler's Investments here on the blog.  We start with our challengers.  Up first, our season standings leader...

John in CT (10-5-1)

North Carolina -5.5 vs Duke
Hawaii -7 vs Army

Rams +9.5 at San Francisco

Seahawks -6 (normalized to -4.5) vs New Orleans

Say Hello to Ottis (5-3)

Baylah -13.5 ovah TCU  - we will go back to da well heah aftah the loss last week
Clemson +4 @ South Carolina

Steelers +3 at Baltimore...the road to the 'offs continues
Pats -9 at Houston

Ron in NJ (4-4)

Nebraska -3 vs Iowa
UCONN +3 vs Rutgers

Cowboys -9.5 vs Oakland

Cardinals +3 at Philadelphia

Andy in Seattle (3-4-1)

Texas A&M +4.5 at Missouri
Arizona State -12 vs Arizona

Cowboys -9.5 vs Raiders
Seahawks -4.5 vs New Orleans*

*For investment purposes, I'll normalize the spread to the most advantageous number, in this case -4.5.  This means John in CT will also be awarded a win if Seattle covers -4.5.

Now to Tyler for his Thanksgiving Weekend Investments...

Tyler (8-8)

Alabama -10.5 at Auburn
Southern Cal USC -3.5 vs UCLA

Broncos -4.5 at KC
Seahawks -6.5 (-4.5) vs New Orleans

The collaboration of picks yields some very unique advantages this week.   We will normalize the Seahawks line to -4.5, as mentioned, so that all persons get optimal ability to cover.  Unlike last week, with few common picks, we have two very common games for investments:  Cowboys -9.5 and Seahawks -4.5.

Three people picked the Seahawks to cover this week on Monday Night Football.   Two picked Dallas to cover against the Raiders.   This indicates great confidence in both teams.  Good luck to all of the investors and here's to another good week.

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: November 27th

Gobble up for a Turkey Edition of

Dave's (womp!)
LOCKS (crash!)
of the Week (screech)

This week, we're going to go back to our roots.  When it all started, our LOCKS of the Week feature showcased exactly three NFL games and no college picks.  We also were more verbose and added some entertainment and catchy puns into our individual picks.  Check out our very first LOCKS of the Week on this blog:

Dolphins +3 vs Jets
Falcons +3 vs Lions
Texans +6.5 at Steelers  plus the over of 43 pts
posted September 3, 2008

and how'd they do??

Jets 20, Dolphins 14 (loss)
Falcons 34, Lions 21 (win)
Steelers 38, Texans 17 (loss); over of 43 DID hit.

We've come a long way since then, and we've featured a multitude of picks from all over football - some weeks up to 7 games at a time, and others only two, but this week, we're back to three NFL picks so let's see how we do in 2013!

To the picks...!

We begin with an addendum:  All week long we hoped to see the Cowboys go up to a ten point favorite, but it didn't happen, so we're going to leave that game alone.  I definitely think the Raiders will at least stay in the game for a while, but it's *just* small enough of a point spread to back off.

Now to the Turkey game we WILL pick, in the Crab City, we're taking the Steelers to cover +3 against the Ravens.  Steelers are on the road, but they've looked a lot better of late.  Pit is able to run the ball much better with Le'Veon Bell, and Roethlisberger has completed some nice passes to the likes of Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown, and Jerhicho Cotchery.  It's not always the same guy who stands out every week, but offensively, the Steelers look much better.

By contrast, the Ravens, still strong defensively, look really miserable on the other side of the ball.  Joe Flacco has been a complete joke this season, throwing 14 interceptions against this 14 touchdown passes, and this is including a run of four games where he's thrown at least one INT.  The last game without an interception?  Would you believe, their last game against the Steelers?

Nonetheless, we feel like the better Quarterback, Offense, and potentially defense, will win out.  Steelers +3 at Baltimore

Next, we're looking at the Carolina Panthers at home against the Bucs.  One might think the Bucs are on a roll and ready to make things very interesting for Carolina.  You'd think correctly, but bear in mind, the Panthers destroyed the Bucs every which way in their previous matchup.  At home, having already avoided the potential trap game with Miami, we feel like the Panthers should go back to covering the spread as they've managed to do for a large part of the year.  It's rare this year to see the Panthers lose out "against the spread."  As a matter of fact, the Bucs' three game winning streak would lead a lot of bettors to take them on the strength of momentum.  Be careful my friends!  Vegas has you right where they want you.  Instead, we'll go with the more complete team, a pretty good offense with Cam Newton and Steve Smith among others, plus a healthier starting RB tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.  Defensively, the Panthers will rough it up against Tampa Bay and unlike the previous three weeks, the Panthers would be smart enough, we would think, to limit giveaways which Tampa used for each of their last two wins.  The Panthers are giving 8 and that went down from 8.5: we'll take the adjustment.  Panthers -8 vs Tampa Bay.

Finally, we roll to the California Coast, and take a game I absolutely *love*.  The Bengals are returning to the field off of a bye week AND they're going to play a Chargers team that just won a dramatic game at Kansas City.  The Bengals have great offensive personnel -- and Andy Dalton, but their defense is what's really going to shine through.  An assortment of pass rushers and reasonable coverage down field will take apart Philip Rivers.  Bear in mind, Rivers' receiver options are as good as they've been with a re-born Antonio Gates among others.  Nonetheless, I think A.J. Green of Cincinnati is going to present a whole lot of matchup problems for a suspect San Diego secondary.  As long as the Bungles can run the ball effectively they're going to take this one in San Diego.  It's a close game, but we have Cincinnati.   Bengals +2 at San Diego.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the games, and the meals.   We'll also post "Tyler's Investments" tomorrow morning along w/ challenger picks.  Enjoy the weekend!

Recap:  Steelers +3 at BAL; Panthers -8 vs TB; Bengals +2 at SD

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tyler's Investments: Tyler 3-1, John 3-1, Andy 1-3, Ottis 2-2, Ron 2-2

This week was very competitive on "Tyler's Investments."   Tyler had a good week, capped by the Niners' domination of the Redskins.  Overall, he went 3-1:

Hits:  Ok. St. +10.1, Chargers +4.5, 49ers -5.5
Misses: Texas A&M +4.5

John in CT (3-1)

John had the best week of the challengers.  Really, I think we've arrived where I think JOHN is the one everyone is challenging.  He's been great!   John retains first place in the overall standings after a 3-1 weekend.

Hits: Duke -6, Jaguars +10, Rams -1
Misses: K-State -4.5

Andy in Seattle (1-3)

Andy had a near wipeout week, but salvaged the week with a gutty Patriots win on Sunday night football.  To be honest, it was a very tough week to bet college football across the board.  Lots of very strange outcomes in the NCAA, onward.

Hits: Pats +2.5
Misses: Saints -9.5, Oregon -20.5, UCLA +2.5

Say Hello to Ottis (2-2)

The Oat Man also had a rough week with college picks, but rebounded nicely with his two NFL picks… he implemented a little contrarian logic to select the Cardinals, and that made all the difference.

Hits: Steelers +1, Cardinals -1
Misses: Houston -4, Baylor -10.5

Ron in NJ (2-2)

Ron had the only winning record in college picks between our investors, but unfortunately, the G-Men did not come through for him in the NFL.

