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Betbot Opening Day Extravaganza

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Initially built by NASA to set lines for the Las Vegas casinos in the late 1950’s (Who do you think funded the Apollo missions? The government? It was the mob …), The Sin City Betbot 6000 calculated lines for more than 30 years. The Betbot was given various upgrades through the years, not always with the best equipment, but he was very good at setting lines, and living the good life.

The Betbot was decommissioned in 1990 after San Francisco destroyed Denver in the Super Bowl. The 45-point spread simply fried a number of the Betbot’s wires and he retired. The Betbot was discovered by and retooled to give fantasy advice. He lives now to give his own unique, well-cultured take on the NFL. The Sin City Betbot 6000 Presents is transcribed by Joe Petrizzi and Tom Walls, because, “typing … BZZT… is a dame’s job.”

You know, for a robot like myself that is built to gamble, and especially on football, the long off-season is ... BZZT … bleepin’ torture. While I am well-equipped to handicap sports of all types, and even some elections, I don’t really enjoy betting on any sports other than pro football. I hate to say it, because some of my best friends are great baseball handicappers, just to name one sport. Still, this summer I was at a book to dropoff some chocolate-covered strawberries to this lady friend working a shift shuttling drinks. It was her mother’s birthday, and, of course, her mom loves that stuff. All moms love that stuff. And if you want to impress a young lady, make her mother happy. But I digress. I saw some real degenerates at this book, betting on golf of all things. Golf! Can you imagine? This is what people become when football is not in season. Disgusting.

And now that football season is back, I’m here to spoil it for you by explaining exactly what is going to happen this year. Don’t hate me because I’m right.

AFC East

New England – 11-5 Lost in New England’s dominant run with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is the fact that there hasn’t been another really good quarterback in this division since Dan Marino retired. Think about that. Sure, there’s not much here on defense, and 90 percent of the passing game production left town since 2012, but the Patriots have another ridiculously easy in-division schedule and one of the best quarterbacks in all of football. Sure it’s fun to talk about how they stiffed Wes Welker while dropping a pile of cash on two tight ends that are currently injured and incarcerated. But ultimately, I think Brady can make up for that production using the pieces he has.

Miami – 8-8 I am not sold on Ryan Tannehill at all, but playing Buffalo and the New York Jets twice each means some extra wins tacked on to a pretty crummy team. Overpaid wide receiver Mike Wallace will be pouting by Week 6, but it’s not his fault, he can’t bring his quarterback with him. Who is running the ball here? They have some nice pieces on defense, including Cameron Wake , b ut I can’t see them winning up front all that often with these players on the line of scrimmage.

Buffalo – 5-11 Well, they are starting a rookie at quarterback against New England in Week 1. What could go wrong? When Stevie Johnson cried out at God for doing him dirty, he had no idea how dirty God could do. E.J. Manuel  has potential, but there is very little reason for optimism. Manuel’s a decent fantasy sleeper since he runs the ball, and hopefully new head coach Doug Marrone will also run C.J. Spiller a good bit more than the previous regime.

New York Jets – 4-12 The runt of this AFC East litter, and surely a media circus all season long. Rex Ryan may have lost a lot of weight, but he is going to be filled up with bitter bile long before Thanksgiving arrives. I am not going to blame him entirely, as his general manager situation is flat awful. But at some point a head coach needs to develop a legitimate starting quarterback or he’s toast. Mark Sanchez was never a legit quarterback, and the fact that Ryan failed to solve that problem will be his legacy.

AFC West

Denver – 12-4 Yes, losing Von Miller hurts, a lot. But look at this sweetheart schedule! Look at the dreck they have in their division. This is a good team, which simply needs to stay healthy to dominate.

Kansas City – 7-9 This team was much better than their record last year. Much better on defense anyway. Alex Smith was a smart pickup for the Chiefs, but he won’t be good enough to win more than one playoff game in any one year. Chiefs fans should be prepared for coach Andy Reid’s peculiar, frustrating brand of football. Mismanaged timeouts, over-reliance on the pass and a reluctance to learn from mistakes will be the order of the day in Kansas City for years to come.

Oakland – 6-10 Just win six games, baby! The story of the year in Oakland is Terrelle Pryor. Pryor is a special talent, but I haven’t trusted a coach in Oakland since Jon Gruden danced in Al Davis’ shadow. The Raiders get to six wins because they get to play the San Diego Chargers twice.

