Initially built by NASA to set lines for the Las Vegas casinos in the late 50’s (who do you think funded the Apollo missions? The government? It was the mob…), The Sin City Betbot 6000 calculated lines for over 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 de-commissioned 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 Fantasysharks.com and retooled to give fantasy advice. He lives now to help your team with deeper sleepers to start each week.
The Betbot’s column is transcribed each week by Chris Dolfi, Joe Petrizzi and Tom Walls, because, “Typing is a dame’s BZZZT job.”
It’s that time of year again here at fantasysharks.com , that’s right – The Sin City Betbot 6000’s Pre-Season Preview. Of course, if…BZZZZZT… you’ve been following my career, or this website, you’d know it’s not that time at all. Because I’ve never done this for this website before. If you knew this, congratulate …BZT… yourself and go have a bleeping cookie, genius.
You know what? I’m sorry I started this article off on a bad foot, it’s been a tough summer for Yours Truly. I also know you don’t come here to hear about my problems, but I’m going to tell you about this anyway. Because I want to talk about Trust. That’s right Trust…with a capital ‘T’…BZZZT… And why, even if you have a friend for 50 years who you trusted with your money, when he shows signs of senility and dementia, it’s time to cut bleeping bait. Dammit Maury…BZZZT…Why did I trust you?!?! Maury, by the way, was my one and only business manager for the first 50 years of my life.
Maury ran my various businesses for many years and even recently helped me get back into public life after I was de-commissioned after…BZZZT… the San Fran/Denver Super Bowl. Now, I’m going to say some things that may sound mean about Maury, but understand this; Maury is a good man, a good bleeping man. Some of his actions did lead to this sign to shown on the strip:
You never, ever want to see a sign like that about yourself in Vegas. Ever. I have a lot of powerful friends and Maury’s mis-management of my money (and other’s) still got me into a ton of hot water.
The bottom line is this, Maury got me and a few other Vegas power brokers’ (using me as a front man) taken. I should have known not to trust him when he started handing out Monopoly property cards as his business cards. Poor Maury, he invested all of my money and made promises to others based on the three following harebrained schemes:
1) Giving a young unproven Danish rapper named Little Dog Dirty $20 million dollars to record a two CD set, Been Mackin’ and Caught Mackin’. As soon as Little Dog Dirty got the check he took off and …BZZZT…we haven’t heard from him since. There hasn’t been such an atrocious misappropriation of monies to artists since the money grab the Beatles hosted at Apple Corps. By the way, Little Dog Dirty, if you’re reading this, you should be very afraid, I’ve got some powerful friends.
2) Opening 15 typewriter repair franchises. Nuff said here.
3) VealWerks…An all veal fast food franchise. I actually think…BZZT…this could have worked if we hadn’t opened all the franchises in hippie communes. Market research is very important, believe …BZZZT…me. It was some good food, though; even the buns were made out of veal. Almost as delicious as a well made martini.
I was $25 million in the red. Not good. In the end…We came to an ‘arrangement’. I put my main body shell on display at the Hard Rock Café, and have to wear my…BZZZT…second body shell around. I’ll be honest with you, it’s not as good. The hand grips are clumsier, and although black is slimming, I don’t …BZZZZT…like the color too much. But, I am a robot who pays my debts, anything is better than bankruptcy, ask Donald Trump’s Hair.
So with a clear mind and a fairly light wallet I was juiced for a few weeks off, just to get away. Of course one of the problems I run into is that I always have to cut my vacation short. Just as I’m getting relaxed some crisis erupts. It’s my own fault, you know, being right so often. The damn NFL has to start the pre-season in the middle of August right as I’m …BZZT… working on my 3rd or 4th day getting back rubs and sipping margaritas down in TJ. And there’s always some key position battle I need to breakdown or a QB controversy I need to sort out. This is the situation I found myself in when my dear friend Tony Holm called me last week on my exclusive personal line. Let me tell you something, I don’t give this number out to just anyone, it’s …BZZT… an emergency line. My personal line is to fantasy football information as the Batphone is to fighting crime in Gotham City. So when none other but The Progno calls whining like Madonna in “Papa Don’t Preach” – what the sharks need right now, he tells me, is some good advice – I canceled my 10 pm dice game and caught the last flight back to Vegas. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the attention. All things considered, though, I want you all to know how much I sacrifice to make sure fantasysharks.com readers get the information they need to mow through their FF leagues this season. When you speak of me …BZZT… speak well.