Hits: Vandy +3, Min. +16
Misses: Giants -2.5, Lions -9.5

Now, let's bring up the season totals for our investors…

Season Standings

John: 10-5-1
Ottis: 5-3
Tyler: 8-8
Ron: 4-4
Andy: 3-4-1

As mentioned, John and Tyler have been doing games throughout the contest, but the others joined in  two weeks later so we go by percentage points to compute placement in the standings.

Monday, November 25, 2013

LOCKS of the Week Season Total: 25-23-2

At last!!  A winning week on LOCKS.  The NFL was the real star of the show.  In a week where many underdogs ruled the day, we fired on two high profile 'dogs and nailed them:  Cowboys +2.5 at NYG and Patriots +2.5 vs Denver.

In an interesting development, both teams only won by three points, but it was enough.  Big wins for us on LOCKS of the Week.  The sole loss was UCLA +1.5, and for that game, it wasn't that surprising to see them lose.  They had a shot to take the game even near the very end.

Overall, LOCKS went 2-1, bringing the season total to 25-23-2.   LOCKS of the Week were going down in flames, and it was great to see this weekend restore order.   We'll go back at it again for Thanksgiving, probably on Wednesday we will post our Turkey Weekend LOCKS of the Week.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: November 25th

I haven't had the chance to blog as much lately -- time to make up for lost time.

I've felt pretty gluttonous with Coca Colas.  Would you ever take the daring step of drinking 3 cokes in a row?   Something about the Coca Cola cans in my fridge makes them extra dense feeling.. I mean, they taste GREAT!

As we go along the evening, I'm going to type other things that pop into my head, rather than write the entire blog at once.

I'd like to denote that Wes Johnson has incredible hops... great speed too.  He might be a dark horse candidate for the NBA Slam Dunk contest this year.   Who knew??

Remember Windows Phone? What happened to that thing... I wonder if anyone still has one.

I still hold out hope for a Pat Benatar Super Bowl Halftime show... but that is never going to happen.  Sigh.

Superstitions are overrated... except for hockey.

What makes a bus "double dutch?"  And why is a dutch oven disgusting whereas a flying dutchman is just a burger with cheese and no bun?

The other day I read about Whole Foods Market brisket.   Everyone raved about it, so I checked it out for myself... you know what?  It is fantastic.  It's not "rare" or even "medium rare"... I think they are forced to cook it medium well to well, but despite that, it's tremendous.  Succulent and tasty.  Really good.

I think that's all for now!   Catch you all soon.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Contrarian Sunday: NFL Week 12

Last week, I looked at the money lines for underdog teams in the NFL and fired on most of them who were getting odds, i.e. at least +100 for every 100 dollars wagered... that usually equates to a one to one return.   100 dollars wagered equals a 100 dollar win.  A money line is a bet on a team to win outright.

At any rate, here are the current money line odds for underdog teams this week - NFL Week 12:

Bucs +320 at Detroit
Jaguars +380 at Houston
Vikings +190 at Green Bay
Chargers +170 at Kansas City
Dolphins +185 vs Carolina
Steelers +105 at Cleveland
Jets +160 at Baltimore
Raiders +105 vs Tennessee
Colts +135 at Arizona
Cowboys +115 at NY Giants
Patriots +105 vs Denver
Redskins +210 vs San Francisco

You don't have to try them all, but based on the return for some of the more unlikely picks and the parit in the NFL, there's a good chance that if you bet on most of these ML's at once, you'll come out ahead.  Try it out!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tyler's Investments vs Ron, John, Andy, and Ottis: November 20th

Four Challengers this week.  One written, and two on air (at  Let's break down who everyone picked one by one.

Ron in NJ

First to Ron in NJ, who wrote in the picks this week.

Vandy +3 vs Tenn.
Min. +16 vs Wisc.

Next he presents "The Stone Cold Lead Pipe Lock of the Millennium:" Giants -2.5 vs Dallas
and Lions -9.5 vs TB

John in CT

First, his "Get Out of Debt Play of the Year:" Kansas State -4.5 vs Oklahoma
Duke -6 at Wake Forest

Jaguars +10 at Houston
Rams -1 vs Chicago
and for S&G's he offered Dolphins +4.5 vs Carolina, but this will not be used for investment purposes.

Andy in Seattle

Andy didn't come up with a descriptive title for his strongest lock of the week but he did use some very entertaining mock voices on the air for it!  He has Oregon -20.5 at Arizona, plus...

UCLA +2.5 vs ASU

Patriots +2.5 vs Denver
Saints -9.5 at Atlanta

Say Hello to Ottis

Houston -4 vs Cincy
Baylor -10.1*  vs Ok. State (*We normalize the point spread so that any duplicate picks can use the same line across the board, and we opted to take Tyler's 10.1 spread as the line of record)

Steelers +1 at Cleveland
Cardinals -1 vs Indy

Tyler's Investments

Now we come to the namesake of the Investments Feature, Tyler himself.  Here are his medium to bold investments:

"The Royal Embossed FDIC Insured Triple Platinum Diamond... [I forgot the rest of the words] LOCK OF THE WEEK," is Oklahoma State +10.5
Texas A&M +4.5 at LSU

Chargers +4.5 at KC
49ers -5.5 at Washington

Good luck to all, and may the investments bring good fortune!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: November 20th

Here we go!  Rebound week on

Dave's (blam)
LOCKS (snap)
of the Week (swat)

Three picks this week -- only ONE in college due to the increasingly frustrating incompetence I've had of late with NCAA Games.   I considered Texas A&M +4 at LSU, but that fire was too hot to cook in, so instead we'll go with a local team.

I *love* UCLA +1.5 at home against Arizona State for several reasons.  Number one, a home dog is a great play in most situations, especially if the oddsmakers say the matchup is close.  This matchup definitely is -- it's the top two teams in the Pac 12's South division.  Number two, UCLA is rolling since their brutal two-step at Stanford and Oregon, and their defense looks great.  Brett Hundley is back on a roll and looking pretty sharp throwing the ball.  Number three and most importantly, I *can't lose!!!!!!*  With a point spread of just a point and a half, there are only two logical outcomes from this game -- UCLA wins and I win the pick OR UCLA loses.  Quite frankly, I am pretty darn happy with either outcome.  We love the Bruins +1.5 at home.

Next, to the NFL, along the same lines, I am selecting Dallas +2.5 at the Giants in the Meadowlands.  It follows the same logic.  With that small a point spread, and the Cowboys coming off a bye, it either means a) the Cowboys most likely win outright or b) the Giants beat the Cowboys.  I've had just about enough of the Cowboys -- they've been such a circus quite frankly that they don't deserve to win a game the rest of the season.  I will quite happily trade one LOCK of the Week for a Cowboys loss that ends their season.  Once again, this pick presents a Dave "can't lose!" special.   Besides all of the above, the Cowboys are simply a better roster than the Giants with or without Sean Lee.   The QB matchup favors Tony Romo, and I think the Giants have had one lucky break too many facing depleted rosters and backup quarterbacks.  Something has to give, logic has to set in, and we believe, barring some untold tomfoolery, the Cowboys will finally get it done and win.  Bear in mind, Dallas already beat the Giants to open the year back in AT&T Stadium.  Between winning the pick or the Cowboys losing, I can't really go wrong.  Cowboys +2.5 at NYG.

Finally, if you thought I had win-win's in the previous two picks, you ain't seen nothing yet!  I am BIG on the Patriots at home to rebound greatly from their loss at Carolina.   It helps that the Pats play the weakest defense they've played in some time and a familiar foe: Peyton Manning.  It would be incomprehensible to forsee the Patriots losing two games in a row even as beat up as they've looked lately.   Not to mention -- Ron Gronkowski looks great off the Injured Reserve.  Even if the Pats can't come through and cover as a 3 point home dog... the Patriots lose!  I think we're all winners here.   Patriots +3 at home.

