November 28, 2013

Giving thanks to sports

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

I may not be American, but that won’t stop me from sitting back and relaxing while watching today’s somewhat decent slate of Turkey day games. In the spirit of things, I figured I’d list just of few of the things in sports that I’m thankful for:

-First off, the fact that CFL fans will over-react to just about anything negative written about their proud league. Reading the comment of my past posts brings a smile to my face, knowing that people care so much about something that’s not very big.

-The fact that nobody has tweeted at me the fact that the Grey Cup had 4.5 million people watch it. The fact that it was that many people watched such a lousy game of football proves that there is quite the loyal audience for Canada’s game.

-That the Bills didn’t give away any freebies for Sunday’s game in Toronto. With 40,000 fans expected, that’s nearly 10,000 more than the East Division final between the Argos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Further proof that T.O. cares more about the NFL than the CFL.

-That I’m somehow still alive in my three fantasy football leagues. It would be pretty embarrassing if the Sun’s fantasy football writer didn’t at least make the playoffs in our work pool, right?

-That I haven’t been betting on games this season. Being 12 games under .500 heading into Week 13 is uncharted territory for me. I’m not sure what’s throwing off my picks this season, but hopefully it turns around soon.

-That the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants. There’s no better feeling than beating the team that trash-talked you for a week leading up to the game – especially when it’s against a division rival.

-That we finally get some great coverage of the Premier League on TV. There’s nothing better than waking up and actually having a choice of which game to watch on Saturday morning. Same thing goes for having up to four Champions League games on at one time. It used to be maybe one or two games a week, tops.

-That the Jays aren’t overspending on back-of-the-rotation starters. Seeing a guy like Jason Vargas go for $8 million a year or the terrible Josh Johnson getting $12 million makes no sense at all.

-That this might be the beginning of the end of Don Cherry. If this new NHL TV deal with Rogers leads to Grapes being taken off the air, that would be great. His antiquated ways of thinking about ice hockey shouldn’t have a place in today’s game.

-Finally, that your average NHL fan will now get a choice of which game to watch on Saturday nights. Not every fan wants to watch the Leafs, even if I’m sure that the Buds will still get the highest ratings.

As for today’s pigskin picks…

All the lines are from 5Dimes and the home teams are in CAPs.

DETROIT -6.5 over Green Bay

So, why exactly is everybody excited about Matt Flynn? This is a guy on his fourth team in a year. There’s a reason why he was cut three times before and that the Packers didn’t sign him earlier. Sure, he may be better than Scott Tolzien, but that’s not saying much. The Lions have given away two games in a row now, but are the better team. Even if they play dirty, they’ll still come out on top here.

Oakland +10.5 over DALLAS

The Cowboys are destined to blow this game. After staging a remarkable fourth-quarter drive to defeat the Giants, this would be the perfect letdown that all Boys fans are expecting. The Raiders are somehow still on the edge of the playoff hunt and will be motivated here. As long as they can keep Tony Romo in check and force him into an error or two, this is an easy cover.

BALTIMORE -2.5 over Pittsburgh

These are always close. Always. The Ravens haven’t been great at home, but the Steelers haven’t beaten any good teams that haven’t self-destructed in front of them. Both teams should be airing the ball out here, even with their power-rushing history. The fact is, neither team is great on the ground these days – especially Ray Rice, who was one of the league’s most consistently good back for years. If I was getting this line at three, it would likely be an easy push, but under a field goal is a nice price.

Last week: 6-7-1
This season: 79-89-7

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