October 31st, 2010
Not too much detail today, but a few comments here and there. First, an overall comment: Literally every home team is favored. Many are favored by 2.5… meaning Vegas doesn’t know, either. Home field isn’t really that big, is it?
Bills @ Kansas City(-7)
OK, well, home field in KC probably is huge… and the Bills still stink. Chefs.
Jaguars @ Dallas(-6.5)
The Cowboys always get favorable spreads because people like them, but they shouldn’t be favored over anyone with Jon Kitna starting!
Panthers @ St. Louis(-2)
Gotta like the Rams at home against an offense that might do nothing.
Dolphins @ Cincinnati(-1)
Miami is better than their record. Cinci isn’t. I like getting a point here.
Redskins @ Detroit(-2.5)
At first I couldn’t believe this spread… and then I saw McNabb probably won’t play. Yeah, OK, I’ll take the Lions.
Broncos @ San Francisco(-2.5)
Alex Smith is out… which maybe means that they’ll actually be even better. Broncos are in a tailspin. Give the points.
Titans @ San Diego(-4)
OK, here’s one I really don’t get. Titans are 5-2 against the spread, Chargers are 2-5… and the Titans are ‘dogs here? OK, I’ll take the points.
Packers @ New Jersey Jets(-6)
Green Bay is a M.A.S.H. unit. Jets cover.
Buccaneers @ Arizona(-3)
Again, seems like the wrong team is favored. I’ll happily take these gift points.
Vikings @ New England(-6)
So, my brother, who is a Pats fan, was asking people who Pats fans would rather see, Favre or Jackson? He said the best answer he got before mine was “Tarvaris is probably worth a fumble and a pick, and Favre is probably worth two picks.” So it’s a wash, right? My answer: “Jackson, so that way the game announcers might actually talk about the game instead of slupring Favre for three hours.” New England.
Seahawks @ Oakland(-2.5)
No idea. Seattle?
Steelers @ New Orleans(-1)
The Saints still aren’t right, but Pittsburgh is playing really well. I’ll happily take the underdog Steelers.
Texans @ Colts(-5.5)
Houston can’t stop the pass, but Dallas Clark is out, Addai is out, Collie is probably out, Garcon and Wayne and Gonzalez are nicked up but will play, and the Colts are still favored by almost a TD. Why? The Texans can’t stop the pass, with Ryans out for the season they won’t be able to stop the run. The Colts defense probably can’t stop the Texans all that well, either, with Johnson healthy again (finally). If the Colts were fully healthy, I would easily give this. Right now I’m not so sure. Can the Texans really sweep the Colts? Nah… I’ll give the points.
October 30th, 2010
So, it appears that Standard is completely wide open right now with no single dominant deck. I think that’s fantastic! It does make it hard to decide what to play. I didn’t actually think I’d be able to go to Game Day so I hadn’t been thinking too hard about this problem and I had almost no time to put things together, so what I ended up playing was essentially what I happened to have already thrown together. I had a Valakut deck together, a UGR Fauna Shaman/Vengevine/Titan deck together, and a Mono-Black Control deck together. I figured there’d be the least hate around for mono Black, and I haven’t played much control of late, so I went with that. Here’s the list:
4 Gatekeeper of Malakir
2 Wumcoil Engine
2 Grave Titan
2 Liliana Vess
1 Sorin Markov
3 Everflowing Chalice
3 Ratchet Bomb
4 Doom Blade
2 Grasp of Darkness
4 Sign in Blood
2 Mimic Vat
2 Consuming Vapors
2 Mind Sludge
3 Tectonic Edge
1 Ratchet Bomb
2 Vampire Hexmage
1 Consume the Meek
2 Mind Sludge
2 Bloodwitch of Malakir
4 Sadistic Sacrament
1 Marsh Casualties
This is obviously based on Philip Green’s Monoblack Control from the Nashville Star City Open. I made a couple pretty minor changes, dropping one Grave Titan and putting in a pair of Wurmcoil Engines and going down to only two Consuming Vapors. It’s pretty much “kill everything and then drop fatties.” One of my favorite things with this deck is that you are pretty much guaranteed to actually go ultimate with Lilliana at least once during the day.