On a can't lose weekend, here's our LOCKS recap:  UCLA +1.5 at home, Cowboys +2.5 at NYG, Patriots +3 at home.

Tyler's Investments: Tyler 1-3, Andy 2-1-1, Ron 2-2, John 2-1-1

Here's how Tyler and the Challengers did last week on "Tyler's Investments"…

Tyler was not so hot as he was a week ago, he went 1-3.

Andy in Seattle went 2-1-1, hitting both college picks and pushing one NFL game and losing the other.  

Ron in NJ went 2-2, splitting his college and NFL games.

John in CT went 2-1-1, split the two college games, won with TB, and pushed with the Bears.

Head to Head

Tyler and Andy went head to head with Houston vs Louisville with Tyler giving -15.5 and Andy taking the 15.5 with Houston.  Houston covered the spread giving Andy the head to head win.

Tyler also went head to head with Ron in NJ w/ Packers/Giants.   Tyler took GB as the underdog and Ron went with the Giants, laying the -6.5.  The Giants won convincingly, giving Ron the head to head win.

Checker on Checkers

As for Checkers on Checkers, i.e. common picks between our investors, both Andy and John took Duke +3.5, and they won outright.  Also, Ron and John took K-State -10.5 but they only beat TCU by two points, so both persons lost the pick.

Season Standings

John: 7-4-1
Ottis: 3-1
Andy: 2-1-1
Ron: 2-2
Tyler: 5-7

As we rotate persons into the challenger spots, some of our investors will have a few "games in hand." Generally speaking, I will go with percentage points to compute placement in the standings.

LOCKS of the Week Season Total: 23-22-2

Man, there was no way around it.   We had a BAD week on LOCKS of the week, the worst week of the year.  The most frustrating thing about it is that most of the damage was preventable.  I have been positively hideous with College Games this month, to the point where I have one win in College picks in the last *two weeks.*   When I picked games last week, my original plan was to stay with Ball State and only do the two NFL LOCKS.  But no!  Instead, I felt a little cocky and elected to take two top 5 teams to cover their respective point spreads:  Ohio State and Alabama.  Neither one did.   One of the biggest problems with my move is that both teams were on the road and it was late in the season.  It was not a high leverage move.

That, more than anything, is what put me in a huge hole for LOCKS of the Week.   I was having the best season of the year, and because of it, a 1-4 week turns a pretty serious season record into a .500 record.  The season total is now 23-22-2

This is the most disappointed I've been with LOCKS of the Week all year.  I just can't do it anymore -- the college picks have been so bad that I considered taking a week off.  I almost considered taking a week off of picks altogether but we will not give up.  AND, we're going to go back to the well with College and I *promise* you, we will have a winning week in College picks before the season is over. The selections get less obvious with each week, knowing how important the games are, but there are those diamonds in the rough.  Now, let's break down last week's picks.

The Hits:

Carolina -1.5

I felt pretty good about this one all week, and having the line at only 1.5 for a home team on Monday Night was, if nothing else, a pretty good decision.  Even if it didn't hit, I would feel pretty good about going that way.  It was close!  It took a tight game and a questionable officiating call to seal the deal, but the Panthers are hot.   It's tempting to take them *again* but you always want to be careful about overdoing it with the same team.

The Misses:

Ball State +9.5
Ohio State -33
Alabama -25
Saints -3.5

The Saints had numerous chances to win more convincingly, and as we always say with gambling: the two things you can't account for are turnovers and injuries.   You can't bet on either one taking place even if a particular team is known for giveaways, like the Giants.  As it was, the Saints pick lost by half a point… seeing the half point was ominous from the get-go.  I wanted that at 3… I considered buying it down to 3 or using the point spread from another source, but as this was one of my "personal wagers", it was not ethically feasible to opt for a more favorable point spread on a source I didn't use.


As to the three college misses, Ball State was still a great play and I don't regret using them at all -- it just didn't work out.  The other two however were just a desperation move I could have avoided.  It was simply a bad idea.  Now with that said, next week, Ohio State is at home to play Indiana, and that might actually be worth taking.  We'll see.  'Bama -- they were due.  They'd gone nearly two months covering the spread and it figured they were bound to lose one, but I thought maybe there was a chance they'd run it up as they did with Kentucky on the road.  No dice.

One other disconcerting fact is that LOCKS have not had a 3-0 (or 4-0) week to date.  Usually LOCKS of the Week get one of those turkey weeks, but we will accept the consistency (this week aside) over the rare 3-0 week.   We'll try to turn it around this time with some new picks here on LOCKS of the Week.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: November 18th

I have some thoughts to share about my experience going to ESPN's College Gameday on location at USC, but first there was one thing I want to get off my chest.

I picked up Brandon Knight and Brandon Jennings for a fantasy basketball team this year.  These two point guards switched places over the offseason.  Jennings used to play for the Bucks.  Knight was point guard for the Pistons.   So I had them going.  Jennings, who I would call "Golden Boy", was hurt to start the season, but he came back about two weeks ago and had a pretty productive two weeks.

MEANWHILE, Knight does absolutely NOTHING, can't score a basket to save his life and then jacks up his hamstring and hits the shelf.   This was after he was already hurt earlier in the season.  Then I read an article from a few months ago that said "Knight blames Pistons for low production."  You know what?  Brandon Knight, you can get lawst!    I saw both Jennings and Rodney Stuckey produce very well for the Pistons, Stuckey going back a few years, and Jennings over the last two weeks.  The Pistons are not the reason for your low production.  The reason for Brandon Knight's low production is because he @*$%@% sucks!!!  This weekend, I had enough:  I cut Brandon Knight and told him to take a hike!   Last night, I saw Jennings collect 7 assists in the first *half* against the Lakers, including a phenomenal alley oop off the backboard to Andre Drummond.  That's all the evidence I need. 

Thanks for letting me get that out..  on to the good stuff from our blog.

So you want to be on ESPN College Gameday?  The key is to get there early.  It all started at 4am.  I probably didn't have to wake up at 4am on a Saturday morning, but you know?  I didn't want to take any chances.   Gameday was at USC this week, on campus no less as opposed to the Coliseum Site (grody). 

Here's a few tips I learned from reading an article about the show from the Upper Deck Blog, which had a piece about attending "Gameday", and from my own experience:

Parking on campus is not happening before 6am... SC has a reputation of being a bunch of captain "no-funs" in many respects.  Coach used to work there and he tells me they have a stuffy attitude in certain areas.   At any rate, I go over to the Figueroa gate, which is open 24 hours.  What they DON'T tell you is that none of the parking structures on campus will allow parking before 6am unless you're faculty/staff/student.  Now, how lame is that?   I asked if there are any convenient local parking options near there and they weren't aware of one.

So, I was on my own.  4:30 am in the morning and still looking for parking.  Usually I'd park at Culver station and take the train, but there was no way I'd make it without getting hosed out of a good seat completely.  The first train to SC left at 5:08 and arrived at the Campus at 5:28... I really needed to be on-site at McCarthy Quad, where they set up the studio, around 4:45.  So I drove around, checked for meters, even tried to park at the hotel across the street which didn't work, and went back to Figueroa Blvd.  I turned at this one street behind the Shrine Auditorium in order to circle back to Hoover and try Jefferson Blvd for meters.  Then I checked for meters on the "little street" as I went along, and BEHOLD... there was a block worth of unmetered public street parking next to an apartment building, right on that street!  It was barely around the corner and a block away from SC.   I mean, what fantastic luck!   I wouldn't park on this street regularly but early on a Saturday morning, it was worth the risk, so I parked the car.

