Turn On The Jets Week 11 Best Bets: Or Worst Bets?

Chris Celletti with his weekly Best Bets for Turn On The Jets

Week 10 Record: 1-2

Season Record: 11-18-1

Week 10 Record in Race For The Steak Picks: 10-3

For this week, I think it’s apropos to rename this piece “Worst Bets”, considering what happened last week with my picks. In the 13 games your Turn On The Jets staff picked from Week 10 of the NFL season, I went 10-3. The three games I did not get right were the Bears over the Texans, the Chargers covering against the Bucs and the Giants over the Bengals. If you recall (I’m sure my picks are ingrained in your mind), I picked the Bears and Chargers in my Best Bets from Week 10, and so desperately wanted to choose my Giants pick because I thought that game was a foregone conclusion. Then Eli Manning turned all Mark Sanchez on us.

Before we get to my picks for this week, I wanted to weigh in on a  few things, as I’m wont to do in this space:

-People have to stop with the “Poor ol’ Timothy Tebow!” shtick. Please. Yeah, he’s a good guy. He doesn’t deserve to wake up one day to see his teammates trashing him in the “media” – regardless of if the story is true or not. But let’s not get all worried about how unfair this whole thing is to Tim Tebow. Newsflash: the world of pro sports is a tough business. People love you, people hate you, the media is horrible, the fans are horrible, etc. But I don’t feel like I need to worry about the feelings of a guy who has won two National Titles in college, a Heisman trophy, was a first round pick in the NFL, is a MILLIONAIRE, and is dating Camilla Belle. I’m supposed to feel bad for this guy because of a fabricated news story that said that some teammates think he sucks? Excuse me if I felt worse for Chad Pennington when the home crowd cheered him getting injured and replaced by Jay Fiedler.

But the Jets only have themselves to blame for the mess they’re in, and I for one am glad in a way that the Tebow thing is blowing up. In a perfect world, this would be the wake up call Woody Johnson needs to learn that it’s not good to try and be Jerry Jones, and just hire competent football people (read: NOT Mike Tannenbaum), and let them run the show. Sadly, I don’t see that happening, because Woody Johnson is a horrible owner.

Along with many on this site, I’ve been a big time defender of Mark Sanchez (I would love to see him coached by Bill Cowher), but I would bench him on Sunday if the Jets had a viable backup (I don’t know, maybe someone like Drew Stanton? That name just popped into my head, I really have no idea why). They don’t. The worst possible thing that could happen to the Jets is to insert Tebow and win a few fluky games like the Broncos did last year, enough wins for the coaching staff to think that he could be the long-term solution at QB. Thankfully it doesn’t look like it’s going to go that way, and that’s a good thing. I have no idea who is going to be the Jets’ QB next year, but I know it shouldn’t be Tim Tebow.

-The Knicks are for real. You can no longer just say “The Knicks are off to a good start.” Did people say that about the Spurs, who started 7-1? No. People just said “Of course the Spurs have a good record, they’re a good team”. The Knicks are a damn good team, and anyone who doesn’t think so just isn’t being fair. This isn’t to say the Knicks are going 82-0 (although they might!) or that they’re beating the Heat and winning a title. But they’re a good team, one of the league’s best, and it’s going to be a fun season at MSG.

-I wonder what the narrative would have been if Jeremy Lin was still on the Knicks and did what Raymond Felton did against the Spurs, outplaying Tony Parker and dropping 25 while leading the Knicks to a huge win, while Carmelo Anthony scored nine points.

Okay, on to the picks.

Broncos -7.5 vs. Chargers – I’ve went with the Broncos for two straight weeks and they’ve done good for me, so I’m sticking with them. I also took the Chargers last week, which was patently moronic.

Eagles +3.5 at Redskins – I know, I know, the Eagles are just as bad a mess as the Jets, and Andy Reid is all but fired, but this is the exact game the Eagles ALWAYS win. Of course they’re going to win Nick Foles’ first start! This is how the Eagles do. Remember all the times they won games with Ty Detmer? Same thing. Philly fans are going to overreact like the South after Obama’s reelection when Foles leads them to a win on Sunday, and it’s going to be glorious when they start 1-4 next year and Foles has a QB rating of 61.

Packers -3.5 at Lions – Pack have won four in a row, heating up at the right time. Watch out, NFC.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 4-5-1)

Let’s see if we can hit a 3-way NBA parlay (chances: highly unlikely). Hawks -2 at Kings, Jazz +1 at Sixers and Timberwolves -2 vs. Warriors.

Turn On The Jets Week 10 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets

Week 9 Record: 2-1

Season Record: 10-16-1

Why do the Giants always look like such a good bet? It’s like every single week I look at them and I’m like “Yeah of course they’re covering that.” Look at this week, -3.5 against the Bengals? Really? I feel like the Giants win this game by four points or more 99% of the time. So am I going to go with them as one of my three highlight picks this week? Not a chance. Moral of the story is, no matter what, you just can’t rely on your rival when you need them. Not only would a Giant cover last week against the Steelers have given me a 3-0 record for the week, it would have helped out the Jets, ever so slightly, in their grave playoff hopes. So I won’t go with the Giants this week. This means the Giants will win by 17 points.

Conversely, my go-to look every week is towards the Jacksonville Jaguars. Of course they played in the useless Thursday night game, and I write my Best Bets piece for Friday, so this week I couldn’t rely on them.