Turnout at Montag’s wasn’t all that great, so we only played four rounds of Swiss and cut to top 4.
Round 1: Cory, playing Esper Allies
Game 1 he never really developed any board presence. I beat him down with a Gatekeeper and a collection of his own dead guys from the Mimic Vat and then when it was pretty much academic I beat him down with a Wurmcoil. Game 2 he definitely made a game out of it. He started with a turn 1 Hada Freeblade and just kept dropping guys and I wasn’t quite keeping up on the removal front, so he beat me down to 9. I managed to Corrupt a 5/5 Nimana Sell-Sword to stabilize both my life total and the board position, and then I got down another Wurmcoil and then managed to keep his board clear and beat him up with it.
1-0 matches, 2-0 games
Round 2: Melissa, playing B/r discard
The deck was interesting, Slavering Nulls and some burn for removal/finisher, then the full Lilliana suite including both Spectres and Caresses, as well as Mind Rots and Doom Blades. Game 1 I opened with a turn 5 Grave Titan off a pair of Chalices, and she never had any answer for the big fattie and his zombie minions. Game 2 was a much more drawn-out affair because not only did I get a slow start, but she got a turn 5 Painful Quandary and that was pretty annoying. However, I was able to work around it. I had her dead Slavering Nulls in the Vat and got Liliana down. She did Bolt Lilliana once, but I was able to go ultimate and then pop the Ratchet Bomb for 5 to kill the Quandary. Then I rushed her. She actually killed many of the things out of the graveyard with a Pyroclasm, but not the Wurmcoil that I had thrown away to her last Mind Rot, which was after I was pretty sure I’d be able to get Lilliana to go ultimate. Oh, and I should note that in both games the lethal final two points of damage were done via Sign in Blood.
2-0 matches, 4-0 games
Round 3: Jeff, playing Pyromancer’s Ascension
This is a horrific matchup for my deck. Game 1 was just a festival of dead removal cards. I did not get a fast enough start, and he got two active Ascensions and Bolted me into the earth. Game 2 I sided in 11 cards: both Memoricides, the Sacraments, the extra Mind Sludges, and the 4th Ratchet Bomb. This game took forever, with neither of us able to do much. He had permission, but I managed an early Ratchet Bomb and then had another one for his Jace, and then a third for another Ascension. However, I then proceeded to draw nothing but land. I drew a total of 13 Swamps and 2 Edges, and not much from my sideboard or in the way of significant threats. I had him in top-deck mode (both of us were) from a good Sludge, but no help from my deck. My last draw was a Swamp, of course, and underneath that was a Corrupt that would have hit for 12 (yes, I had 12 Swamps on the board) and almost certainly would have been game because he was nearly out of burn spells. Grr.
2-1 matches, 4-2 games
Round 4: Parker, playing mono-green infect
Small, fast Infect dudes, some Arbor Elves for acceleration, and lots of pump spells. It’s actually pretty decent, and a really cheap deck. However, Game 1 I opened with two Doom Blades, a Grasp, a Ratchet Bomb, and a pair of Swamps. Pretty good. He got several good swings in with little guys—i let them through and held on to the instant-speed removal in case of pump spells, and stabilized at something like six poison counters before dropping a Grave Titan, to which he scooped. Game 2 was more of the same. I opened with a Doom Blade and two Ratchet Bombs, some land, and a Wurmcoil. He actually got me up to nine poison counters but I blew up one Bomb set to 2 to kill two small Infect guys, and then another Bomb for 1 to kill a pair of Elves. I also got off a Sludge so he was in topdeck mode. Soon after I got a Coil out and an active Vat, and that was it.
3-1 matches, 6-2 games
Semifinals: Joe, playing UB control
I’ve lost to Joe in the semis of two recent FNM SOM drafts, so this all seemed eerily familiar. I knew what he was playing going in and I knew it was going to be a tough matchup for me. Sure enough, he pretty much wrecked me. I made one “duh” play error (he tapped out to cast a Frost Titan as his only creature on turn 6 of game 1, and I used a Doom Blade as a sorcery to kill it when I had not one, but two Gatekeepers in my hand… d’oh) but I think that was the only real mistake. I liked his build a lot. i knew he was playing Mimic Vat and Frost Titan and Wurmcoil Engine, but I did not realize he was playing two main deck Negates until Lilliana ate one of them game 1. Things did not improve from there. The worst problems with mono black are, of course, artifact/enchantment removal, and planeswalkers. Ratchet Bomb is an answer, but a slow one.