Next tip... don't even bother with costumes.   I didn't realize the extent to which they screen prospective fans on the show.  They really don't want any shenanigans, and the same applies to the signs people use on TV.  Actually ONE sign slipped through the cracks (a highly inappropriate Jonathan Martin related sign, see Deadspin for details on the elaborate plot they had to use to get it displayed), but normally they get kiboshed.  So I go in, with my Gorilla costume, ready to get to a spot where they can catch me on camera.   However, the producers, and some sponsors run through each of the guys individually, and even give you forms to sign to authorize your likeness on television.  This is required in order to enter one of two "pits" where the majority of fans are caught on camera.  I went for the side-pit behind the auxiliary stage on the right (it has a football field for a floor).   The production crew was unsure of how to assess my gorilla costume.  They asked me "what's the gorilla costume for?" and I said "no reason."  So they did not allow me to go all the way to the front of the side pit, but they did let me take a spot on the Coke Zero grandstand, a small section of bleachers behind the side pit where you can, actually, get a very nice view of the set.  However they told me to stand by to see how they rule on the gorilla suit.

So I'm at the bleachers, but first row, far left side facing the set because it would line me up with the side set.  Little did I know, it would line me up perfectly with the MAIN set too, more on this later.  I was ready to go... some frat guys and coeds were joining me in the section trying to set up this "lumberjack" getup with fake plastic Axes to "cut down Stanford's Tree" so to speak.  Then, just before air time, the producer guy comes up and asks me to step aside... I thought "uh oh, this isn't good news."

Two producers (or maybe sponsors I'm not keeping track), two cops, and the USC Director of Campus Security all have me in front of them and they give me the bad news:  I am not allowed to use my Gorilla Costume on the air.  I couldn't use any part of it, even the robe, and they asked me to take it all off.  They said they'd keep it safe and give it back to me at the end of the show.  Fortunately for them, I had a shirt on underneath so, although very disappointed, I agreed to take it off.   I was so distraught that I considered just leaving the set entirely and going home, but at the end of the conversation, the producers said "we feel bad about this, we're going to give you something at the end of the show, we'll set you up."

Slightly dejected, but understanding, I returned to my spot in the grandstand.   I think one important consideration to make about the grandstand is that they also do NOT allow signs in either this area or the side pit... however, it's a smaller area and actually just as great a frequency of getting on camera as the main pit, and possibly more exposure.  Costumes they don't allow either -- I think the sticking point was the mask... the mask was just not going to fly w/ the crew.  It's possible they want to prevent the scene from turning into a circus a la "Let's Make a Deal."  I think I could have gotten away with using a Dodgers wig, but not a full blown monkey costume.  With all that decided, I went through with the show and looked around.

Well folks, it was a very festive scene.  Gameday is an experience I highly recommend for anyone who loves college football.  The grandstand is a great new addition to the set... you get a seat, first of all, you're elevated such that you can really see everything from every angle, the little path between main pit and side pit both sets, you're right in front of the jumbotron which presents the live feed of the show, it's  tremendous spot.  THEN, it hit me that, once they pointed a camera at Desmond Howard, stage right, it positioned him on a direct line of sight from where I was!   So I looked over to the jumbotron, and it showed I was right over his shoulder!!!  Hahahahahahahahahaha, can you believe that???   So, I took my plastic axe and started to do really silly things with it.  First I did the chopping motion like everyone else in the grandstand did.  Then I bit into it.  Then I was doing the swimming motion with my arms.  Then I was fistpumping.  Then I Kapernicked a few times.  Then I started pointing back and forth.   Towards the end of the show I was doing some bizarre combination of all of these and then broke out into a "robot dance" out of the blue.  Here's how it looked (courtesy of my friend "Tims" from the message boards):

That was fun... I was only able to go to Gameday myself, due to the impossibly early hour on the West Coast, but I still had a great time... I'm glad a lot of my friends were able to see me on TV.  That angle was money.

That left the matter of the "consolation prize."   As the show wrapped up, the producer came over and awarded me two Buffalo Wild Wings gift cards and he thanked me for being so cooperative.  I told him that it was very generous and kind of him to offer these and thanked him for the privilege.  After hanging around campus for a few minutes after the program (you should have seen the whole campus erupt when Lee Corso picked the Trojans to win the game), I walked back to my car and drove home.  THEN, once I got back, I looked up the value on each card.  The cards were worth 50 dollars each for a total of 100 bones!  How great is that??  

A few other comments about the production:  It's a very well done show.   I am happy to report that the people you see on the air, Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, and Desmond Howard, are the same upbeat personalities on the air that they are off the air.  During commercial breaks, all of them would have fun chatting with each other, the chemistry is as bold as a marker.  I had no idea that random fans from other schools also would go to Gameday, just to soak in the ESPN Gameday signage experience.   Gameday has just become a phenomenon of its own.  I'd be intrigued to see what a Gameday Episode was like in the late 90's when it was just getting started.  I grew up forever seeing this show, and really, most of the same guys have been hosting it as long as I can remember.

The most comical of these "random fans" were a bunch of Auburn fans who came all the way to Gameday and into the side pit just so they could catch Gameday's *remote* interview with Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn who was at Auburn preparing for the game that afternoon.  I actually thought that was pretty wild!  Good job on their part supporting their coach.  They even had another random joker who represented Florida, complete with the Gators hat and a Tim Tebow Jersey.

The place was just packed... an excellent move by USC and ESPN to move the Gameday site to McCarthy Quad within USC over the Coliseum... the Coliseum is great for the game, but the peristyle and the site itself is a little dry and industrial -- it's not an ideal location for TV.   McCarthy Quad was a much better representation of SC itself, and hopefully Gameday will return there the next time around.

Did you guys know there was a burrito truck on site that was doling out free burritos?  Boy I missed that one!!!!  However, Gameday also passed around free donuts during the show and I took one for my enjoyment.  Anyway, after Gameday, and going home, I ate sandwich I bought from Ralphs on the way back.  It's called a Bayou Bomber: a roast beef sandwich with jack cheese with a chipotle dressing, a mild jalapeno pepper, served on foccacia bread.  It was absolutely amazing.   Truly the best thing I ate all day.

Later that afternoon I took a one hour nap, then watched the end of some wild college action, including an unbelievable miracle catch at Auburn to win the game vs Georgia.  THEN I saw the USC game against Stanford and could not *believe* how awesome it was.  I had a feeling the whole afternoon that SC could compete with Stanford... I really thought our o line and d line were at least as good as theirs, but while true, I have to admit, Stanford was getting the better of SC in the second half.   SC held through and somehow, SOME WAY, they won the game!   What an incredible, HUGE victory for USC!  I was so pumped, but eventually I was tired.  By then I had been up a while.  Overall, I was awake for 18 of the last 19 hours.  An exhausting day came to an end after I did some online holiday shopping.

Time for some other thoughts, if you won't mind indulging me...

I don't care *what* the fox says!  What is the big deal?