That got me thinking about on these Thursday night games. This year’s full-season Thursday night slate is proof that NFL is immune to it’s own stupidity and selfishness. The Thursday night games have been AWFUL. Absolutely, horrifyingly terrible. And it’s no wonder why. Football players are supposed to have five, six days off between games, and it’s showed in almost every Thursday night game this year. On top of that, by guaranteeing every team in the league be featured, we’re consistently seeing terrible teams every Thursday.

But the immunity of the league is proven when you go on social media on Thursday nights, and of course in the television ratings. I didn’t watch a single snap of Colts-Jaguars last night. I’m admittedly not a total crazy football nut as some other people, and because of that, Colts-Jaguars does absolutely nothing for me. But when I went on Twitter last night, I saw people complaining about the game. This has been a trend every Thursday night this season. You hop on social media and see things like “Oh my god, this is horrible football!”  There’s an easy solution to this: nobody is forcing you to watch Thursday Night Football.

Don’t give me that you just love football so much that it doesn’t matter who plays or how miserable the game is, you watch it no matter what. That’s stupid. Basketball is my favorite sport to watch, I love both the NBA and college ball. The other day, Sixers-Hornets was on ESPN. I didn’t sit there and watch all 48 minutes because I love basketball. I watched Nick Young clank three contested fadeaways in a row and saw Greivis Vazquez chuck an outlet pass into the ninth row and said “Yeah, no thanks.”

So next Thursday when you sit there watching the Bills and Dolphins sling crap around on your TV for three hours, realize that you probably wasted some valuable time. You could have been doing something productive with your life, like playing video games, posting political statuses on your Facebook page, or best yet, writing a column about how bad the Thursday night NFL games are.

On to the picks:

Broncos -4 at Carolina – The Broncos did well for me last week and I like this line just right where it is, thank you.

Bears -1.5 vs. Texans – The weather could be bad on Sunday night in the Windy City, which I think favors the Bears. Their defense is just too good right now.

/Really wants to take the Giants. GAAHHHHH

Chargers +3 at Buccaneers – I really can’t explain my choice here. This is just a bad sporting event in general.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 3-5-1)

Last week I didn’t believe the Knicks would beat the Heat to start their season and I was gladly wrong. I’ll take it. The Knicks have been so impressive early on. Carmelo Anthony is scoring – of course – and rebounding and playing defense. Ray Felton and Jason Kidd are helping zip the ball around on offense, finding open guys. J.R. Smith looks like the Sixth Man of the Year. Ronnie Brewer (Ronnie Brewer?!) is draining threes. Kurt Thomas is fouling the living hell out of people. God I love Kurt Thomas. Steve Novak was only 2-of-8 in the last two games. Huh? GET WITH THE PROGRAM, STEVE.

Knicks -6 vs. the Mavs? In oh-so-eloquent words of Walt Clyde Frazier: YYYYYYYYYYYup!

Turn On The Jets Week 9 Best Bets

Week 8 Record: 0-3

Season Record: 8-15-1

Just as the season started spiraling downhill for our reviled beloved New York Jets last Sunday, the same thing happened for my Best Bets record as well, as I went 0-3 and fell to a horrific 8-15-1 on the season.

A few random tidbits before we get to my picks, because whatever I say about those is clearly a waste of the space and time in your head:

-It’s amazing how a national disaster like Hurricane Sandy brings out both the best in people and the worst in people. Of course there are going to be your looters and such, but you’re hearing stories about fights at gas stations and people stealing generators and other totally insane things. If Chris Christie and Barack Obama can all of a sudden become best bros and band together during something like this, surely all these jerks in the tri-state area can take a step back and realize that people’s lives and homes have been destroyed, and that’s a lot more important than whether they can have a light on in their still in-tact house or have a full battery in their Iphone. America is really awesome sometimes and really sucks sometimes, but I guess that’s just people in general.

-On that note, I don’t have a huge issue with the Knicks and Heat playing on Friday at Madison Square Garden. To me, the Marathon on Sunday is a different story because there are street closures all over the place to accommodate the race, and there are people all over the city that still need lots of help, whether it be food or water or even rescuing. By holding the Marathon, the city might be making it harder for some of those stranded and in need to receive help. I don’t see a basketball game being played at MSG having the same potential impact, but I can understand why some people would be put off by the NBA deciding to still play the game.

-And then there was that story about James Dolan and The Madison Square Garden Company forcing employees who couldn’t make it to work on Thursday because of Sandy to take personal or sick days to cover the missed time. The fact that I still root so vigorously for the Knicks and Rangers proves to myself that I can rightly separate sports teams from sports owners. Because if and when the Knicks or Rangers ever win a title again, I will be the happiest person in the world, totally independent of the fact that I will be sick to my stomach over the fact that Dolan will have won as well. That man deserves to never smile again.

-Meanwhile, while New York City, Long Island the Jersey Shore are just in the infancy of recovering from this awful natural disaster, we still have a bunch of suits who are worried about their money. On a much less serious note, of course, the NHL has to be absolutely kidding with this lockout, right? Rumor has it that they’re soon going to announce the cancellation of the Winter Classic, the annual outdoor game which is the only thing on the NHL calendar that garners any national attention other than when there’s a huge brawl in the playoffs or something. Nice job, Gary Bettman. You’re averaging a lockout every eight seasons.