San Diego – 5-11 In all my time (and I’m an immortal robot), I’ve never seen a slide as slow, steady and determined as Philip Rivers slide has been. Maybe it was Norv Turner, and maybe he can turn it around this year – but I don’t think so. Every year for the last three years, this cat has gotten worse and worse every single week. Just a little bit each week – but now it’s adding up. I’m searching my memory for a parallel, but I can’t find one. Maybe it’s like watching a bottle of vodka fall off a table in slow motion? Or maybe it’s like watching Walter White get a little more evil each episode in Breaking Bad? No, because both the bottle falling and White falling are immensely more enjoyable than this unfortunate show of slippage. The Chargers have a bleeping easy schedule, if I’m wrong about Rivers, then the Chargers will be the surprise team for the entire league. But I’m not wrong.

AFC North

Cincinnati – 10-6 Andy Dalton is good. A.J. Green is great. The Bengals defense … BZZT … will create turnovers and short fields. I love Giovanni Bernard. Add all this to the fact that they play the AFC East and NFC North, and I have the Bengals getting to the playoffs via a Division win or Wild Card berth.

Pittsburgh – 10-6 When Mike Tomlin shaves, the razor never leaves his face once he allows the blade to touch his face. That’s why I call him Mike ‘One Stroke’ Tomlin; he’s a cool cucumber. This team hasn’t been able to run in … BZZT … years, despite the tough Pittsbugh fans insistence that they are a tough ‘blue collar’ team. The real genius in Pittsburgh is Dick LeBeau. As long as they have LeBeau, the Steelers will be a player in the AFC North.

Baltimore – 9-7 They’re putting a statue of Ray Lewis up in Baltimore. That’s disgusting. Jon Harbaugh is a very good coach, and he’ll have the Ravens competing for the Super Bowl soon, but not this year.

Cleveland – 8-8 Brandon Weeden takes a big step up this year. Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon provide some real receiving threats. The true story is Trent Richardson. He’s the second-best running back in the NFL. The Browns will score … BZZT … more points than you think, but the defense just isn’t good. There’s some reason for hope in Cleveland, unless you’re Jimmy Haslam and the Feds are breathing down your allegedly crooked neck.

AFC South

Houston – 11-5 The class of this division, and it’s not really close. I’m not sold on Matt Schaub as a quarterback that can get this team to the promised land. But he’s certainly capable of helping Houston win the division and earn another home playoff game. They can run and pass, and their defense is one of the best in the league. You can thank puffy defensive coordinator Wade Phillips for that, although having that animal J.J. Watt on the squad helps. The secondary is the only real weak link here, and if they can fix the pass defense these guys could make some noise. Hopefully, that will get Phillips another head coaching gig, and we can all profit from his incompetence once again.

Indianapolis – 9-7 – I like Indy to stay in this kind of “playoff-contender who isn’t really ready to make a championship run mode” for at least one more season. Andrew Luck is the truth, and I like how he sparked some life into a surprisingly underrated Reggie Wayne. I’m not sold on the running game, and the defense needs a little more star power for me to get on board. But they won’t suck.

Tennessee – 7-9 – I am oddly optimistic about Jake Locker here. Sure, he’s inconsistent and not very accurate. But he’s got a huge arm and surprising mobility. You can move an offense behind those moments when it comes together for a guy like Locker. Not that it’s a recipe for long-term success, but pinning the offense on a mobile quarterback with a live arm is a better plan than slamming Chris Johnson into the line for another 3 yards. I can’t think of a playmaker on defense, which doesn’t bode well for one of the worst units in the league last year. They do have Gregg “Kill the Head” Williams as a staff consultant so I’m sure the Titans will be getting rich on bounties if not on endorsements.

Jacksonville – 6-10 Jacksonville? Yeah, they’re going to rot. Blaine Gabbert is not an NFL quarterback, something new coach Gus Bradley is already figuring out. You can’t play quarterback in the NFL when you are deathly afraid of getting hit. Plus, they don’t really have many receivers, although I do like this Cecil Shorts kid. I guess mostly what I like is that his last name is “shorts.” Six wins may be too many.

NFC East

New York Giants – 9-7 New York is probably the favorite to win the division, depending on what you think about the health of some key Washington Redskins (see below). Eli Manning is a top quarterback in the league, although a bit more turnover prone than you would expect from someone with two Super Bowl MVPs on their resume. Still, between Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, they’ll move the ball in the air. They still have enough talent on the defensive line to pressure the quarterback, and if you pass the ball and defend the pass you will contend. This is pretty much the blueprint for every decent Giants team under Tom Coughlin’s watch, so I expect we’ll be seeing him freeze his garish red face off come playoff time.