It was a huge weekend for the entire LA area... we can go back to Thursday when UCLA had their own huge victory against Washington.  That was a big, BIG win for the Bruins.   Then the Kings swept all three NY area teams on the road.  Then, SC's win, and you can even include the Lakers' win over Detroit on Sunday Night and the Clippers beating the Nets the night before.

I really took it on the chin with hypothetical wagers.   It was easily the worst weekend of the year for LOCKS of the Week.   I just had a bad feeling the whole time.   My brain was nagging me not to take the two enormous point spreads for Ohio State and Alabama, but I did it anyway.  As a result, I'm going to go 0 for my first 4 and potentially 0-5 if the Patriots beat the Panthers tomorrow night.

Saturday night, I had a really weird feeling as I went to bed... I felt like I was really shutting down but I couldn't lie still either.  That was, I think, the direct result of drinking a Venti Cafe Latte from Starbucks only hours before going to sleep.

If you try to drive into a chicken restaurant, and a ragged guy with beads starts walking to your car, keep on driving.   He probably just wanted to sell me some beads but I didn't want to take any chances.  Hopefully I didn't hurt his feelings.

I think that's all for now.  Hope you all have a good Monday!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tyler's Investments vs Andy in Seattle and Ron in NJ: November 13th

This week, Tyler tries to have back to back winning weeks.  He takes on two new on-air challengers plus John in CT's written picks.  Here's how it broke down.

Tyler's Picks:

Oregon -25.5 (vs Utah)
Louisville -15.5 (vs Houston)

Colts -2.5 at TEN
Packers +6.5 at NYG

Andy in Seattle's Picks:

Houston +15.5 vs L'Ville
Duke +3.5 vs Miami (FL)

Saints -3 vs SF
Chargers -1.5 at MIA

Ron in NJ's Picks:

UCLA -2.5 vs WASH
K. State -10.5 vs TCU

Giants -6.5 vs GB
Jags +6.5 vs ARI

John in CT's Written Picks:

Duke +3.5
Kansas State -10.5* vs TCU (John used -11.5 but we'll use 10.5 for investment purposes)

Bears -3 vs BAL
Bucs +1.5 vs ATL

Good luck to everyone and their investments!  You can hear them for yourself on this week's Dave in the City Podcast.

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: November 13th

A short week!  Time for an new edition of

Dave's (clank)
LOCKS (rrrrrrrr)
of the Week (fwap!)

Honestly, I couldn't come up with many games at all on this week's schedule.  Here are some of the ideas I *was* going to go with:

  • Pick Florida State to cover a 30+ point spread.  I considered it, but there's too much of an element of the "intentional mush" involved.  It also seemed silly to  hinge LOCKS on the mere fact that all of these teams are rolling.  Florida State seemed like the strongest play against Syracuse (they're *bad*), but then I looked at Syracuse's schedule and they hung around a lot of these games.   Florida State was favored by 40, then eventually 38.  It still seems like a tough call.   FSU really is that good, but if the Orange score even 10 points, the 38 point spread is severely threatened.  I stayed away.
  • Pick USC to cover at home against Stanford.  It was going to be a great plan UNTIL I learned the Stanford Cardinal are favored by only 4 points.   With only 4 points between them, I had to just let the situation play out.  I feel pretty confident about USC, even to the point where I can imagine them winning the game, but as a LOCK?  No go.
  • Pick Green Bay to cover +6.5 at the Giants.   Packers w/ a backup QB at the Meadowlands… it could be a very interesting game, and probably a closer game than we think but GB with a backup QB going against a Giants team that's been all-out unpredictable (although pretty lousy the whole time) is a tough decision.  LOCKS are easy decisions.  
So let's go!  Time to check out LOCKS and see who's best.

We'll go with the #MACtion to start us off.   Look at the two teams who play tonight:  Ball State vs Illinois.  I will admit, I don't actually know a whole lot about either team, but I do know this:  against common opponents, all of their games had similar scores.  VERY similar, even down to the actual number of points scored and points allowed.   It would seem to be that tonight's game is a showdown.  Ball State is a 9.5 point underdog and we'll take the points, even at Northern Illinois.    Ball State +9.5 at NIU.

Next, we go to Illinois and take a *rare* Dave Big Ten Favorite with Ohio State.  Ohio State has proven enough over the year that they can succeed against the spread.   You look at the Illini, and they are a sad sack.  Even Michigan State can run up the score against them.   Ohio State and the Buckeyes come off a bye week and in the last month they destroyed every team they faced in the Big Ten.   This week, they go to Champaign in a game that I think is a layup.  I have Ohio State giving 33 and taking care of business.  Ohio State -33 at Illinois.

Lastly, we head to Mississippi State and ROLL TIDE with Alabama.  The Tide are 25 point favorites on the road, and the spread seems very manageable.  Not much more to say, other than the fact that Mississippi State is pretty weak, overall.  I grant you that they kept pace with A&M a week ago, but that's due to A&M's porous defense.   Alabama -25 at Mississippi State.

Next to the NFL…

Only two games to select in the 'L this week.  The first of these comes from the Superdome.  The Saints are remarkably only a 3.5 point favorite against the visiting 49ers.  I'm a little puzzled at the size of the spread.  Less than 4 points?  The rest of the year, the Saints were at least a touchdown favorite in home games.  I wonder what they know that we don't know.  In the meanwhile, we'll take the Saints, pending the status of SF's Eric Reid and Vernon Davis.  Saints -3.5 at home.

Lastly, another odd looking potential trap bet with the Panthers giving only 1.5 at home against the Patriots on Monday Night Football.  The Panthers may be the favorite, but quite a lot of people took the Patriots in bets so far this week.  I love the Panthers defense -- they tackle well, cover receivers well, and bring a good rush on the passer.  Why, I wonder, are most bettors more confident in the Patriots?  Is it the name brand value?  Is it Vegas almost asking guys to give the points, and many sniffing it out?  Is it the fact that the Panthers may have peaked?  Is it the fact that the Panthers struggle to score points against decent defensive teams, which the Patriots are?  Is it the fact that the Pats are bound for a win since "they always win 10-12 games a year"?  It's effectively a battle between past history and current talent.  I'll take the current talent.  Panthers -1.5 at home on Monday Night.

Here's the recap:  Ball State +9.5 at NIU; Ohio State -33 at Illinois; Alabama -25 at Mississippi State; Saints -3.5 at home; Panthers -1.5 at home.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: November 12th

I want to thank all of the wonderful soldiers, military men, and women, who make this country what it is, and defend its freedoms.   My grandfather was among them once.  He's now happily retired and a veteran himself.  

I want to thank my mom, my dad, and my whole family for being so supportive of me.  I went to see them yesterday back home, and it really was a wonderful day.  We spent time together and even played cards.  I loved it.  I missed being in my home town.  

Even a town of over 200,000 can feel like a simpler place, where the pace of life is slower and simpler.   Such is Oxnard.   I needed to get away.  I wanted to get away even sooner, but Coach and I had a big potluck planned on Sunday w/ some buddies.   So, we did the potluck and watched the NFL games on Sunday and I had an abbreviated trip to the 'nard the next day.

The potluck was great!  I learned how to do a pizza bake using a recipe from Betty Crocker.  Come to find out, Betty Crocker touted this "easy recipe" and I go to the local store to get the biscuit mix they recommended.  The jokers at the store didn't even *have* that mix!  I was at a loss... I spent about 20 extra minutes trying to find it, but no dice.  Eventually I went to the cheese and baking kit section and found a tube of "pizza dough" from Pillsbury.  I know that's not what Betty Crocker, but tough luck you guys!  You want me to use your products?  Make your Bisquick kits easier to find!!   Instead, I used Pillsbury dough.