And don’t give me the excuse that Bettman is “just working for the owners, trying to get them the best deal”. Yeah, that’s technically what he’s there to do, but it’s HIS fault that the owners have been hemorrhaging money so badly that they have to lockout after every CBA expires. How is it his fault? How about the gross over-expansion and moving of teams, on his watch, to hockey havens like Nashville, Columbus, Sunrise, Phoenix and Raleigh. Why is there not a team in Quebec City? Why are there three teams in the New York area (the New Jersey Devils are a total joke, a TV ratings and attendance disaster and should probably move now that the Islanders are in Brooklyn), and only one in Montreal and Toronto? How does this make any sense?

You have to think this is it for Bettman. NHL owners clearly care about making money, or else they wouldn’t keep telling Bettman to shut down operations every eight years. Once this is settled, whenever that is, the owners have to finally realize that whatever Bettman has done for them over the past 25 years or so simply isn’t working. If it was, they’d be making money. The conspiracy theories about David Stern planting Bettman in the NHL to take down a competitor are gaining steam with every passing day.

And now, on to the football picks, if you’re still with me:

Giants -3 vs. Steelers 

The Giants are either dominating games or just finding ways to win right now. That’s what good teams do. They’ll do it again on Sunday.

Broncos -4 at Bengals

The way Peyton Manning is playing right now, I can’t bet against the Broncos.

Lions -4.5 at Jaguars

A Vegas bookie apparently made the Jaguars 24-point faves against Alabama. That line is a joke. Alabama wouldn’t gain 24 yards against the Jaguars. But this Sunday the Jaguars play a fellow NFL team, and they’ll lose, because they’re quite bad.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week – Season Record 3-4-1

I guess I’ll give myself a push for last week, when I picked the Knicks to beat the Nets in the game that didn’t happen on Thursday because of the storm? Is that acceptable, ladies and gentlemen of the jury? Since I was going to go with the Knicks’ original season opener last week, I’ll take a shot with their new season opener against the Miami Heat. While I was all gung-ho about the Knicks mutilating the Nets, I don’t think that will happen on Friday, unfortunately. The Heat are six point favorites and I think they cover that, pulling away late in a game that’s close most of the way. And then on Saturday we can all wake up to the inevitable 4,000 word evisceration of Carmelo Anthony from Harvey Araton. Welcome back, NBA!

 

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 8 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets. Who should you be putting your money on this Sunday?

Week 7 Record: 1-2 

Season Record: 8-12-1

In honor of Hurricane Sandy, Snowicane, The Frankenstorm – whatever you want to call that crazy thing we’re supposed to get early next week that’s supposed to turn New York City on its ear, I’m going to flip things around this week and start my piece off with my Bonus Non-Football Bet of The Week. I’m 3-4 on the season with these, but the game I’m going to pick this week is one that’s closer to my heart than any other pick I’ve ever made on this site – next Thursday’s season opener for the New York Knicks against the Brooklyn Nets, Round 1 of the New York-Brooklyn turf war. Now it’s way too early for the line for this game to have come out, but this pick is much more symbolic anyway. I’m taking the Knicks outright, whatever the moneyline is.

I guess its natural that the Nets are being overrated heading into this season. The shiny new arena, all the Jay-Z crap, a new name and all will do that for you. But let’s get one thing patently straight here – the Nets ARE being overrated heading into this season. Many people are picking them as a 50+ win team, saying they’re so much clearly better than the Knicks, and that they’re closer to the Boston Celtics than anyone else in the Atlantic Division. I’m here to tell you that that’s false, and that if the Nets were still the New Jersey Nets, playing in Newark, with those old uniforms, but had the EXACT SAME ROSTER – nobody would have them as a 50-win squad.

As a Knicks fan, I’ve watched enough bad defensive basketball to know how truly important defense is in the NBA. For years, the Knicks were an embarrassment on defense – last year that changed with the addition of Tyson Chandler. And all anyone who hates the Knicks wants to point out is how bad their stars – Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire are on defense. They’re not wrong in that criticism at all. So then why is everyone totally ignoring that the Nets have, without question, the worst defensive frontcourt in the NBA? Scour every roster and I dare you to find a starting center-power forward combination that would struggle to defend a potato and a desk chair on a pick and roll more than Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries.

The Nets are a good team, don’t get me wrong. They have a lot of talent and have a good coach in Avery Johnson. They’ll make the playoffs. But can we stop with waxing on and on about how great they’re going to be? This has reached insane levels – when the media is writing “ANDRAY BLATCHE REDEMPTION” stories, you know we’re on Mars with this whole thing. If the Knicks signed Andray Blatche, I can only imagine the crap they’d be getting. And if the Nets don’t win this year, I really don’t see how they’re going to improve from here on out. Like the Knicks, they’re pretty strapped with who they have. They signed Lopez and Williams to max deals and they traded for Joe Johnson and his crazy contract. Unless Lopez improves as a defender and rebounder in the coming years, I don’t see how they possibly get anywhere close to Miami.

And oh yeah, while I’m at it, how about we call Deron Williams what he is – an insanely talented top NBA player who has never won anything and bickered and pouted and drove a Hall of Fame coach to QUIT. Do people remember this? When Williams drove Jerry Sloan so mad that he quit in the middle of the season? Why is this ignored, but all people want to mention about Carmelo Anthony is that he was selfish and un-coachable and forced his way out of Denver? Why is Deron Williams allowed to have essentially done the same thing and gotten away with it? Okay, I’m done with the questions.