3-2 matches, 6-4 games
So, it was feast or famine with MBC, win 2-0 or lose 0-2. I don’t think I’ll play it again, but if I were going to do so, I would definitely dump Sorin for something else. Going down to 2 Consuming Vapors was definitely the right thing to do, as they really weren’t all that good. It’s an OK deck overall, but nothing special. It’s great against creature-heavy decks, but less so against anything else.
Now I have to figure out what to play at FNM on Friday, since we’re done drafting Scars and now we get a month of Standard, yay!
October 24th, 2010
Another quick one…
Browns @ New Orleans(-13)
Cleveland is actually game, too many points. Browns.
Jaguars @ Kansas City(-9)
Seems like too many, despite last Monday’s horror show. Jags.
Eagles @ Tennessee(-3)
I like the Iggles here.
Bengals @ Atlanta(-3.5)
Falcons are better than they showed last week; give the points.
Redskins @ Chicago(-3)
Think Cutler can stay upright? Dunno, man… Skins.
Steelers @ Miami(+3)
Dolphins’ offense hasn’t played anyone playing D like this; give the points.
Rams @ Tampa Bay(-3)
St. Louis is better than people thought this year, but not so much away from home. Bucs.
Bills @ Baltimore(-13)
Now rooting for Buffalo to match the Lions 0-16. Probably won’t happen, but adds some interest to their games. Oh, and they get hammered here badly, Ravens run it up on them.
Niners @ Carolina(+3)
Have the Niners righted the ship? Hard to say. Panthers are awful, but I’m still not sold on the Niners going east and playing an early game. Take the points!
Cardinals @ Seattle(-7)
Uhh… Arizona has no QB, Seabags now have Lynch. Yeah, give the points.
Raiders @ Denver(-7.5)
Oakland showed us how truly awful they really are last week. Again, give the points.
Patriots @ San Diego(-2.5)
Dammit, that spread seems like the wrong direction. WTF do i not know about this game? Isn’t Gates nicked up, and both Naanee and Floyd are banged up, too? How are the Bolts favored here? I have to take these points, but somethings seems very wrong…
Vikings @ Green Bay(-2.5)
Minnesota looked like ass last week (again) and only won because the Cowboys continue to shoot themselves in the foot. Packers want revenge for last year here and I see no reason to think they won’t get it.
Giants @ Dallas(-3)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Speaking of “wrong team favored,” this baffles me. Do the Cowboys have the talent to cover this? Of course. Have they played well enough to cover this? Not even close. Giants and thanks for the points!
October 16th, 2010
Chargers @ St. Louis (+9)
That’s a lot of points. The Rams seem a lot better at home, and the Chargers really haven’t shown any consistency this year. I’ll take the points.
Ravens @ New England (-2.5)
I hate spreads like this, because I think Baltimore is clearly the better team… so why is New England favored? I don’t get it, and it makes me suspicious that people in Vegas know something I don’t. Ah, screw it, I’m taking the Ravens.
Falcons @ Philadelphia (-2)
Man, I hate this one, too. Second game in a row where I think the wrong team is favored. I have no faith in Kolb, so I’ll take the points again.
Browns @ Pittsburgh (-14)
Colt McCoy vs. the most QB-aggressive defense in the league, plus the Steelers will be looking to prove that Big Ben is healthy, and finally, the Steelers hate the Browns. I’d give 20 easily here.
Saints @ Tampa Bay (+4.5)
There is something deeply wrong with the Saints this season. They might win this game, but if they do it’ll be by a couple points at best. They’re reeling, and the Bucs have something going this year, somehow. I’m taking the points!
Seabags @ Chicago (-6.5)
Seattle is not good. On the road, they’re really awful. Bears.
