BTL Mid-Season Awards Podcast 2016

We are back with our 2nd edition of the BTL Mid-Season Awards Podcast. This year I handed out ballots to our other three contributing members of BTL-Sports to vote on the major award categories typically handed out by the NFL at seasons end.

All the votes have been tallied and here is our podcast for the most deserving players through the first half of 2016.

We do big picture questions for the first 17 minutes and then we do the awards the rest of the time if you want to fast forward to that.

In the podcast we discuss:

Is the Dallas offensive line a legit MVP candidate?

How much do you downgrade Tom Brady or Joey Bosa for only playing 4 games so far?

Who is NFL Coach of the Year? Followed by Not NFL Coach of the Year.

All this and more! So enjoy, in another two months, we’ll be back with the end of the season awards podcast.

 

-Mikev87

BTL Week 9 NFL Picks

Last week I opened with how the NFL was anything but predictable. And with my picks last week (8-5 vs the spread) I’m starting to find some reliable footing with most of the teams. But the underlying theme that the NFL feels a little watered down isn’t slowing at all. The Patriots look to be the best overall team top to bottom but many national pundits of the team (chiefly Bill Simmons and Mike Lombardi) are down on them as a powerhouse because of their limitations on defense. New England may be the best team because they have Brady but ask any rational Pats fan and they know they’re vulnerable to the elite offenses that Oakland and a healthy Pittsburgh team possess.

Minnesota just undermined all the goodwill they built up the first 7 weeks by turning in a stinker against a Bears team that is bottom 3 in the league. Now I know that is mainly due to a rash of injuries on the offensive line, but no one is going to feel sorry for you, not the NFL nor Vegas. But as the tree leaves begin to turn (or at least as much as they can for Southern California) the league is beginning to take a shape into teams you can count to be in a general range. Brady and the Pats against a so-so offense, take the Pats. Dallas will not be blown out of a game because the structure of that offense always allows them to stay competitive. Pittsburgh healthy with Big Ben, as reliable as they come, but be wary of that fluky road game. Philly follows the same line as Dallas. Atlanta will always get to 26 points and in most cases, 30 plus, especially against a bad defense. Oakland, Detroit and San Diego will always be in close games because they have the offensive talent and quarterbacks to do so. The NFC West is built on defense but don’t expect many offensive points, so bet accordingly. This last paragraph is the summation of what we’ve witnessed through first half the season. The only thing left is to get a feel for those second half surge teams, you hear me Green Bay, Tennessee and Buffalo?

Alright, on to the picks. So I completely forgot to make my usual Thursday Night Pick (I would’ve picked Atlanta but that is besides the point), so that pick will be omitted. Every week I’m inching closer to the right side of .500. So for the first time in awhile, I will give thoughts on each game, but I’ll aim to keep it short and concise.

Last Week: 8-5 / To Date: 62-70

(Picks in bold and home team in caps)

Steelers -1.5 over RAVENS

Big Ben will most likely play on Sunday. While he may not be a 100%, I like only laying 1.5 for a Steelers team that wants to get back in its offensive groove.

Cowboys -7 over BROWNS

I am very wary of this game, it is the ultimate trap game coming off the draining Philly game and a huge tilt with the Steelers next week. But until I see a chip in the Dallas armor, I like the Boys to roll in Cleveland.

CHIEFS -7 over Jaguars

Probably the most underrated team in the NFL over the last calendar year as they have only lost 3 games in that span. The Jags are terrible and I trust KC to take care of business at home.

DOLPHINS -3.5 over Jets

Really a toss up to me, but I like the fact that Miami is coming off it’s bye week. Would’ve liked it better at 2.5 but I’ll roll with Tannehill and the offense coming out strong.

Eagles +2.5 over GIANTS

Coming off a tough division loss and I get points against a very average Giant’s team. Seems like a lock, a little nervous of Manning/Odell at home but I’m going with the better team.

Lions +6.5 over VIKINGS

With the amount of injuries along the offensive line, I just don’t see how the Vikings can separate from anyone barring a dominating defensive effort. I like the Lions to keep it close and maybe win.

Panthers -3 over RAMS

It’s going to be a knock em down drag em out game. But I like Cam and the offensive talent over the Rams below average group. And look for Cam to finally get some calls against a frustrated Rams team(Aaron Donald).

Saints -3.5 over NINERS

Despite Brees’ road woes, the Niners simply don’t have the offensive talent to hang with Brees, Snead, Cooks, Thomas and company. Saints by a touchdown.

Colts +7.5 over PACKERS

If it was less than 5, I’m taking the Packers. I like to Packers to win outright, but Luck is notorious for making furious rallies to make the score closer than it should. And nobody takes their foot off the gas pedal than Green Bay.