As for the game, I’m not going to go into crazy specifics as to why I think the Knicks will win. It’s one out of 82 games, they could lose by 40 for all I know. But if I’m New York (as long as Tyson Chandler is healthy), I run pick and rolls with Ray Felton/Jason Kidd and Chandler/Amare Stoudemire all night. Chandler is a marginal offensive player at best, but he should put up 40 points on 20 dunks.

Oh yeah, this is a Jets site – let’s get to my picks for this week.

Jets -2 vs. Dolphins 

The Jets absolutely have to win this game. They’re at home against a rookie quarterback – a situation they’ve done well in under Rex Ryan. New York’s defense has been a lot better as of late, so I don’t think the Dolphins will quite gash the Jets on the ground the way they did in Week 3. Also, the Jets are in a pretty good rhythm in the passing game (BUT HERP DERP SANCHEZ SUCKS YOU MORON LOLZ), and Miami’s pass defense isn’t very good. You’ll get my official prediction a bit later, but the Jets cover. Oh yeah they do.

Bears -7.5 vs. Panthers

I really like the way the Bears are playing right now; they’re a balanced offensive team, Brandon Marshall is quite possibly the best receiver in the league right now, and their defense is all-world. Even Jay Cutler can’t screw this thing up…yet. The Panthers on the other hand are a total mess. Teams have either figured out Cam Newton or he’s just not very good. It will take time to find that out for sure – like with all quarterbacks ahem ahem – but right now Carolina is one of the worst teams in the league. At home and on a roll right now, I like the Bears pretty big.

Saints +6 at Broncos

We know how bad the Saints’ defense is, but they’re still averaging almost 30 points a game. I just feel like anytime you give an offense like this an additional six points, you take it. This is likely going to be a wild, high scoring game. I don’t love the Saints outdoors, but I’m still going to take these six points and hope for the best.

 

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 7 Best Bets: Changing the Approach

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets. Where should you put your money this weekend?

Week 6 Record: 2-1 (Respectable!)

Season Record: 7-10-1 (Getting there!)

Underdogs are killing it in the NFL this season. It started early and most chalked it up to the usual early-season parity and also those weirdos who were pretending to be refs. But funny thing is that it’s kept up. Last week, underdogs were 12-2. The only two favorites that covered? Your New York Football Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and I had ’em both. Yippeee!

So this week I’m going to do something a little odd, which is pick three dogs and hope I get them right. Underdogs cover or outright win every single week in the NFL, and chances are with the way things are going that three will win this week. Hopefully I nab them. Let’s call it Changing the Approach, and I’d like to offer a little bit of advice to a billion dollar operation who should try the same thing: The New York Yankees.

The Yankees, the Bronx Bombers with all their power and all their home runs and questionable starting pitching just got swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. They went 3-6 in the postseason, while batting a historically-inept .188. Their starting pitching, outside of C.C. Sabathia in Game 4 against the Tigers, was incredible. Delmon Young drove in six runs in the sweep, the Yankees scored six themselves. Alex Rodriguez’s world came crashing down, Derek Jeter’s ankle exploded into 19 pieces, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson looked like they were actually trying NOT to hit the ball, and …well, you get the point.

At least the Red Sox finished last.

But this has to be the wake up call the Yankees needed. When you look back at the 2009 postseason, when the Yanks won their 27th World Series, you now have to count it as an outlier. For all the years the Yankees went into the postseason worried sick about their starting pitching, it’s almost always been the offense’s sputtering that sent them home. The theme has always been the same: horrible with runners in scoring position, no productive outs, no stealing of bases/pushing the envelope, way too dependent on the long ball, and A-Rod sucking. This season, all of that rued its collective ugly head, but it went to epic proportions. If the Yankees finally realize that they need to be a more versatile offensive team and make changes to that end this offseason, the 2012 postseason might be the best thing that ever happened to the franchise. If not, we’ll likely be saying the same thing next year.

What the Yankees need to do is change the approach. Look, A-Rod will most likely be back next season. If they can get rid of him, they will, and they should, but we’re going to assume he’s back. And that’s fine, really. He just has to be the full-time DH next season, and see if he can give the Yankees 500 healthy at bats. Nick Swisher will be gone. He’s been a good regular season player, but it’s time to move on. He somehow makes Postseason A-Rod look like Ted Williams, which is amazing.

But what the Yankees can’t do is replace Swisher with another home-run-seeking guy. They already have power in the lineup with Robinson Cano and yes, A-Rod. Russell Martin will likely be back, who will chip in 20 homers or so (he just needs to be way better as an average hitter). Where the Yankees can make big, meaningful moves towards youth and versatility is in left field/right field, third base and center field. If I’m Brian Cashman, I’m shopping Granderson this offseason. The Yankees just don’t need a guy who is going to hit 43 home runs but hit .220 and strike out 200 times. They don’t need Adam Dunn, which is what Granderson has become. Another team will take him. Guys like him have value on some teams. The Yankees aren’t one of those teams.

If I’m the Yankees in 2013, I bring back Ichiro Suzuki on a one year deal and stick him in right field. Brett Gardner plays every game in center field. I get a younger, versatile left fielder and a similar player for third base. It almost doesn’t even matter who. Just someone who can hit .270, play decent defense, bunt, steal, and most importantly, someone who isn’t just looking to mash the ball into the seats every at-bat. The rest of the infield stays the same. A rotation of Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda (who should also be brought back on a short deal), and perhaps Michael Pineda and Andy Pettitte is good enough, as was proved this October.