Next week I’ll cover some deeper sleepers for the season just in time for your first waiver period. For now, my predictions for the NFL season:
Welcome to the toughest division in the NFL, home to the defending Super Bowl champs and three serious playoff contenders. Let’s get Miami out of the way first, since they’ll be scuffling for most of the season, Ricky Williams or no Ricky Williams. I don’t care who lines up at RB, any team that announces Gus Fre-rotten as the …BZZT… starting QB is not serious about making it back to respectability. I likes me some Jets this year, they’ll be in the playoff hunt thanks to a really nice line that anchors a pretty underrated offense. Herm Edwards is one of the most quotable coaches in the league, but his words pale in comparison to the …BZZT… facial expressions during his interviews. He responds to questions the same way most people respond to reaching the sour part of a Gobstopper. I’ve never met Herm Edwards, but I bet he’d be fun at open mike night down at Laffs. The Bills are a tough call. The defense and special teams are some of the best units in the NFL, if they could just find a QB that isn’t a wuss they’d be a lock for the playoffs. Getting rid of Bledsoe was a step in the right direction, and even though JP Losman is pretty much a rookie, all he has to do is run away from the blitzing linebacker instead of throwing an interception return for a TD and the Bills are in. What can I say about New England that hasn’t already …BZZT… been said? They’ll be really good again. Yes, but only 11 wins? I just want to hear more whining from Pats fans about how they get no respect. You want respect? Tell the owner to grow a pair and call out Putin on glomming that Super Bowl ring.
This division is real boring one to watch, unless you like defense. Me? I like defense, but a lot of you fantasy types don’t care for it too much. Now, Pittsburgh …BZZZT…wins this one by default. I don’t care for their QB at all, but he’s the second best QB in the division, behind that kid Carson Palmer. The Ravens have the best defense, and that’s saying a lot considering Pittsburgh is in the division too, but Kyle Boller is awful. There’s no other way to put it. Just awful. The Bengals haven’t shown me much this pre-season, but they showed me a lot down the stretch last year. They stumble out of the gate, but challenge for a wild card spot at the end of the year. The Browns…Sorry Cleveland, no dice…BZT here. They will be awful. Matt Leinert, start watching re-runs of the Drew Carey Show.
My favorite development of the fantasy pre-season is the Steve McNair sleeper conversations. Exactly how long do you think he’ll be standing behind that offensive line? The Titans are in …BZZT… bad shape and starting some really young players all over the field. The only thing worth watching for in Tennessee this season is whether Jeff Fisher sticks with the full beard or goes back to his classic porn-stache. Jacksonville was everyone’s darling last year because their defense was effective. Unfortunately the coaches forgot to develop the offense. Look, Jimmy Smith isn’t made of titanium, people. If he goes down to, say, a freak mishap in the locker room involving an axe, people are going to realize just how little Byron Leftwich can scramble. Speaking of …BZZT… scrambling, poor David Carr spent most of last season running for his life again. Here’s what I don’t understand – the team had money for old stiffs like Aaron Glenn, but nothing to put in front of their marquee player? Perhaps Dom Capers looked at the roster sheet and thought his QB was actually the prototype vehicle K.A.R.R. of Knight Rider fame. No reason to invest in the blocking when the QB weighs 2 tons and has bulletproof armor. The Texans aren’t an awful team and may even improve to a wild card slot this year with some breaks. But I’d be a lot more optimistic if their QB actually was a modified Trans Am with artificial intelligence. This brings me to Big Manning, the closest thing to a machine in the NFL. The difference is that if Reggie Wayne runs the wrong route with K.A.R.R. at QB, K.A.R.R. will run Wayne over. Manning will just pout on the sideline. Nevertheless, the Colts’ offense is the best in the NFL and …BZZT… good enough to win the division. Their defense is average and could improve, meaning the Colts are a Super Bowl contender again. If they get home field in the playoffs like I’m predicting they have as good a chance as any team to represent the AFC in Detroit.
