Saturday, January 4, 2014

Nurse the Hate: Hate the NFL Playoffs

There are a few things you need to know about me.  I like to travel.  I like fine wine.  I like craft beer.  I have an extensive record collection (and I did say "record').  I can never understand what Bruce Springsteen is singing.  Elvis Costello either.  Or Eddie Vedder.  I like Bob Dylan, even his 80s records.  I have a weakness for the Crypt Records catalogue.  I love artisan cheeses.  I like to take my kayak out just before sunrise when the water becomes momentarily calm and like glass.  I like tea more than coffee.  However, what I might like more than anything else is the NFL Wild Card Weekend playoffs.  What other weekend provides such an opportunity to sit by a comforting fire, drinking "session" microbrew, staring at an enormous high definition TV, and gambling wildly on outcome of the games?  If I turn off the sound of the blithering idiot commentators and throw music onto my powerful sound system, I have combined almost everything I like in one package.  All I need are a few like-minded souls, and I really have one of the finest weekends of the year.

The NFL Playoffs are an even bigger Wilderness of Mirrors than the regular season.  Each game has been sliced and diced by sports talk trying in vain to create relevant content.  Seriously, how many ways can you talk about how bad the Saints suck on the road?  There is no edge to be had.  The betting lines have been set razor thin by men that have somehow traveled into the future in some time machine that was created by the people that built the Billagio and Mandalay Bay.  It's the only rational explanation.  The men that set these lines are the best at their jobs on the entire planet.  They never make a mistake.  Ever.  If they are on point when they make a line for Bowling Green vs. Marshall, do you think they will miss on Philadelphia vs New Orleans?  No way.

Now that I have given myself over to the fact I am essentially betting on a coin flip, I will cling on to any piece of information that has even the shadow of relevancy.  Give me the thinnest shred of a reason to gamble on these games, and I am taking it.  Oh, I'll bet the over/under just for the action, but the real key is to bet a team to win.  I feel that I need to have a dog in each of the fights.  I need to be all-in on a team that I have otherwise paid almost no attention to until this moment.  I need a reason to care as I knock back 21st Amendment Bitter American Session Ale while I tend the fire.  What?  The Colts are 5-1 ATS at home?  KC has lost 5 of their last 7 games?  The Public has jumped on KC so hard that the line moved from Indy giving 2.5 to them now getting 2.5?  That's all I need. That's why I am on the Indianapolis Colts +2.5.  Where can I get a Colts hat by 4:30pm?

This late game is tricky.  The Saints are really terrible on the road.  I know this because every media outlet from ESPN to Dr. Phil has mentioned it to me all week.  The Saints are 0-6 ATS on the road.  They are 1-4 ATS in Playoff road games.  It's going to be cold and shitty in Philadelphia.  I just can't get it out of my head that Philadelphia's 32nd ranked pass defense is going to get lit up, and a bunch of vile Eagle fans are going to get their guts ripped out on national television.  Please note, I don't think this will happen, I just feel like it is going to happen.  I keep coming back to the image of a city full of fat greasy guys in Wilbert Montgomery and Reggie White jerseys that are going to be all lit up and coming home to beat their kids, dogs, and wives after being let down by their beloved Eagles as it has always been and will always be in the City of Brotherly Love.  Despite this evidence that has come to me from this vision, I am going to take Philadelphia -2.5.  This is why I am sick and need help.  I may also tease both games on the over/unders just to be completely irresponsible.  How about UNDER 53 in the Indy game and UNDER 61 in the Philly game?  That wager will only depend on how much of the fever I catch by kickoff...

This is the best day of January.  Enjoy it.


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