Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will.
Another week, another failure. Vegas took a bit hit this past week, and thus, so did I as I played the sharp side instead of the public side, but still wound up under .500. So it’s time to change it up yet again. This week, because it’s been shown that I know nothing about football and/or gambling this year, I’ll be discussing other things that may or may not be tangentially related to my picks. But probably not.
Andom robservations and poorly considered anti-public picks after the jump!
(Note: All point spreads listed here are the lines at the time bets were made. Be sure to consult your very legitimate and legal sports book [cough] before making a bet of your own; lines move constantly due to the action on particular games. Also, gambling is illegal in many states. And watch out for those offshore betting sites, lest you end up like an online poker professional. Okay? Okay. Onward and upward.)
Last Week’s Record: 5-9-1
My Record So Far: 24-36-3
Thursday Night Game (10/3 8:30PM ET)
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns
The NHL season begins for my hometown Blues today, opening at home against the Nashville Predators. A number of nationwide pundits are picking the Blues to win the Cup, and I heard on the radio something along the lines of: “If the optimism is there throughout the country, why isn’t it here where the fans are?” The answer is: We know better. Each and every year the Blues are supposed to make the jump from incremental improvement or regression into a long playoff run, and they never do. Our young players are supposed to blossom, and they never do, either because they are just not that good (recently Erik Johnson, TJ Oshie, David Backes) or they play too skillfully for the scrappy defensive system our series of coaches tends to instill (David Perron, Vladimir Tarasenko). And when a young player does blossom, it is thoroughly unexciting, such as solid defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who is a franchise player, just a kind of boring one. I’m looking for the blues to be a 4 or 5 seed, and lose in the first round of the playoffs again, probably to the Kings, who are a better version of what the Blues are trying to be.
My Pick: Bills +4.5
Sunday Early Games (10/6 1PM ET)
Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins
I live in a house now, which is fantastic after a good twelve years or so of dorms and apartments. I can play my music as loudly as I like, not worry that anyone is hearing my porn and judging me, or hearing the childbirth on the TV show I’m watching and thinking it’s porn and judging me. But mostly, I don’t have to hear other people around me. When I lived in Los Angeles, my apartment’s bedroom adjoined the kitchen of a very large Salvadoran family who made breakfast at 6 every morning, seemingly through some ritual of loudly yelling and banging pots and pans together. My living room was directly below the living room of my upstairs neighbor, which had been turned into a band’s rehearsal space, complete with drum kit, and they would poorly play Helmet’s “Unsung” and the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong”, two deceptively difficult songs to play. The worst, though, was when they attempted to play Rush’s “Subdivisions,” because what?
My Pick: Ravens +3
New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears
Anyways, before I moved to LA I also lived in a first floor apartment, in an old building, which meant I could hear everything that went on in the apartment above me, no matter what. For a two-year span, my upstairs neighbor was a wholesome-looking young blonde who was very loud during sex. I heard it so often, it became part of the background noise to me: squeaky-squeaky bedsprings getting faster and faster, lots of moaning, her yelling out, then the dude grunting loudly, then footsteps plod-plod-plodding to the bathroom immediately and the shower turning on. This happened so often and during all parts of the day, so that certain memories of things are tied to this routine series of sounds. Take, for example, watching The Departed from Netflix. I cannot remember certain parts of that movie without adding in an extra soundtrack of squeak-squeak-squeak-squeaksqueaksqueak-“Oh my God! Oh fuck! I’m gonna come!” “Ugghggggh.”-plod-plod-plod-plod-whooosh.
My Pick: Saints +1
New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals
I can’t stop listening to this new album from CHVRCHES, a synth-pop group from Scotland. It hits me right in the sweet-spot of poppy, synthy music with female vocals that is happy-sounding on the surface but carries an undercurrent of deep sadness. While songs from it will likely soundtrack commercials from the iPhone in the near future, it’s a lot better than that.
My Pick: Patriots +2
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
Because I work in an office where there are a lot of people doing “creative” work—basically writing copy or doing some sort of design—just about everyone listens to headphones. I kind of wish I could instantly know what each person is listening to, and also know what people might guess I’d be listening to. When going into work I wear a collared shirt and jeans, so I don’t think that gives much away. I’d like to hope everyone thinks I’m jamming out to some Dave Matthews Band or something while I’m really listening to Black Flag’s Family Man.
My Pick: Lions +6.5
Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts
Because there needs to be another unsolicited opinion about the finale of Breaking Bad on the internet, here’s mine: the finale was very good, satisfying, clever and about as happy and fulfilling as it could be while still being true to the show it was. All that positive praise aside, I still think the best series finale I’ve ever seen was The Shield, a show that maybe overall wasn’t as good as BB, but ended with much more impact. And I personally like the Sopranos ending, so I’d put that above BB too, but of the “canon” of great cable dramas, Breaking Bad ended far more creatively and strongly than The Wire.