But if the Yanks write a blank check to Josh Hamilton and stick him in right or left field, I have a feeling that they’ll be cleaning out their lockers at about the same time next season. It’s not that Hamilton isn’t a great player, he’s just not the type of player the Yankees need. They have enough of those already. They need some more versatility, some more youth and speed, and they have ample opportunities to add that this offseason.

Now, onto the picks:

Ravens +7 at Texans

I think we can chalk this line up to ZOMG Ray Lewish is hurt the Ravens are toast! The Texans haven’t looked great for the past six quarters. The Jets did a good job against them in the second half in Week 5, and the Packers wiped them in Week 6. I guess you could say that the Texans are due to play a good game, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to have an easy time with the Ravens. This just smells like a field goal game to me. I think you take seven points with the Ravens against anyone in the NFL.

Redskins +6.5 at Giants

The Giants went 0-2 against the ‘Skins last season. They always seem to struggle with them. I could also see this being a little bit of a let-down game for the G-Men, coming off a big road win at San Francisco last week. For some reason I just have visions of RGIII running all over the place, keeping this a dogfight to the end.

Cardinals +6.5 at Vikings

Chances are this will be a really low scoring game, with two good defenses going head to head. Generally, those types of games are close all the way through. I actually like the Cards straight up in this one, so give me the 6.5 points.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record 3-3)

Shameless plug here – I’ll be ringside this Saturday when boxing debuts at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, on assignment for SBNation New York. Does that mean I probably shouldn’t make a gambling prediction for one of these fights? Yeah, but whatever. Of course, in typical boxing fashion, Saturday’s main event between super-exciting Danny Garcia and grizzled vet Erik Morales is in doubt because Morales probably failed a drug test, but there are other good fights on the card for boxing nuts. One I’m looking forward to is Randall Bailey against Devon Alexander for Bailey’s welterweight crown. Bailey pulled a shocking victory out of nowhere in his last fight against Mike Jones, flooring Jones in the 11th round after being out-boxed the previous 10. Bailey is never out of any fight, because he’s one of boxing’s toughest one-punch punchers (check YouTube for some highlights). Alexander is wildly talented but his toughness has often been put into question. The fight presents a compelling dynamic, and I’m going to say Bailey pulls the upset and retains his title. He’s at +450 to do so, so this would be another fairly big upset for Bailey.

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 6 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his Best Bets for week 6 of the NFL season

Week 5 record: 1-2

Season record: 5-9-1

Before you scoff at my horrific record, please remember that I warned you how ugly this was going to be before the season. Also, I have picked 5 out of 15 games correctly, with one push, so it’s kind of like I’m currently batting .333 with a walk. Or something like that. Either way, at this success rate I should be batting clean up for the Yankees and earn a 7-year, $120 million contract this offseason. More on those awesome Yankees in a second.

A few quick things before I get to my picks:

-So now that the Colts beat the Packers last week, does this mean Mitt Romney is going to win in November? I feel partially responsible now if this happens.

-I can’t be the only person who pretends I’m a running back when I’m navigating my way through Port Authority, Penn Station or any crowded NYC street during rush hour, am I? It really is an art form, because if you don’t look ahead and pick out holes to hit, you’re really gonna end up like Shonn Greene – a.k.a. on your ass in no time. On Tuesday morning, I was pretending I was Arian Foster, weaving my way in and out of clueless commuters (Jets defenders) to find open space. I guess Monday was still fresh in my mind.

-Steve Novak is on pace for about 616/616 from three this year.

Okay, on to the lousy picks.

Jets -3.5 vs. Colts

I haven’t picked the Jets in any of my Best Bets columns yet, so I’m going for it this week. I actually think the Jets will get the running game going a little bit, which should help Mark Sanchez in what’s a crucial game for him. On the other side, Andrew Luck has a completion percentage that’s barely better than Sanchez’s, so I think the Jets’ defense will have a solid showing. We’re yet to make our official staff predictions, but here’s a teaser in that I think the Jets cover.

Bucs -4.5 vs. Chiefs

Brady Quinn on the road. Brady Quinn on the road. Brady Quinn on the road. BRADY QUINN ON THE ROAD.

Eagles -3 vs. Lions

I just think this is a god matchup for the Eagles, at home. Detroit is off to a bad start and the Eagles’ defense has been pretty good this season. As usual, if Michael Vick can avoid turnovers, the Eagles are a tough team to knock off. Remember last year when the Lions made the playoffs? That was fun.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record 3-2)

The Orioles are +175 to win Game 5. Of course the Orioles are going to win! Have you watched the Yankees recently? They’re reinventing how to play bad playoff baseball and feeding the appetites of those old time Yankee fans who yearn for the days of Bernie Williams and Scott Brosius and Paul O’Neill and guys who “played the right way” (whatever the hell that means). One reason I think the Yanks are done tonight is because they’re at home. How many times in the past 10 years have the Yankees lost big/deciding games at home, where all you heard was “it’s okay, we’re back at the Stadium”? A bunch come to mind: Game 6 in the 2003 World Series vs. the Marlins, Games 6 and 7 in the 2004 ALCS vs. the Red Sox, the 2007 ALDS against the Indians, and last year’s Game 5 vs. the Tigers. I hope I’m wrong, but I have a feeling you’ll be able to add Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS vs. the Baltimore Orioles to that list. Well, at least somewhere Jimmy McNulty and Bunk Moreland will be celebrating.

