Sports

The plate: the foals are stamped

I told you.

All season, I’ve looked like a turd. I warned you about the soft Indianapolis high school. I told them that any team that relies on Corey Simon to be at the center of its defensive rebuilding effort is sure to be disappointed. I’ve pointed out the ridiculously easy schedule of the first half and the lucky breaks the Colts got when late-season opponents like New England and Jacksonville suffered key injuries the week before Indy played them. I’ve criticized them so many times that I’m pretty sure every American living in the 317 area code, at some point in the last four months, called my house. (How do you rednecks get my number, anyway?) But I stood my ground and picked the Steelers to win outright last weekend.

Sweet vindication. Finally someone made the Colts look sick. Is Peyton Manning a very good quarterback? Yes. Are the Colts’ skill players as good as everyone else’s skill players? Yes. But is that defense really one of the best in the league? Absolutely, posit-friggin-tively not. The corners are average. Bob Sanders is a good run player but he couldn’t cover Bea Arthur in a passing pattern. Dwight Freeney is a monster when he’s one-on-one and downright invisible when he’s not (which is the fate of extremely light defensive ends). No one else on the defensive line really scares you. It’s extremely possible to line up on both sides of the ball, hit the Colts in the mouth and shake them up. Did you see Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne complain on every play? That’s what happens when Ike Taylor repeatedly pops your mouth.

Indy’s problem is the same as always: too much offense, too little defense. Too much delicacy, little musculature. Too much complexity with the ball, too much vanilla without the ball. It’s a great recipe for regular-season success. But against very good and physical teams at critical times?

I told you.

What do you think of the collapse of the Colts? Is Peyton Manning just not an accurate and stable enough quarterback to beat very good teams in big games?

Greg Jorssen, BoDog.com: People already say that Peyton is this generation’s Dan Marino: a guy who has tremendous talent, but doesn’t have what it takes to do it when it matters most. Remember: the University of Tennessee didn’t win a National Championship until the year after Manning left! I don’t think there is any doubt that Peyton’s time will come when he will lead his team to victory in games when it matters most. Remember, people said that about Elway for 14 years before he finally won the big one. My biggest concern with Peyton isn’t what he can and will eventually do on the field. This is how he behaves after a crushing defeat. He pointed fingers a lot in postgame interviews, blaming the loss not on himself but on his offensive line. Lots of “me” and “them,” whereas in Denver, Tom Brady said a lot of “we” after his devastating loss to the Broncos. At the end of the day, Manning has the heart, he definitely has the passion and the skill. I think the downfall of him right now is just that he cares so much about winning that he just can’t relax on the field and just play the game.

I told you those Indy and Seattle lines were too big. What was the net result of the Indy game, particularly in terms of handicaps? And how did the books fare during Divisional Round weekend overall?

GJ, BoDog.com: Seattle’s lineup was perfect, actually: They closed out as nine-point favorites and won by 10. The Indy result was good for us. At the start of the week, the stock was fairly balanced; however, we received a lot of money on the Colts closer to the start, which made us huge Steeler fans when the game started. Overall, it was a crazy weekend as bettors liked the stray dog ​​in three of the four games. With Pittsburgh winning outright, Seattle covering, Denver winning outright, and three of four games overall falling short, the book had a very strong weekend.

What do you expect from the conference championships, both from a “real” and betting perspective?

GJ, BoDog.com: Another weird weekend is coming up, where we’ll be cheering on the two local favorites. Bettors continue to love the Panthers, with two-thirds of the handle so far in Carolina to cover +4. As for the Steelers and Broncos, the action is fairly even, with a slight edge over Pittsburgh covering +3. Both games have bettors who believe the score will top the posted totals of 43.5 and 41, respectively. From a real perspective, I think there is something seriously wrong with both games. Pittsburgh’s record on the road the past two years is 15-3 (8-2 this year), and they will face the Broncos, who have a perfect 9-0 record at home. In the NFC, the Panthers’ road record this year is also 8-2, and they’re visiting the undefeated hometown Seattle Seahawks.

I think the Panthers are playing with enough emotion to take them to the Super Bowl. Their defense is one of the best in the league to stop the run, and I don’t think Seattle has a corner that can stop Steve Smith. This should be a close one, but I’m predicting a Panther surprise. As for the AFC, speaking of excitement, how can you not believe the Steelers will continue their momentum all the way to the Super Bowl? His lightning attack on Sunday floored the mighty Colts, and I think the trend of upsets in the postseason will continue. It’s quite possible that two teams could match the feat of the 1986 Patriots in winning three straight on the road to reach the title game.

Football is certainly dominating my thoughts right now, but with NCAA Hoops warming up, are bettors already paying attention? Where do they seem to be putting their money? What do you think will drive the major trends in March?

GJ, BoDog.com: Bettors are paying more attention to the games, especially now that they’re in conference play. One trend that is glaringly obvious so far is that once-central conferences are no longer as dominant as they once were. In the ACC, after Duke there really isn’t a team that can do any harm in this year’s tournament. It’s not unrealistic to think the Blue Devils can dominate the table in conference play. There are no national championship contenders in the Pac 10, just Florida in the SEC and of course Texas in the Big 12. The exceptions to this trend are the Big East and the Big 10, who are incredibly talented at the top of their game. conferences. We no longer have the dominant teams we once did, which leads one to believe that parity is quite evident in college hoops, more so than ever. I mean, think about it. When was the last time you remember Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky all losing on the same night and all on their home courts? All of this will make for a wild March Madness tournament, where we’ll see a tremendous amount of surprises.

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