With the pizza dough all set to go, the rest was academic.   Baking Pan, spray with PAM, clumps of dough, pizza sauce, pepperoni, and shredded mozzarella, all in layters.  Then you do another layer of dough, sauce, pepperoni, and mozza.  Bake it for 20-25 minutes and it's golden.  Boy, was it good... I think our party was into it as well, good times.

So, going back to the trip to my family's house on Monday, I told them all about this pizza bake and they were very impressed by my wherewithall to bake things.   My sisters suggested an idea to do a cookie bake with layers. Maybe cookie dough, brownies, chocolate chip, and so on.

It felt really good to be back in my hometown for a while.

Some other assorted thoughts I had.   There *is* a peach salsa... a Mango Peach salsa... boy it's great!  It goes really well with blue corn tortilla chips.  Try it out.

Imagine if you watched all 30 hours of ESPN's tip-off college basketball marathon in a row?  Can the human body even do that?  Kudos to you if you pull that off, or even pull *most* of that off.

It's official.  The Dolphins lost to Tampa Bay:  NOW their season hits rock bottom.

Give me one good reason why the 49ers could beat the Saints next week.   Ahhh??  That's what I thought too.

Murray Head is not the name of a group, it's the name of a single guy.   This "single guy" sang the title song to "Jesus Christ Superstar," and he's known even more for performing "One Night in Bangkok."    The latter comes from a musical production called "Chess."

There's no shame in being associated with technology or technology companies.   Embrace it, live it, love it!

I've had about 6 trips to the grocery store.  Every single one of them I look at the pack of bacon near the deli section.   One of these days I'm going to get the pack of bacon and cook every one of those bacon slices.  They also have a "jalapeno flavored" bacon from Farmer John.  That sounds just delicious.

If I had enough time, I think I could make chocolate chip pancakes.   Might be worth a look soon.

I'd like to make another attempt at online christmas shopping.  It might work out this time, but I gotta start right away!   I usually have about 15 people to shop for.  Time to get crackin'.

Til tomorrow!  See you all soon.

NFL Picks on LOCKS of the Week

I felt pretty confident about NFL picks all year long, so I took the time to break down how NFL LOCKS did each week of the year:

Week 1: 1-0
Week 2: 1-1
Week 3: No NFL Games Picked
Week 4: 1-0
Week 5: 3-0
Week 6: 2-1
Week 7: 1-0
Week 8: 2-1
Week 9: 0-1
Week 10: 2-1

There weren't a ton of games actually *used* for NFL LOCKS this year, and that's simply because it's really hard to have that strong a feeling about an NFL game... but the games we picked wound up being winners.  The only losing week we had was in Week 9, and I think that was Bills +3 at home against KC.   The Bills had their own issues going beyond the usual metrics.  Overall, our record in NFL picks is 12-5... quite a respectable mark through about half of the season.  More to come.

Staying selective with NFL picks will work to my benefit.   If I'm going to pick a LOCK of the week in the 'L, it's going to be a pretty serious LOCK of the week, no cheapies.

LOCKS of the Week Season Total: 22-18-2

Three Hits, Three Misses, One tie... and our season total is now 22-18-2.

This week didn't go quite as well as I'd hoped but it had quite a lot of highlights!

First of all, Auburn -7 was a huge hit.    I was not quite positive this would hit, but Tennessee really proved themselves to be positively awful in the second half last Saturday.  It was pleasing.   The NFL picks went *really* well.  We went 2-1 in the NFL games, including an under the radar Minnesota win, plus a very gutty performance by the Ravens, which almost went to pot after an unlikely hail mary from Andy Dalton to AJ Green off a tip.

My mistake this week, as it's been over the last five weeks, is my reluctance to stay away from high profile College Football games.  It's been killing me for weeks.   I never learn either... another week rolls around and I continue to go after those "prime time games."   LSU looked good for a little while, but they were overmatched once the second half started.   Oregon, well, I fully underestimated Stanford's defense in that one.  I had NO idea Stanford was still capable of that kind of a pass rush.   Great energy on their part.  I haven't had a winning week in college picks in quite some time.  I really need to stop these high profile picks and just go after the seemingly obvious choices.   We'll have some looks at a few lower profile college games coming up.

So, to review: College picks went 1-2-1.  Pro pics went 2-1.  For the week, we went: 3-3-1.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Season Standings for Tyler's Investments: 11/10

Here are the standings to date, pending the resolution of our three way tie for this week.

Investment Standings (Wins/Losses[/Ties])

John: 5-3
Tyler: 4-4
Ottis: 3-1

Next week for "Investments" we'll once again meet Tyler and some *new* challengers on the Dave in the City Podcast.  Stay tuned!

Tyler's Investments Results: Tyler 3-1, John 3-1, Ottis 3-1. Winner: TIE (for now)

This is as good as it gets!  All three persons on "Investments" went 3-1 this week.   Tyler really should have gone 4-0, but I take full responsibility for his lone loss -- a 5 billion star lock on LSU +13.5.  At halftime, I texted him that his 5 billion stars are paying off and that jinxed his bet the rest of the way.  A terrible job by me!   So here's how his results broke down:

Tyler's Hits:

UCLA -1.5 (UCLA won by 5)
Saints -7 (Saints won 49-17)
Ravens Money Line (Ravens won 20-17 in OT)

Tyler's Misses:

LSU +13.5*  (LSU lost 38-17)  *Dave jinxes outcome of game.

John's Hits:

Pitt +5 (won 28-21)
Cardinals -2.5 (won 27-24)
Saints -7 (won 49-17)

John's Misses:

Ole Miss -16.5 (won 34-24, did not cover)

Ottis' Hits:

Houston +10.5 (lost 19-14, covered)
Saints/Cowboys over 54.5 (total score of 66 for the game)
Raiders +7.5 (lost 24-20, covered)

Ottis' Misses:

Oregon -11 (lost 26-20, did not cover)

All three persons went 3-1.  Usually we take the person who had the best record for the week and award him winner of the week.  HOWEVER, with a tie, I don't know how to break the tie.   Season record?  (Tyler is currently 4-4 for the season, John is 5-3, Ottis 3-1).  Maybe we all bet on aspects of tonight's Monday Night Football game?  I'm not sure.

For the moment, all three win the week, with a three way time... co champions!  Congratulations!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tyler's Investments vs. John in CT and Say Hello to Ottis: November 6th

This week, Tyler's Investments go up against John in CT AND Say Hello to Ottis.  Here's how it went down for each of our investors.


This week, he offers us a special 5 BILLION STAR LOCK:  LSU +13.5 at 'Bama.  Then...

UCLA -1.5 at Arizona
Saints -7* vs DAL
Ravens Money Line straight up vs CIN

*Tyler announced the spread as 7.5, but given that John and Ottis saw the line at -7, we are going to honor the bet at the superior point spread, -7.  A push will be allowed for Investment purposes.

John in CT

Ole Miss -16.5 vs Arkansas
Pitt +5 vs Notre Dame

Cardinals -2.5 vs HOU
Saints -7 vs DAL


Oregon -11 at Stanford
Houston +10.5 vs UCF

Saints/Cowboys Over 54.5  (had selected Saints -7, but elected to use the O/U so as to avoid duplicity w/ Tyler and John)
Raiders +7.5 at NYG
Bonus pick of Bills +3 at PIT (unofficial pick for Investment purposes)

Good luck to all!  May the best investor win.