Turn On The Jets – NFL Week 5 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his Best Bets for week 5 of the NFL Season

Eat. Drink. Football. Gamble. America. Make sure to check out our deal this weekend courtesy of Night Out. $20 for 20 wings and 2 pitchers of beer.

Week 4 Record 1-2

Season Record: 4-7-1

Damn you Larry Tynes! Once again, never bet on your crosstown rival. It just never works.

So I watched the Presidential Debate on Thursday night. It was horrible television, as most debates are. Everybody was ripping moderator Jim Lehrer for not taking control, but why even have a moderator on these things? Neither candidate follows the format whatsoever. This is how a presidential debate generally goes:

Candidate 1: “…And that’s how I plan on putting Americans back to work!”

Moderator: “Candidate 2, can you directly respond to Candidate 1’s plan to add jobs to the economy?”

Candidate 2: “Well, one thing I agree on with my opponent is that our military must remain the strongest in the world.”

These guys aren’t debating crap. They’re simply spewing pre-canned responses of their positions regardless of what the other says or what they were actually asked by the useless moderator. Unless you’re Mitt Romney, who essentially lied for 90 minutes and was deemed the run away winner. Only in American politics.

But the real reason I bring this up was that I saw a freakish parallel between the Presidential race – specifically the debate and the reaction to it – and the NFL. After the debate, it was widely opined that Romney had won. This was a shock to most people. Most expected President Obama to whitewash Romney. After the debate, there was incredible overreaction on both sides…just like we see each and every week in the NFL. It was like if the Colts beat the Packers this week. Massive underdogs, the Colts would be riding an incredible wave of high after beating an incumbent great NFL team. And good for them if they do, they should feel great about themselves. But you know if that happens, you’ll see Peter King dedicate four pages of his column on how sneaky-good the Colts are, how Andrew Luck is already a top-10 quarterback in the NFL and headed for Canton and how brilliantly the Colts are run from an organizational standpoint. And then you’ll flip on ESPN and Mark Schlereth will be babbling inanities like “The Packers are in trouble,” or “I’m seeing a shift in Aaron Rodgers that tells me he just isn’t the same guy he once was.”

Last night after the debate, Chris Matthews on MSNBC had me thinking I was watching Jets’ Post Game Live on SNY. He was totally distraught, yelling into the camera things like “What was he (Obama) doing out there!? Who was that guy!?” You can pretty much tune into SNY after every Jet game and get the same thing from Ray Lucas talking about Mark Sanchez. And of course Romney supporters are already pouring their scotch in anticipation of a November MittFest. It was just one good night for Romney, one bad one for Obama, and there’s so much that can and will happen in the time being. But you know, we can’t be rational about things like politics and sports.

Point of this all is, can we somehow find a way to have Mike Francesa moderate the next debate? Please?

Anyway, I’m supposed to make some picks or something in this column, so here we go:

Green Bay -7 at Colts

Ha! See what I did there? But no, really. Pack are due for a big win.

Bills +9.5 at 49ers

I in no way think the Bills are heading to the west coast and beating the Niners, but I think they’ll put up a much better fight than the Jets or Obama did (back to the politics for a second: who coached Obama before that debate, Brian Schottenheimer? “Hey Barry, here’s what you DON’T do: mention that 47% thing. Way too risky. Run the ball.”) Even if it’s a 14 point game late, I could see a late touchdown and a backdoor cover for the Bills.

Saints -4 vs. Chargers

It’s gonna be a silly high scoring game, but I think it’s about time the Saints won a darn football game. Back home at the dome, I think they’ll finally get on the board, and by a touchdown at least.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record 3-1)

We’re two for our last two in the English Premier League, so why mess with a broken thing? Let’s make it tiny bit harder and go with a little two-game parlay, Fulham (+165) over Southampton and Everton (+100) over Wigan.

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 4 Best Bets

Week 3 record: 0-3-0

Season record: 3-5-1

I’m just going to go ahead and do what everybody else did who had a bad week last week and blame it on the replacement refs.

Speaking of replacement refs, on Thursday morning after the league struck the deal to bring back the real refs, I happened to be listening to Mike and Mike on my way into work (The iPod connection in my car is broken and Boomer and Carton were at a commercial, okay). They had Adam Schefter on, which should have been an big enough clue to turn the channel and spare myself, but I kept it on. The first thing Schefter did, I kid you not, was praise Steve Young and Trent Dilfer for speaking their minds about the whole Monday Night reffing debacle. This made me want to veer off the side of the road and total my car. I guess the best thing you can say is that Schefter didn’t give himself the credit for ending the ref lockout, although that’s pretty much what he was doing. “Look at us here at ESPN! We’re not just shills for our husbands, the NFL! And better yet, what we say matters!” As if at any point during the negotiations, anybody brought up anything Trent Dilfer or Steve Young said. This just in: ESPN somewhat enjoys itself.

Patriots (-4) at Bills

The Patriots can’t lose three straight and start out 1-3, right? I would love to see it happen, but I just can’t. I have to think the Pats will go into this one totally desperate. Plus, did you see how the Bills’ defense looked against the Jets? Have you seen what the Jets offense has looked like since? I suppose the Pats’ offense isn’t as dominant as it once was, but I still can’t see them struggling to score too much. They should win by a touchdown.