CHARGERS -4 over Titans

I like both teams as potential playoff teams. The Chargers may just be the best 3-5 team ever. The Titans have their flaws but I like the Chargers to rebound nicely after a tough loss in Denver.

Broncos +2 over RAIDERS

The game of the week, possibly game of the year so far. Oakland finally gets to face a legitimate contender and it is on the big stage of national television. Denver loves being an underdog and they will use that against Oakland. This means more to the Raiders than it does to the Broncos, I expect some nerves from the Raiders and I like that I’m getting points for Denver. Broncos to win and take the lead in the AFC West.

SEAHAWKS -7 over Bills

Conventional wisdom says that Seattle will have a hard time scoring points. Russell Wilson has been pretty bad so far and the Bills are a frisky team that you should grab the points. But Seattle, coming off a loss, coming home, playing on national TV with that crowd against a Bills offense that is not elite by any means, I like Seattle’s defense to overwhelm them, force turnovers and play downhill. Seahawks by 10 points, possibly a blowout.

 

-MikeV87

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BTL Packers Podcast 3.4

It has been awhile since we did a BTL Packers Podcast. In this episode we had a lot to touch on. We quickly review the performances against Dallas (seems like a lifetime ago), Da Bears and dive in-depth for the Atlanta game.

Who or what gets the blame for the crushing 1 point loss to the Falcons?

Is Aaron Rodgers and the offense back?

Who needs to get healthy for the Packers to lockdown a playoff spot?

This episode is a long one, hour and twenty minutes, where we also touch on college prospects we’d like to see on the Packers. Another round of Prediction Corner and we do an impromptu NFC big picture playoff outlook.

So enjoy and as always, feel free to like, comment and share the podcast.

 

 

-MikeV87

BTL Week 8 NFL Picks

The term “peak” has been a common pop culture reference to describe a lot of things in 2016. “Peak television” has been thrown around many times this year to describe its sole place as the needle mover of America’s media gossip.  If not television itself, then the content it has aired that has moved the Twittersphere in every which direction with “peak Trump” or “peak Hillary”. I mean honestly, is there anything from either candidate that would surprise you at this point? But I’m not here to bang the drum of politics, I want to make a point. Regardless of everything that goes on around us, there is one thing that is not even close to “peak” anything right now, and that is the one-time insurmountable king of all sports and related content, the NFL.

With these last two primetime disasters for the NFL; Seattle and Arizona with the “Sunday Night Snoozer” or the blowout in Jacksonville before it was even halftime, I think the NFL is at an all-time low. And when you consider the last decade, it does not look good. To borrow Bill Simmon’s famous line, “are we sure anybody is really good”?

You would have to turn the clock back a little over 10 years to where the league felt as watered down as this. In 2005-2006; Brady and the Pats where on a break (3 SBs in 4yrs), Favre was toiling away in Green Bay (led the NFL in INTs in ’05), Jake Plummer was leading the quasi-resurgence in Denver(I repeat, Jake Plummer), Big Ben and the Steelers had not been born quite yet and Dallas was still pretty terrible. I mean we had Rex Grossman start a Super Bowl against the Colts in 2007!! Rex Grossman! Let that sink in for a moment. I mean can you imagine someone so inept at quarterbacking that he actually led his team to the Super Bowl?!…………..Well……. we did have Peyton Manning’s corpse this past February, so maybe this thing is cyclical, like Clemenza’s theory about mob wars in Godfather Part I (calm down Denver fans, just throwing a little shade, still SB champs).

Anyways, this massive uncertainty week to week has left us borderline degenerate gamblers grasping at the proverbial straws for anything to hang our hat on. Other than Belicheck and Brady (keep in mind they have a shaky defense that can’t generate pressure like they use to), is there anybody you can really trust? Big Ben and his Steelers can’t stay healthy for more than 4 games at a time and cannot be trusted on the road (see Miami). Seattle can’t protect Russell Wilson to generate more than 20 points, much less a touchdown (I had to pick Russell freaking Wilson in fantasy this year)! The young Raiders just might be the AFC’s second best team. We’re only one game away from “what’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers this week” for the 6th time in a calendar year. And Carolina has shown us that the league giveth and the league can taketh away before you can bat an eye.

If the NFL is anything as of late, it’s “peak uncertainty”. It feels like this might be the start of a multi-year slump where no one can be trusted and a lot of these picks hinge less on quarterback play (the gold standard of betting from 2004-2014), to matchup based analytics. And no, I don’t pretend to be a founding member of Football Outsiders, but just keep in that in mind when you throw down junior’s college fund on Andrew Luck over Alex Smith.