My Pick: Colts +2.5
Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams
Okay, I will talk about football a little bit. Is it possible that the Rams-Redskins trade that gave the Skins RG3 and the Rams a buttload of draft picks didn’t work for either side? RG3 has really yet to be good this year, and the Redskins needed a lot more than just a quarterback to improve, as can be seen from their historically bad defense so far this year. Even the columnists and radio personalities in St. Louis who called fans “Bradford-bashers” are beginning to admit that maybe, just maybe, Sam Bradford is not good and never will be. The excuse of not having any weapons, or that the line is terrible—those don’t work anymore. He might just Sram Badford. Which makes me Bram Sadford. So the Redskins needed a bunch of defensive players like Alec Ogletree and Michael Brockers, and the Rams needed a quarterback…yeah.
My Pick: Jags +11.5
Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans
A few months ago, I finally got a smartphone, and in those few short months I’ve become completely addicted to it. At first, though, I didn’t really know what I should do with it, so I was all “I should put an app on this” and so I got Instagram. So hey, world, check out some sepia-toned pictures of my parents’ doggie and records I own, while I follow a mix of people I know who post lots of pictures of craft cocktails they’re about to drink, and people I don’t who post lots of pictures of half-naked women. And Nelly.
My Pick: Chiefs -3
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
In my ten or so years in the “real world,” I have worked for public organizations, small businesses, large corporations, and small businesses swallowed up by large corporations. There have been good and bad things about all of the above: working for a public organization means you’re not part of awful/groce capitalism, but you make no money. Small businesses, you’re close to who actually makes money off of what you do, and there’s more chance for actual importance, but you make less money than at a big corporation. And with a big corporation, there are so many layers between you and who actually makes money off of what you do that you’re just a number, unappreciated and easily cast aside. But you make more money, usually, and get better benefits. And if your boss is good, you can at least maintain the illusion that your work is important or appreciated. So in my experience the worst thing a big corporation can do is what every big corporation does: holding a big company-wide meeting where your illusion of importance is set aside, some executive who lives in a different city comes in and talks at you instead of to you, and you realize fully you’re just a cog in a gigantic machine and no one who matters would give half a cashew-flecked shit whether you lived or died. This is especially true when you live in “flyover country” as I do, and the only reason your company’s operations are located in your town is that the labor and office space is far cheaper than in Boston, New York, San Francisco, LA, Seattle or the DC suburbs. Can you tell I just attended one of those meetings?
My Pick: Eagles +2.5
Sunday Late Games (10/6 4:05/4:25PM ET)
Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals
Because I am on a low-carb diet, the amount of snack foods open to me is slim. As a result, I have taken to eating a lot of nuts. When it comes to packages of nuts widely available in gas stations, I declare Frito-Lay’s Deluxe Mixed Nuts the winning package. Winning package. Nuts. Huh-huh.
My Pick: Cardinals +2
Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys
Also due to my low-carb diet, I have eaten more chicken wings than one could possibly count in the past year-and-a-half or so. Thus, I consider myself a wing connoisseur as well as the progenitor of chicken genocide. When I die and end up in hell—and I will end up in hell, obviously—I will be constantly pecked by a bunch of armless chickens taking their eternal revenge. In my searches far and wide, I have concluded that the best wings in the St. Louis Metro Area are not at any sort of down-home pub and grill or secret location, but the suburban chain bar Hot Shots. Deal with it, snobs.
My Pick: Cowboys +7
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders
I have a suggestion for the next time Key & Peele do a football names sketch: LaCrondalus Bondurant, Middle Tennessee State.
My Pick: Raiders +4.5
Sunday Night Game (10/6 8:25PM ET)
Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers
Code for undertalented white guy in all four of the major US team sports: In the NFL, Chris Long has a “good motor.” In the MLB, Daniel Descalso is “scrappy.” In the NBA, Nick Collison is a “minutes guy” with “good fundamentals.” In the NHL, nearly everyone on the Blues roster is “a grinder.”
My Pick: Texans +7
Monday Night Football (10/7 6:30PM ET)
New York Jets at Atlanta Falcons
Code for talented minority in all four of the major US team sports: In the NFL, Robert Griffin III is an “athlete” at the QUARTERBACK POSITION. In the MLB, Yasiel Puig “doesn’t run out pop flies” and “pimps his home runs.” In the NBA, JaVale McGee can “jump out of the gym.” In the NHL, Vladimir Tarasenko is “an enigmatic” Russian.
My Pick: Jets +9
See you all next week!