Falcons -7 vs. Panthers

This season is setting up so darn perfectly for Matt Ryan and the Falcons. They really are the NFL’s new version of the San Diego Chargers, and Ryan is playing the Philip Rivers role. Ryan’s done nothing since turning pro except put up good numbers, win a lot in the regular season and crap the bed in the postseason. Sound familiar? The Falcons will roll to something like 13-3 this year, get a bye, then host the Giants in the 2nd round and lose 27-13. As for this week, they’ll put up enough points at home against a woeful Carolina team to cover this spread.

Giants +1.5 at Eagles

The road team in this rivalry always seems to play well, and the Giants in general are usually steady away from home. Lincoln Financial Field is going to be all sorts boozed up for this one in a way only Philadelphians can, which is going to make it even sweeter when the Giants waltz in and pummel Michael Vick. At halftime, Eagles fans will be chanting for Nick Foles, and will then spend the entire second half on hold trying to get through to WIP’s postgame show to complain about “Andy Reid’s Awwfensive playcawwwling down thurr awn the gowl loine”.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record 2-1)

We nailed it last week with Manchester United over Liverpool, so let’s stick with the Premier League and another big matchup between two of England’s top teams, Chelsea and Arsenal. Chelsea is in first place and has only allowed two goals in five Premier League games so far. Arsenal ha started to score a little more as of late, but started the year off by being shutout by Stoke City and Sunderland. I like Chelsea’s chances to pitch another shutout and snag a late goal, and at +235 I think it’s worth a shot.

Turn On The Jets NFL Week 3 Best Bets

Chris Celletti submits his Best Bets for week 3 of the 2012 NFL Season

Week 2 Record: 2-0-1

Season Record: 3-2-1

For this column’s purposes, I went 2-0-1 last week. I say that because when I actually put my money where my mouth was, by Sunday morning, the Giants’ line vs. the Buccaneers had moved to -7.5. When I wrote my Week 2 piece, it was at -7. We call that a push, you guys. But as always the moral of the story goes: Don’t bet on your crosstown rival. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you need to root for a team you usually loathe, it never ends well. So that was the lesson of Week 2 for me (that and “Always buy the point, ass-clown).” As for my two straight up wins, I still cannot figure out how the Texans were only a seven point fave against a crap Jacksonville team, and I loved the Colts and Andrew Luck getting points in their home opener (FYI: Foreshadowing alert!). As Mike Francesa might so eloquently say when he’s not catatonic: Bink, bink, boom…and now we move to Week 3.

Steelers (-3.5) at Raiders

All of us here at Turn On The Jets got a first hand view at the Steelers last week. With Rashard Mendenhall out, Pittsburgh has finally gotten with the times and become a throwing team. Ben Roehtlisberger has three very good wide receivers who can stretch the field and a dependable tight end, and they look like a team who is going to put up some serious points. Big Ben totally picked apart the Jets’ secondary last week – still a talented group even without Darrelle Revis. Oakland just got their asses handed to them by Miami. Also, “The Black Hole” is the most asinine feature of any sports stadium in the world. Right, because the Steelers – world class, insanely trained professional athletes –  are scared of a bunch of mouth-breathers who treat eight Sundays a year like Halloween. I hope the Raiders go winless at home for a decade.

Colts (-3) vs. Jacksonville

This is a meshing of my Week 2 victories in one: Colts at home vs. the Jaguars. Love it, bro. Consider me on the Andrew Luck train. He’s a soccer fan who can probably name at least 15 out of the 19 MLS teams. Good on you, sir, you have that in common with me and 1% of the American male population. Home teams have been covering at a pretty high clip so far, some of which might have to do with the replacement refs. I’m not backing off my stance with the Jaguars being one of the worst teams in the league. I picked them before the season as under 5.5 wins for the year, and an 0-3 start would get that future bet off to a promising start.

Broncos (+2) vs. Texans

I think this is going to be a really tight game, and I’ll go with the home team getting points. First off, everybody talks about the Houston Texans like they’re God’s gift to football. Yeah, they’re good. They might be really good. They’re not unbeatable. The Broncos have a solid enough defense to keep the game close, and I think we might see a Peyton Manning late-game drive to set up a winning field goal. I see this as a “can go either way” type game.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 1-1)

I know, last week’s bet that the Milwaukee Brewers would take their series against the LOLMets wasn’t the boldest of calls, but hey, I told you it was free money. And when the Mets took the first game of the series, we were hot water for a second there, folks. For Week 3 we move to the other football, and on Sunday morning before the NFL kicks off we have a classic English Premier League match between Fenway Sports Group’s latest shitshow, Liverpool, against Manchester United. Winning on the road in the Premier League is pretty tough, which is why Man U is +160 on the money line to do so (when you bet on soccer, with the prospect of ties, you get scenarios in which both teams are at “plus” odds like this). Much like the Red Sox, Liverpool is a mess. They’re winless through four Premier League matches and in 17th place. Maybe after Man U goes in and thrashes the poor Reds, John Henry will plant a story in the media that Brendan Rodgers is hooked on painkillers and Steven Gerrard and Pepe Reina are having pre-match Guinnesses and Fish and Chips. There isn’t a team and fanbase in the entire world more deserving of Fenway’s swift buy-and-destroy job than Liverpool. Good riddance.

