Don’t wager on NFL cliches

Dec 16, 2008 5:03 PM
Vaccaro’s View by Jimmy Vaccaro |

During the stretch drive of the NFL, you can be sure your stocking will be filled with these two worn out clichés that will include the most cited "one game at a time" and "must win." 

Now the first will come from coaches and players. We can almost buy into what they are saying, but the "must win" comes from our side of the ball and has been kicked around for a long time. 

With my words come point spreads. You either pay or benefit must-win sides.  There are a lot of them this weekend as you as the consumer will at least have a choice.  Here’s two and decide for yourself. 

The Dolphins are in a spot where not a lot of people thought they would be with two weeks left. By winning out or getting a break or two, they could be in the playoffs. Miami opened -4 against a rag-tag outfit called the Chiefs, who have nothing to play. Yet they seemed to play hard last Sunday against the Chargers.

San Diego opened up about the same number, but by kickoff if wanting the "must win" team you were laying 6.  The Chargers won, but did not cover. So would you take 6 or lay 4?  It’s your call. 

The Jets on the "brilliant" strategy of the Bills coaching staff were given a reprieve. Now they must travel to the West Coast where they have failed miserably this year. New York opened -5 against a Seahawks team that has played well enough to win a few games in a year that was a complete failure. 

This will be Mike Holmgren’s final home game as Seattle coach and an effort will probably be made. The Jets "must win" but remember a few short weeks ago they opened -6 against Oakland, closing -7 or higher. Even a bad Seattle team figures to be better than the Raiders by 2 points. 

I believe you see where I’m coming from. The parlay cards will be loaded with these teams, but playing optimum numbers no matter where you sit. I have never taken a close look at the outcome of this type of scenario, but if you go back and look at the ATS in these spots I would bet it comes back 50-50. 

Remember, some 30 years ago mainstream was not as involved as now. I would guess in the last 20 years the numbers have tilted away from the recreational player. Oddsmakers have even made the journey harder with really over-inflated favorites. 

So note that the only thing you "must do " is buy your other half something nice for Christmas.