This division is going to be a fun one to watch, it’s also one of the harder ones to predict. Consider it the AFC North with the polarity reversed. By the way, you never , ever want your polarity reversed…BZZZT… take it from me. Lots of offense, little defense, with the exception of the Chargers, which is why they win it. This team, despite Marty Schottenheimer has moxy, and I like that in a dame, and in my preseason picks. Moxy in the regular season, I don’t know if they can get past being Schottenheimed (like that word? I …BZZZT…just made it up) to win a playoff game. The Raiders could really jump up here, if some of their unproven defensive talent steps up, I don’t think they will, which is why I have them in last. The Chiefs need to get it done, or my close friend Dick Vermeil is going to explode. Larry Johnson takes over for Priest Holmes and excels, but they will struggle to make the playoffs. If they sneak in, they could surprise with a road win away, just call it a Betbot Hunch. The Broncos…well, they’re pretty good, but I don’t know what Mike Shanahan is doing. They’ll score a bunch, but I just don’t see them making much noise against the elite teams in the AFC. But by all means keep fiddling around in the backfield, genius – that’ll put you over.
I recently saw a poll that said that the …BZZT… Cowboys would win the NFC East this year. Where was the poll taken? Dallas, Texas. Now I don’t know about where you come from, but here in Vegas we like to call that playing with a loaded …BZZT… deck. Too bad Dallas fans will likely be using it for Russian Roulette after they finally see the star-helmeted-ones squeak into a wildcard berth, and then lose, badly, in their first playoff game. But at least they can take some solace in the fact that the ‘Boys are still better than the Giants and Redskins. The Giants should continue to struggle while Lil’ Manning gets used to playing pro ball. Tiki Barber isn’t …BZZT… bad, but he’s just not as good as he looked last year – thanks in part to the NFC East defenses he faced 6 times last season. Sorry Giants fans, you’ll have to wait another one or two years to be competitive. The Redskins biggest problem is having an owner who is willing to throw way-too-much money at way-too-washed-up players. My …BZZT… advice to Daniel Snyder: use that cash to upgrade the club-box suites, add an in-stadium casino, and get a good lounge singer who can double as your Star Spangled Banner man and halftime entertainment. You’ll need something to draw the crowds in, because the football team rots. The Eagles are still the best in this division on both sides of the ball. So Philly wins the NFC East, again, hands down – even with the McNabb / T.O. soap opera playing for 16 weeks. Speaking of soap operas, I once dated the “Lux Soap Girl” back in 1965. Man we had some great times – including one magical weekend that involved a hot tub, Lux bubblebath, a robotic-hand-sized bath mitt, and a session of sweet. Now THAT was good …BZZT… clean fun.
Let me start by saying that I knew Vince Lombardi – maybe not enough to …BZZT… loan money to – but I had watched his dominance in the first two Super Bowls and respected the man enough to make his acquaintance. Jump forward to 2005. Vince wouldn’t be proud of this team, not even a little. Time for the Pack to pack-it-in. Favre is too long in the tooth, and behind too shaky an offensive line, to really compete against the NFL’s best defenses. And when your defense sports Al Harris as their star, you’re either a very bad defensive team or a …BZZT… public service warning against bad hair. The Vikings remain the class of the NFC North, even with the loss of Randy Moss. I don’t usually buy into the whole “addition by subtraction” theory (I blew out 2 diodes and a transistor thinking about that one day), but in this case I think it’s true. The death of the “Randy Ratio” won’t handcuff the Vikings offensive coordinator’s play calling, and Nate …BZZT… Burleson is poised to step in and be a slightly-less-quick, slightly-less-game breaking, but a lot-more-team-friendly WR stud. The Lions are the biggest winners in this division though. With a solid coach in Mooch, and the stable of young players they’ve been building around over the past few years, the Lions should crack the .500 mark this year. As for the Bears, once they find a QB, a couple RBs, and a few O-line guys, they’re set. Wink …BZZT… wink.