Washington – 9-7 – The biggest questions here are health-related. Obviously, how quickly will Robert Griffin III return to form less than a year from blowing out his knee? Color me skeptical that he’ll be the same player in Week 1 after skipping every preseason game. Defensively, does Brian Orakpo stay healthy for the season and be the defensive star he sounded like when he arrived on the scene? They have some decent pieces on both sides of the ball, but the team is as shallow as any Washington team under Dan Snyder. If Griffin III is able to be the latest miracle of modern science, he’ll be the best player in the division and probably good enough to lock it down.

Dallas – 7-9 Dallas is first up in this division of mediocre also-rans, and that is fitting for a franchise that has been a mediocre also-ran for the better part of the last two decades. Tony Romo is really good, especially outside the pocket – which is perfect for this team since nobody can block (well, Tyron Smith looks like a player – but he’s the exception). Dez Bryant has seemingly unlimited potential if he can keep his head screwed on, and there are good secondary options in the offense as well. So, I expect they’ll score. But they still haven’t fixed the secondary, and they still haven’t found someone opposite DeMarcus Ware. I did love the Sean Lee contract extension, but he can’t stop the run by himself. If you squint you might see a contender here, but based on recent history I’m not counting on it.

Philadelphia – 7-9 Chip Kelly skipped out of Oregon right before the law came down, and ever since he signed on we’ve been hearing about how his offense and coaching style might very well revolutionize the NFL. That all sounds well and good, and Philadelphia does have some nice pieces on offense in LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. But starting quarterback Michael Vick is a turnover machine and injury waiting to happen, mostly since he plays football as recklessly as a drunk tightrope walker. And let’s not forget the putrid defense, which has not been improved other than they actually have a defensive coordinator now instead of letting Andy Reid’s offensive line coach handle the defense. If Kelly’s offense does light up the league, I fully expect this defense to give it all right back.

NFC West

San Francisco – 11-5 There is every reason to believe that San Francisco is the class of the NFC. First, they’ll have a full season of Colin Kaepernick instead of wasting half the year on a noodle-arm game manager like Alex Smith. Plus, their defense is full of studs – guys like Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis are some of the best defensive players in the NFL. New cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha might sabotage the locker room with his leftover putrid stink from the last two seasons, but, even so, this is a legit contender.

Seattle – 10-6 Assuming they can stay off the Adderall, there is a pretty decent team here. Second-year quarterback Russell Wilson is a machine, and he shares the backfield with America’s favorite Skittles lover, Marshawn Lynch. Defensively, they have one of the best secondaries in the league, led by the mouthy Richard Sherman. I must admit I like that kid’s moxie. Coach Pete Carroll has a bit too much Howard Dean for my liking, but let’s not forget that this franchise was pretty much in shambles prior to his arrival. So I will give him credit for getting them this far. I don’t think he’s championship quality, but a return to the playoffs is probably once again within reach.

St. Louis – 6-10 Let me start by pointing out quarterback that Sam Bradford is still working off the expectations that come with the massive signing bonus he earned by being lucky enough to get drafted under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement. He’s not going to embarrass St. Louis or anything, but the Rams don’t have any other playmakers on offense (depending on what you think about rookie Tavon Austin ) . There is a good bit of young talent in the defensive front seven, led by Chris Long. But they are dealing with two NFC contenders in their own division, and that’s more than Jeff Fisher’s moustache can handle.

Arizona – 5-11 It says something about your quarterback situation when bringing in Carson Palmer is widely regarded as a massive upgrade. Palmer can still sling it, but it’s not like he’s going to be cracking the NFL elite again anytime soon. He’ll help out Larry Fitzgerald, but there’s still no running game to be had here, nor any kind of significant talent on either the offensive or defensive lines. Patrick Peterson looks like a stud in the secondary and the return game, but that is not enough flash to solve the problems around him at all angles here.

NFC North

Green Bay – 11-5 (Betbot’s Note: This write up looks very bleeping much the same as the previous three years’ write-ups for the Packers, with a different  running back called out). The best of a mediocre bunch. If rookie Eddie Lacy can run, the Packers are a … BZZT … contender for the Lombardi trophy. The Packers get a lead, and can pressure the opposing team’s quarterback with preening Ric Flair wannabe Clay Matthews. You know what we need? More commercials with Clay Matthews in them. I like that thing he does when he bleeping squats, that’s the bleeping mother lode right there. I chortle every bleeping time.