NFL 2012 Gambling Preview: Over/Unders, MVP, Super Bowl Bets

Chris Celletti kicks off his weekly NFL gambling column with a look at over/unders, MVP and Super Bowl bets

We are happy to welcome Chris Celletti to the TOJ writing staff for the 2012 NFL season. He will be contributing a weekly NFL gambling column every Friday. Make sure to give Chris a follow on Twitter and all the credit if you hit on any of these bets – 

So preseason is finally, finally over, which means the beginning of the NFL gambling season (unless you have a serious problem and have been betting on preseason games, which I’m sure about 85% of the NFL gambling population does, no questions asked). Each week during the regular season, I’ll give you three picks against the spread.

And let’s get this out of the way, here’s my disclaimer: I am in no way trying to pass myself off as any sort of gambling expert. I don’t study how lines move during the week because I have a job, a life and friends. I’m simply going to waddle up to my computer every Friday or so and look at that week’s schedule, pick three games, and give football reasons as to why. From time-to-time I’ll also throw in a non-football bet and other random thoughts that pop into my head. We’ll tally my record and keep a running total each week and see how horrifically I did at the end of the year, because we all know betting on football has zilch to do with anything football related. This is gonna be a fun exercise.

So since we’re still a wee bit off until the actual games kickoff, I thought I’d debut with some futures bets; a few team over/unders and MVP and  Super Bowl Champs bets.  As with my weekly picks to come, I plan on having a big old laugh when looking back on these in February when the season is over and Mike Tannenbaum takes over for Bill Polian as ESPN’s “Expert NFL GM”.

FYI: I get lines from Bovada.

Team Over/Unders:

Baltimore Ravens (10) – UNDER

My dad is a huge believer of “being due” in sports, and he’s passed that on to me. This ranges from everything like “Good god is Swisher OVERDUE for a homer” to “All the home teams have won on Wild Card Weekend so far, one of the road teams has to win”. It’s completely illogical and totally irrational, and yet I still believe in it. And to me, the Baltimore Ravens are due for a crap year. They’ve made the playoffs in all of John Harbaugh’s four seasons, which is a miraculous accomplishment given that Joe Flacco has been the starting quarterback for all of them. And of course it’s because of the Ravens’ defense, which to me is on its last legs. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are on the way out, and Terrell Suggs is hurt. Their schedule isn’t a murderer’s row but does include games with the Giants, Cowboys, Eagles and of course two with the rival Steelers. It’s just pretty hard in the NFL to have five straight winning/playoff seasons, especially with a quarterback like Flacco. I don’t expect the Ravens to be bad, but I can see 8-8.

Jacksonville Jaguars (5.5) – UNDER

This is the biggest dumpster of a franchise in the NFL and it’s not even close. Can you blame Maurice Jones-Drew for wanting out? The Jags and Jets should have pulled a Tebow-MJD trade, but the Jags would rather start Blaine Gabbert at quarterback than someone who, at the very least, would fill their stadium. Oh, wait, this is easy to figure out…their owner wants absolutely nothing to do with the city of Jacksonville. Additionally, the Jags have the NFC North and the AFC East on their schedule this year. It will take them until they’re the London Jaguars before they win six games in a season.

Denver Broncos (9) – OVER

It’s going to be close but I have the Broncos slightly over, probably by about a game or so. The competition in the AFC West will remain mediocre and Denver’s schedule isn’t too bad. And then there’s this: last year, this team won eight games and one in the playoffs with Tim Tebow at quarterback. This season, they made an itty-bitty upgrade at the position with Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning throwing with his left hand could win 10 games if he gets half the support Lefty Jesus got last year from this defense, special teams and running game.

NFL MVP

Eli Manning (18/1)

The Giants’ offense has a chance to be insanely good. If David Wilson is even a fraction as good as every Giants blogger has blabbered on about since April, and Ahmad Bradshaw stays healthy, can’t Elisha have a truly MVP-caliber season? With any semblance of a running game Eli should put up monster numbers throwing to Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Co. Of course for Eli to win the MVP, the Giants will need to have a big regular season, something many seem to think isn’t going to happen, but I do (and then they’ll promptly lose in the first round of the playoffs because that’s how the Giants do things). To me, there’s no reason at all why guys like Michael Vick, Arian Foster and Matt Stafford should have better odds to win the MVP than Eli.

Super Bowl Champs

New Orleans (18/1)

What the Saints will prove this year is that in the NFL, coaching doesn’t mean a whole lot when you have a great quarterback who runs your offense from the huddle/line of scrimmage. In 2009, The Colts went 14-2 (should have went 16-0) with Jim Caldwell as their head coach, and Jim Caldwell is about as aware of his surroundings as a deer that sprints across the Garden State Parkway . The only reason that Colts team was worth anything was because of Peyton Manning. The Saints still have that whether Sean Payton is on the sidelines or not because of Drew Brees, and Brees also still has plenty of explosive weapons to use. The whole bounty scandal will end up being good for them because it forced ax-murderer wannabe Greg Williams and his Transitions lenses out of town, and Nola replaced him with Steve Spagnuolo, a totally competent and Super Bowl winning defensive coordinator. Besides, defense means jack in the NFL these days, just ask last year’s Patriots. And then there’s the dome. The Saints are impossible to beat in that dome. If they can get to the Super Bowl, well, do you know where the Super Bowl is this year? Why take the Eagles at 11/1 (this is a joke, right?) or the Bears at 15/1 if the Saints are sitting there below them?

New York Jets (40/1)

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