My loyal readers know how much I enjoy picking on the Saints defense. And why not, playing the Saints D is like a fantasy …BZZT… gold mine. Especially since the two stars on offense, Brooks and McAllister, are two of the biggest flakes in the game. There is nothing better than a few 3-and-outs followed by a 3-play, 80-yard TD drive to keep the other team’s offense interested and on the field. The Saints are primed for another 8-8 season but since it looks like they’ll be playing their home games on the road thanks to Hurricane Katrina, don’t count on the 8 wins. It’s a minor problem compared to the tragedy that’s unfolding in the Big Easy. Unlike Herm Edwards, Jon Gruden gets all his expressions out on the sidelines. His demeanor should improve this season since the Bucs don’t have any real big …BZZT… holes, assuming Clayton is for real and Cadillac comes as advertised. I’m calling for 7 wins but don’t be surprised if Tampa pulls a 10 or 11 win season out of nowhere and returns to the playoffs. Atlanta was overrated last season, OK? If they miss the playoffs this year I won’t be surprised, and it really depends on the ability of their QB to regain is 2002 passing form. By the way, I like the way Mike Vick plays football, but what kind of man poses under an assumed name and …BZZT… spreads VD around? Sounds like someone needs a lesson about how to act with dignity and class. Mr. Mexico, I’m available as a consultant, and I’ve studied under the best. John Fox is a one of my boys, but the “Coach of the Year” push last season was ridiculous. You know, New England won the Super Bowl with a WR playing nickel back for most of the season, so I don’t want to hear about Carolina’s injury problems. The good news is that unless lightning strikes twice, Fox’s Panthers will be good for an easy NFC South crown. Jake Delhomme is really quite good and Julius Peppers is the real deal – plus his name sounds like something Vince McMahon dreamed up at the …BZZT… Olive Garden. Vinnie Mac is a good man – a good bleeping man. Make no mistake; Carolina is good enough to earn the second spot in the NFC.
The Cardinals are getting better and better every year. They just can’t seem to ever crack into that level of play where people actually consider you good, however. They improve again this year, but still not enough to crack the .500 mark, in my opinion – and frankly, who else’s opinion counts? I’ve got a …BZZT… computer brain, people! The Seahawks are the team that all the other guys you know always pick to step up and make a splash in the playoffs. I, however, look at all the angles, all the statistics, and all my football knowledge – and I come up with the same conclusion every …BZZT… time: If it looks like 2 face cards and a four, and it smells like 2 face cards and a four, it’s probably a bust. The ‘Hawk should crack .500, just because the NFC West is a weak division, but if they make the playoffs it’s only delaying the end of their season by a week. Again. The Rams are the team to watch in this division. Isaac Bruce gets too old – enter Torry Holt. Marshall Faulk shows signs of losing a step – bring in Steven Jackson. Kurt Warner gets too erratic and people get sick of seeing that ugly broad who married him when he was still a grocery-bagger – Marc Bulger steps up. It’s like …BZZT… magic people. Oh yea, they also play in the NFC West, which is about as tough as playing in the Alaska Under-14 Pee Wee division. Speaking of which brings me to San Francisco. All I can say about these guys is that they’ll likely be twice as good as last year, which still gives them a shot at repeating as the NFL’s worst. Hopefully Mike Nolan starts working on the offensive line – just because there are two T’s in Rattay doesn’t mean the kid has a turbo boost.
If you have any questions for the Betbot, please send them to his Fantasysharks contact at email@example.com .
So long, and remember – showgirls and gin, my friends – Showgirls and BZZZZT Gin.