Lions @ New Jersey Giants (-19)
Holy crap that’s a big number. That’s a college football number there; this should be the spread for the Steelers game. I know that the Lions are terrible and the Giants have been on fire lately, but 19? My natural inclination is to just not give that big a number, but again, this suggests Vegas knows something, and I’ve gone against that too many times already. I will <gulp> give the 19. Yow.
Dolphins @ Green Bay (-3)
I have to pick a slight favorite sometime, right? They say Rodgers is supposed to play, so they should be OK, right?
Chiefs @ Houston (-4.5)
The Texans started out on fire, but they’ve played like ass the last three games, even though they didn’t lose them all. (Quality play is not necessary to beat the Raiders, unsurprisingly.) Also, André Johnson is still not 100% and the Chefs have been playing inspired defense. I’ll take the points, again. I will, however, be at the game and actively cheering against my own pick!
Raiders @ San Francisco (-7)
Exactly how many games have the Niners won, much less won by a full TD? This is again one of those spreads that makes me worry that I don’t know something I’m supposed to. Again, against my better judgment, I’ll take the points.
Jets @ Denver (+3.5)
Rex’s boys are just plain better, and should win this handily.
Cowboys @ Minnesota (-1.5)
Despite what happened in the playoffs last year, this is the kind of game the Dallas franchise wins and the Vikings always lose. Again, I’ll take the points.
Colts @ Washington (+3)
While I will most definitely be rooting for the Skins, I’m picking the Colts. I just don’t see the Colts as a .500 team, and the way to beat the Colts is to run the ball, and the Skins aren’t really a running team, particularly without Portis.
Titans @ Jacksonville (+3)
Not only are both teams 3-2, but they’re both 3-2 against the spread. I haven’t seen much of either team, but my sense is that the Titans are better, if only a little. Just for a change of pace, I’ll give the points.
October 16th, 2010
Actual plate in my parking lot at work one day:
How awesome is that?
Yes, Fark, you may hotlink…
October 7th, 2010
Got to do this quickly and early, as I will be off the grid starting tomorrow morning through Monday night…
Jaguars @ Buffalo, pick
Pick? Really? Well, I’m sure as hell not picking the Bills without getting points, no matter where the game is.
Chiefs @ Indianapolis(-7)
Buccaneers @ Cincinnati(-6.5)
Too many points. Tampa.
Packers @ Washington(+2.5)
Rams @ Detroit(-3)
Bears @ Carolina(-1)
What? I know Chicago wasn’t good last week, but… clearly someone knows something I don’t. Panthers.
Giants @ Houston(-3)
Spread seems spot on. Giants.
Broncos @ Baltimore(-7)
Falcons @ Cleveland(+3)
Browns have been hot against the spread, I’ll take Cleveland.
Saints @ Arizona(+7)
New Orleans finally gets a big win.
Titans @ Dallas(-7)
I don’t like the Titans right now, but that seems too rich. Tennessee.
Chargers @ Oakland(+6)
Eagles @ San Francisco(-3.5)
Wow, Vegas hating on Kolb. Vegas is probably right. Niners.
Vikings @ New Jersey Jets(-4)
October 1st, 2010
On the road, so this will be quick. Next week will be the same.
Jets @ Buffalo(+5.5)
Ravens @ Pittsburgh(-2.5)
Baltimore, because this game is a coin flip.
Seahawks @ St. Louis(+1.5)
Niners @ Atlanta(-7)
Falcons. SF is done. Locals here have given up and are completely focussed on the Giants.
Bengals @ Cleveland(+3)
Broncos @ Tennessee(-6.5)
Panthers @ New Orleans(-13.5)
Carolina. Wow, that’s a lot of points. Saints win, but sheesh.
Lions @ Green Bay(-14)
Grr. Packers? I wanted the spread to be ten.
Texans @ Oakland(+3)
Colts @ Jacksonville(+7)
Redskins @ Philadelphia(-5.5)
Cardinals @ San Diego(-8)
Bears @ New Jersey Giants(-3.5)
Wrong team favored. I’ll take Chicago.
Patriots @ Miami(+1)