On to the picks, I went 10-6 last week to extend my streak of plus .500 to three weeks in a row. I will be keeping the same picks format, and I will get back to giving thoughts on each game, just been a little busy with life at the moment, which is why I went a little longer on the intro.

(Home team in caps, pick in bold)

Last Week: 10-6 / To Date: 56-65 

BENGALS -3 over Redskins

Chiefs -2.5 over COLTS

Raiders -1 over BUCCANERS

SAINTS + 1.5 over Seahawks

Lions +1.5 over TEXANS

Jets -2.5 over BROWNS

Patriots -6.5 over BILLS

PANTHERS +3 over Cardinals

Chargers +4 over BRONCOS

FALCONS -3 over Packers

COWBOYS -4.5 over Eagles

Vikings -4.5 over BEARS

 

-MikeV87

 

 

 

 

 

 

BTL Week 7 NFL Picks

Editors note*****

Totally forgot to post this Saturday night. The picks are unchanged from Saturday (as you can see by my 6 misses so far). As for tonight’s pick, BRONCOS (+8) over Texans.

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As each week that passes, my record against the spread slowly improves to the point of respectability. Last week I went 9-7 against the spread. I took a Jets-like beating in the early games, only to rebound and cover my last 8 games to finish on the right side of .500 for the second week in a row.

So for the 3rd week in a row, I will just be posting picks. The old format will be back when I have more time but for now, why mess up a good thing? (Casino reference)

Now I did miss on my Thursday Night pick (which usually isn’t a good sign for my upcoming picks), but I’ll chalk that up to my “everybody needs to be fired” mood that was consuming me in the days leading up to the Bears game. Nothing really changes for me on the Packers front with their 26-10 win over possibly the worst team in the league in Chicago. Be sure to check out our live cast we did for the game if you want more Packer thoughts. But for now, on to my picks.

(Pick in bold, home team in caps)

Last Week: 9-7 / To Date: 45-59 

Giants -2.5 over RAMS (London Game)

CHIEFS -6 over Saints

TITANS -3 over Colts

Vikings -3 over EAGLES

Browns +10.5 over BENGALS

LIONS -1.5 over Redskins

Raiders +1.5 over JAGUARS

BILLS -2.5 over Dolphins

Ravens +2 over JETS

Buccaneers over NINERS

Chargers +6 over FALCONS

Patriots -7 over STEELERS

Seahawks +1 over CARDINALS

BRONCOS +8 over Texans

BTL Packers Podcast: Packers vs Bears – Live Cast

So I decided to do a live audio cast of the Thursday Night Football Game of the Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers. In what my brother and I considered a “turning point” game in this 2016 Packers season, we wanted live raw thoughts on the current state of Aaron Rodgers, Mike McCarthy and the Packers organization for this possible “season altering” game.

We give you a 15 minutes pre/current game banter and visit after the end of every quarter with our thoughts. Unfortunately our longest segment got deleted by GarageBand on the very end. So I sum up our 30 minute talk into about 5 minutes.

Give us a listen as we talk about the possible downfall of the Packers, then go optimistic about Green Bay first two drives, to all-the-sudden switch to firing the entire front office. We finally ended up with a satisfied but cautious outlook on the Packers season going forward.

 

 

And as always; share the podcast, give us a like and enjoy.

 

MikeV87

 

 

BTL Week 6 NFL Picks

As I said last week, I couldn’t have gotten any worse! I returned to the right side of .500 with a 8-6 record against the spread last week. After 5 full weeks, I feel like we are getting to good sense of what teams are. The Patriots have returned to the ultimate reliable with “Tom Terrific” back as the signal caller. The Steelers seem to be a lock as well, just as long they stay out of their own way. The Vikings probably cap out the teams where, at this point, you know what you’re getting.

So I struggled out of the gate but I like what I’m getting this week. It is time to start stacking some major wins here so maybe, just maybe, The Rivera will ask me to be the junior version of “Cousin Sal Sure Thing”. If not, there’s always The Orleans door to knock on!

So last week I changed the format because I didn’t have enough time for commentary. And guess what?! We’re sticking with it!! On with the picks. What follows will be a complete visceral and gun to the head opinion. Bet at your caution 🙂

(Pick in bold, home team in caps)

Last Week: 8-6 / To Date: 36-51 

BILLS – 9 over Niners

Eagles -2.5 over REDSKINS

TITANS -7 over Browns

Ravens +3.5 over GIANTS

Panthers -3 over SAINTS

Jaguars +1.5 over BEARS

Rams +3 over LIONS

DOLPHINS +7 over Steelers

PATRIOTS +7.5 over Bengals

Chiefs -2.5 over RAIDERS

SEAHAWKS +6.5 over Falcons

PACKERS -4.5 over Cowboys

TEXANS -3 over Colts

CARDINALS -6.5 over Jets