Detroit – 7-9 Reggie Bush will be a success in Detroit. But the stupid play on the defensive side of the ball keeps the Lions from getting to the … BZZZT … playoffs. The last couple of years Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley have embodied the sloppy play of the Lions. The Lions simply don’t beat good teams. I see that play as indicative of unorganized, bad play and will cost the Lions entry to the playoffs, and may finally cost coach Jim Schwartz his job.

Chicago – 6-10 No one analyst seems to have any coherent thoughts on what coach Marc Trestman means for the Chicago offense. I hear all sorts of bleeping conflicting reports as to what his offense exactly is. One thing I do know – Brandon Marshall is already bitching about it, and that’s very bad. The defense will still create short field opportunities, and Matt Forte will get his yards and receptions, but I’ve got a bleeping bad feeling about this year in Chicago (see 2005 Philadelphia Eagles and Terrell Owens).

Minnesota – 5-11 Christian Ponder married a hot dame. Good for him. That’s the only thing that’s good about him. He continues to hamstring this franchise. Goodbye Leslie Frazier! Goodbye!

NFC South

New Orleans – 11-5 Sean Payton is back! The Saints can finally get rid of all those empty chairs they were holding for him. I do hope that the crazy, extremist posters of Payton stay up in the Saints’ facility though. The Payton iconography reminds me of my tour around Eastern Europe a couple years ago. The parallels between the Vladimir Lenin/Joseph Stalin statues and pictures and the idol worship of Payton in his year away are startling. New year – same Saints’ dynamic offense, very questionable defense. They win the NFC South and will be a boon for fantasy owners; owners who own Saints and those playing the Saints that same week.

Atlanta – 10-6 Oh, Falcons; you’ve disappointed in the playoffs the last two years. I should be making a joke about Matt Ryan’s nickname here (it’s a contractual obligation for smartass writers doing NFL columns) – but I’m going to save that for later in the season. I like the Steven Jackson pickup; I love the talent on offense, but they’re not as good as the Saints on that side of the ball. I do think that the Falcons get stronger on defense as the year rolls on, and could be the stronger team, thanks to their young cornerbacks Robert Alford and Robert Alford.

Tampa Bay – 7-9 Greg Schiano’s schtick seemed to wear on the Buccaneers last year. I don’t see it getting any better this year. Josh Freeman needs to show a lot more, or Tampa Bay will be drafting a quarterback next year. Darrelle Revis is a great pickup and should impact their horrible pass defense (32nd last year) immediately. Freeman knows the heat is on, but I don’t think he’s good enough to answer the bell.

Carolina – 7-9 The Panthers limped out last year, and finally caught a groove when they realized they needed to run the ball. I’m not convinced by Cam Newton yet. I won’t call … BZZZT … this a make-or-break year for him, but 2014 certainly will be. Steve Smith lives off the blood of ex-teammate Ken Lucas, whom he pummeled in 2008. That’s the only explanation I have for the guy’s longevity. Nothing special with this team, except for maybe Newton and their logo, which is silly as hell. It has whiskers, people! Is no one else going to point out the fact that whiskers are a primary component of their logo?

FanDuel Sunday Double Up Line Up

Fantasy Sharks has partnered up with FanDuel this season, and some of us will be participating in a few different contests. I’ve decided to go for easy money in the Sunday Double Up contest. Basically, I bet some money that I can pick better week-to-week fantasy players (with a fictional salary cap) than half the jamokes in the contest with me. Like I said, easy money.

Here’s a rundown of my team with some key comments (team lineup may change with injury news post publication of this column) … Hmm, I really like this lineup, I may enter it in the $100,000 Week 1 Sunday Bomb Contest!

QB – Andrew Luck

RB – Alfred Morris – As long as the cap allows, I’ll consider any running backs and wide receivers versus the porous Philadelphia Eagles.

RB – David Wilson

WR – Julio Jones – No brainer.

WR – Pierre Garcon

WR – Anquan Boldin

TE – Jordan Cameron – His cap number is low. Take your sleepers early in the year; they’ll get more expensive as the year rolls on

K – Alex Henery

D – Tampa Bay – They’re playing the New York Jets. Enough said.

So long for now, and remember, “Showgirls and gin, my friends, showgirls and … BZZT … gin.”