Dave Breaks the Seal (plus thoughts of the day): November 6th

It finally happened.   I opened a hypothetical wagering account online.

The day was coming eventually... here it is.   I will now begin a series of small value wagers on football week to week.  My first picks ever w/ this account are the following:

Texas -7 at WVU
Ravens +1.5 vs Bengals.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh baby!

-- other thoughts of the day --

I can't get enough of the pizza at Brick + Mortar.  Prosciutto pizza keeps me coming back for more.

Why are Korean Fried chicken wings so expensive?   They taste delicious, but are they worth $1.50 each tiny wing?  No way!   It boggles the mind.

I found a groupon for a 5 for 10 dollar deal.  So you pay 5 dollars and get a 10 dollar voucher for Starbucks purchases.  Do the dance!

"A Football Life" is a tre-mendous NFL Network series.  Kudos to them for instituting it.

Here it is, friends.  A GREAT College Football Thursday.  Usually Thursdays get the throwaway games or some games with sneaky potential, but two sure-fire showdown matchups on the same night is rare!  Oregon vs Stanford.  Oklahoma vs Baylor.  Can't ask for much more at this stage of the season, can you?

Should be a fun night!   Catch you all tomorrow for more, plus an investments update coming up in a moment.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dave's LOCKS of the Week: November 5th


Dave's (blam!)
LOCKS (snap)
of the Week (screech)

We've come upon another mega-weekend in College Football, a "separation weekend" if you will.  It's a showdown all across the NCAA that extends all the way up to Thursday!   We had a weekend like this last year, and if you remember it, I went out to Vegas and put my money where my mouth was.  Bet four big games involving the top of the BCS.  The result:  disastrous!  The picks went 0-4, unseated SC from Rose Bowl contention, unseated Oregon from an undefeated year and title contention, unseated K-State from the same prospects, and in a side comment I made about taking Wake Forest +2000 money line against Notre Dame, ultimately kept THEM from losing a game and vaulted they and Alabama to the National Championship Game.  It was an unbelievable turn of events, some speculate, caused by my fateful wagers.

So it comes to November 5, 2013, does history repeat itself?  We're not afraid -- we are going after the big games once again!  Here's what we're selecting this week:

You want to talk about a sequel, here it is!   The Oregon Ducks rematch against the Stanford  Cardinal.  A year ago, at Eugene, the Cardinal shocked the world and held down the high-scoring Ducks.  In that exchange, the Ducks were forced into overtime and forced *out* of National Title contention.  This year, the game is in Stanford Stadium, but here's the key:  the Cardinal is a much weaker defensive team than last year's team.   Stanford really struggled to handle an athletic Washington team at home that featured QB Keith Price.  Stanford also lost to Utah on the road, and if you put it into perspective, USC, facing its own demons, DEFEATED the same Utah Utes, although that game was played at the Coliseum.  Point being, Stanford really isn't all that.  Even against UCLA, they handled them very well at the line of scrimmage and held Brett Hundley to some season worst passing numbers, but it took them a while to really put away the Bruins.   They didn't beat them by nearly as much as we might expect considering how much they dominated said line of scrimmage.  Oregon State is another athletic team Stanford tried a crack at, in Corvallis, and the Beavers gave Stanford fits.  Stanford won, but by just 8 points.

If Stanford is playing only so-so against most of these Pac 12 teams, could they possibly be prepared for a high energy, highly athletic team like Oregon?  We believe not, and further, the Ducks have already dominated games on the road against the likes of Virginia, Washington, and Colorado.  Not only do I think the Ducks beat Stanford, I think they win by a lot.   Ducks -10 at Stanford for an EASY cover.

Next, to a game I have a good feeling about, and that's Texas at West Virginia.   This might be a trap bet, but Texas is really on a roll.  The defense was well recruited, and in the last month, the talent has risen to the top.  Only one touchdown allowed in each of the last two games, and some pretty big wins against Oklahoma and TCU.   This week, we look at the Longhorns against WVU who just honestly isn't that good.  I do realize that the Mountaineers beat TCU on the road and Oklahoma State at home, but Ok. State was exposed recently despite last week's win against Texas Tech.  There's just too much talent defensively on the Longhorns to deny them a big win, even on the road and despite the sniffings of "trap" I'll go Longhorns -7 at West Virginia.  Texas -7 at WVU.

I'm also pretty confident about Auburn taking care of Tennessee on the road.  It's as simple as this:  Auburn has a smothering D, and is managed very well now by the returning Gus Malzhan.  I feel like their coached reasonably well, and they take care of business.  In fact, the Tigers have only 1 loss on the season and beat a hard to beat Texas A&M *on the road.*  Lesser teams have annihilated Tennessee, even at Neyland.   I see the same outcome for Auburn.  WAR EAGLE.  Auburn -7 at Tennessee.

Already we've pointed to some alarming trends in our hypothetical wagers.  Three road favorites in a row, but I think these teams really are that good.   Now to the rest of the best...

Finally, we come to a home team on the schedule, and it's the Crimson Tide.  Alabama is a big favorite against LSU, and it's wild to see that LSU beat Auburn earlier on.  However, we've seen some major improvement from the Tide and their defense is simply phenomenal.  Multiple shutouts.  Yet, it sounds ludicrous for me to simply take Tide -11.5 at face value.    In the last four years, LSU/Alabama regular season matchups haven't even been decided by ten points.  All games decided by 9 or less, and the last two decided by 4 or less.   LSU is a weird team... against the best teams in the SEC, they put up a really good game and even put teams on the ropes.  The Tigers haven't won 'em all, but they'll give 'Bama something to think about.  Keep an eye on the Tigers.  LSU +11.5 at 'Bama.

Now to the NFL!

First, out of the box, I'm looking at the Vikings +2 at home against the Redskins.  Here's why:  the Redskins are terrible.  It really is as simple as that.  I know the Vikings are bad too, but you're getting much better value with a home underdog than a road NFC East team that not only had an emotional win but were very fortunate to do so.  Vikings +2 at home.

Next, I'm going to take the Ravens +1.5 at home.  Another case of the home dog.   It's tricky because, I think the Bengals are a better team talent-wise, but the Ravens defense is not that bad, as I've been told by Jacob Rosales, and furthermore, the Bengals do not play well at all on the road.   They're 2-3 on the road overall, and their two wins were by a combined 6 points.  It's not impressive.  I know how awful Joe Flacco is this year, but Cincinnati is just not doing it for me on the road.  I'll go Baltimore despite how bad they look overall.  Ravens +1.5 at home.

Finally, we turn to San Francisco, where I think the 49ers are on a roll.  They get Michael Crabtree and Aldon Smith back in the lineup, and they come off a bye week against the Carolina Panthers.  San Francisco is giving 6, and it's a good point spread, but I think somehow, someway, they cover it.  The Panthers' defense looks terrific, but I also think they haven't defended anything quite like the Niners just yet.  AND, I feel like the same applies on offense:  I don't think Cam Newton has met anything quite like the 49ers defense on the road.  They did play a tough Seattle defense in Week 1 over in Charlotte, but unlike the Week 1 Seahawks, the 49ers will be fully prepared for their offense.  I'll give the points to the ones who strike gold.  49ers -6 at home.

Showdown central all over football.  We're ready for the big picks and the big wins.  Here they are, to recap: Oregon -10 at Stanford; Texas -7 at WVU; Auburn -7 at Tenn;  LSU +11.5 at 'Bama; Vikings +2 at home; Ravens +1.5 at home; 49ers -6 at home.


Tyler's Investments: 1-3. Checker's Investments: 2-2

So far in our ongoing contest, John in CT aka Checker got the better of Tyler in the weekly investments.  Tyler went 1-3 in football picks while Checker went 2-2.  After one week, these are also their season totals.

Here's how it broke down.

Tyler's Hits: Missouri -11.5
Tyler's Misses: UTEP +45.5 (only missed by 6!); Bills +3.5; Raiders +1.5

Checker's Hits: Mich. St. -5.5; Jets +6
Checker's Misses: Texas Tech -2; Packers -11

This week, both persons go back at it with the weekly picks with a THIRD challenger, Say Hello to Ottis with his selections.  We'll try not to duplicate picks as much as possible.  It all goes down on the "Dave in the City" podcast at about 10:40pm ET or 7:40pm PT at

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: November 4th

Sending my thoughts and hopes out to Gary Kubiak.  Please get well soon.

I've had a lot of stress the last two days, and I think it's centered around someone I serve at the department.   Some folks are not as forgiving as others and have to have it their way.  I think all of us have seen this at our workplace.   A guy like that can put you on the spot, and it really disrupts everything else you do.

So anyway, the thing I'm trying to do is locate an old software license from many years ago, before I even started working here, but it's not working out.  It drove me nuts in my mind all weekend.  I'm just going to have to order a new license, but I worry that the person might be upset about that.

So you can see where the problem comes from.  Onward.

I tried a loaf of bread called "Crushed Wheat Bread."  I was like "is it the same amount of wheat as whole wheat bread?"

It really isn't.   Whole wheat is just that, whole, no modifications.   The wheat in this other bread yields a cross between Wheat Bread and White Bread.  I'm not a big fan of white bread, but this crushed wheat "hybrid" is pretty wild!  It's different!  It's really good with toast.  I ate peanut butter sandwiches with it this morning, fantastic.

A neighbor of our was kind enough to offer some pasta sauce he made all morning.  REALLY great, really generous of him to do.  I think he was going around offering samples to other neighbors as well.  However, on Twitter he cited some issues with the Barilla pasta company.  The CEO or owner made some really homophobic comments, and all sorts of people are protesting Barilla.  Here's the problem -- I bought a box of Barilla pasta and a jar of Barilla sauce months ago, long before any of us heard these insensitive comments.  Now, I'm not going to be some kind of bleeding heart and junk the pasta entirely.  HOWEVER, my neighbor is one of the boycotters of the pasta, which he used to get himself. There's *no* way I can have it on my conscience to eat his pasta sauce with Barilla tainted pasta noodles.  Instead, I'm going to the grocery store to get Creamettes.  I looked them up on google, no issues with social insensitivity or other gross moral issues.

It was a falafel weekend, and what a success it was!  We went to a place in Hermosa Beach called "Poulet du Jour".  They had amazing falafel, a little spicy, delicious, incredible.    It came with some hummus which also was fantastic.   We ordered some rotisserie chicken with it, which was also tremendous.  The restaurant was great, and the people there were really wonderful too.  It's a wonderful family run institution.

I was very frustrated with some of my NFL picks yesterday in pick'em, but to be honest, it wasn't quite so bad.  Just a couple bad breaks which took away some of the wins.   I was very close to getting 6 of 13 last night, but Wade Philips destroyed any shot the Texans had of getting a huge victory.  Hopefully the Packers can beat up the Bears and we can save face.   Fingers are crossed.

I need to get out more.  I'm wasting too much time on Saturdays watching lousy Big Ten football games.  I could have spent that time going outside, checking out the beach, shopping for used records, walking around, meeting people, having lunch, enjoying life.  Instead I was spending hours on the couch watching four Big Ten teams combine for 3 completions in an hour.  Just unbelievable how ugly Big Ten football really is.  There wasn't much else on that afternoon -- that's the crazy thing.

The time change is really weirding me out.  It has me sleeping really early at night and getting up at my normal time, but with 9 hours of sleep each day now.   So far so good, and I feel great today, but I'm struggling to stay awake past 10pm at night.  That's not so bad, I think, but it's very odd.   Glad to have regular standard time back in my life though.

That's all from here, catch you all later!

LOCKS Season Total to Date: 19-15-1

Brutal week on LOCKS.   I think, similar to the Lions, I refused to buy into the talents of the Florida State Seminoles, and I got served.  It has been a whole month of undervaluing their team, and no doubt many others doubted them the same way, but FSU absolutely dominated that second half against the Miami Hurricanes.  My ignorance of the Seminoles cost me.

Otherwise, there were some near misses, UCLA was only a few points away from covering even -27, and the most unlikely cover, A&M -46 still nailed it.   The lone NFL game was a miss: Buffalo was worthless in the 2nd half, but I doubt anyone regrets going with the Bills seeing how the Chiefs played.  The Chiefs *still* didn't play a good football game, their offense was terrible.  The defense literally bailed them out with two touchdowns.  To say "well that shouldn't have been a LOCK of the week" is silly.  Buffalo had every reason to win that game yesterday, but instead, the Chiefs covered their 3 point spread.

So in total, LOCKS went 1-4, our first losing week of the year I believe.  Thankfully it wasn't a total wipeout.   Season total is now 19-15-1.

One other area that I need to emphasize is NFL picks.  The last three weeks, there were some "potential" LOCKS of the Week I could have gone to that probably would have hit.  I'm also doing better with NFL games than College this year.

Potential LOCKS:

Titans -3
Texans +2.5
Vikings +10.5
Carolina -7.5

These turned out not to be LOCKS due to a lot of factors, and you can see where my trepidation was validated with the Texans.   The Texans had the effort and the personnel to blow away the Colts, but they being the Texans, still found a way to choke the game.  To be fair, Gary Kubiak collapsed at halftime, and obviously the Texans and their fans were emotionally shaken.

Carolina -- it was still a divisional game, so there was always the chance that the Falcons could make one last stand (similar to what the Bucs did at Seattle).  Thankfully the Panthers showed how good they really were, and they were *good*.

Vikes... the Vikes still are a pretty bad team, but more and more, as kickoff approached, I wanted to use  Minnesota as a LOCK of the Week.  I couldn't *believe* the Cowboys were a 10+ point favorite at home, knowing how suspect they are tactically and how weak minded their coaching staff is.  I came very close to writing a new article to announce "Special Add on LOCK: Vikes +10.5" but it wouldn't have been in the spirit of football picks to tack one on at the end.  When you go to publish your picks, those are the picks.

Titans... when you talk about two bad teams, a game like that could go either way.   I didn't think it was quite enough to put into LOCK of the Week Territory.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Famous Faces

I think I can divulge this now since they may be leaving... I saw things getting moved out of the apartment over the last couple days, and since it's November 1st (a typical move out date being the 1st), it all lines up.

...but for about two months, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Brian Hallisay (her fiancee) lived at our apartment building!   Another neighbor told me about it initially but I chose not to believe it until I saw them (really Jennifer) myself.  They were just there for a little while until their new home elsewhere was fully built.

For weeks I said "would I ever see them?"   and I did!  It was really briefly.  One night, one was picking up the other, and JLH was coming down the stairs, she was expecting (check TMZ), and I opened the back gate door for her and said hi.  She thanked me for opening the gate.

...and that was the only time in my life I interacted with Jennifer Love Hewitt.