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.”
Full disclosure: Dolfi and Walls are rabid Eagles fans and Petrizzi likes them quite a bit. As Joe was seen as recently as 3 months ago with a Jeremy Shockey jersey AND a Donovan McNabb jersey, we’re still waiting for the next Eagles down cycle to see if he’s a bandwagon b****. He’s going to pay for it anyway; we’re just trying to tidy up the books on the matter.
Ahhhhh. The Super Bowl. The last …BZT… game of the year. The only true holiday left for a former bookie robot that hates Merrill Hoge. I have to say I quite enjoyed getting back into the swing of things with making playoff predictions for you guys – it’s been a cathartic experience given recent history. After struggling with the divisional round last week I was a solid …BZT… 2-0 ATS and also nailed the under on the NFC game. Only the shootout by the AFC screwed my …BZT… perfect week. Just one more reason for me to look down on Pittsburgh, along with the facts that nobody there uses infinitives and our boy Hoge spent significant playing time with the Stillers.
Before I get to my Super Bowl analysis I have to tell you about a dream I had the other night. I had just spent the evening with a bottle of Stoli and my lady Svetlana when I woke up with a …BZT… serious case of night sweats. You’d think that something made of metal wouldn’t be susceptible to that sort of condition but under periods of heavy stress I must admit I suffer horribly. In this case I made a classic blunder by not cutting my vodka with a healthy splash of Gin and that didn’t help my case. I know what you’re thinking – how can a robot like myself feel stress? It does appear that I have it all – looks, women, liquor, a group of A-list friends that would make Regis Philbin jealous…but in this case I really feel bad for my translation staff. These …BZZZT… flunkies are mostly useless but they are lovable like an ugly puppy. You want to turn your head, but really, who can hate a puppy? They also can’t hold their liquor which is an unforgivable sin (excepting Dolfi who can handle a single malt if it’s neat enough). So anyway I woke up at 2:47 AM on Tuesday in a pool of my own grease and had this conversation:
“Wake up …BZT… baby, I had another one of those dreams.”
‘Vat, the one with Jill from Caesars? I can hook you up, Betty.” (no jokes please, it’s just a pet name)
“No, no, the one where the Eagles win the …BZT… Super Bowl.”
“This is vat you call pillow talk, yes? Dey don’t stand a chance.”
“No, I’m serious. I keep seeing it over and over. McNabb to Owens, McNabb to Westbrook, McNabb on the bootleg. Trotter stuffing Dillon, Dawkins mauling Brady.”
“Next time I make drinks. Brady vill squash dem into borscht. End of discussion.”
I felt sorry for the boys, and not just because I’m going to burn their arms with a cigar after last week’s …BZT… spelling mistakes. Everyone and their brother are saying how the Eagles are going down hard. I expected as much from that knob Merrill Hoge but even serious analysts are in agreement. Brady this, Belichick that, Pats +7, book it. I was beginning to feel downright guilty about my …BZT… boys getting another stomach punch from the hand of old Mr. Brownstone, and two of them are going to be on site to witness the carnage! So I got up and went to work.
Super Bowl XXXIX
New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, 6:30 ET NE –7
You know, I don’t understand why everyone is so quick to call this a huge mismatch. Sure the Patriots beat the crap out of the Colts and the Steelers to get to the Super Bowl, but you watch ESPN and they make it sound like the Patriots are Ric Flair and the Eagles are Iron Mike Sharpe. Belichick just hit the referee with a steel chair and now Brady has the Eagles in a figure-four leg lock – and he’s using the ropes for extra leverage! On media day Rodney Harrison is quoted as saying WOOOOOO! Meanwhile, we see shots of Freddie Mitchell loading up his forearm brace and patting himself on the back. Everyone says the Eagles are just …BZT… happy to be in the game. Sure the Patriots are the better team, but there have been much bigger mismatches in the Super Bowl – this Eagles team is an elite squad.
On offense New England is 7th in the NFL at 358 yards per game while the Eagles are 9th with 351 yards per game. On points scored per game, New England is 4th with 27 while the Eagles are 8th with 24. I don’t see a tremendous advantage here, considering the Eagles ordered the final two weeks of the season with a second string unit and a side of Koy. New England does have a balanced attack featuring Corey Dillon and the unbelievably good-looking Tom Brady. Meanwhile, the Eagles are expecting faith-healed Terrell Owens back for the game (more on him in a minute), which will certainly …BZT… help a Philly offense that went downfield a ton this season (25 attempts for McNabb over 40 yards – Brady, by comparison, only attempted 14 such passes). Andy Reid is aggressive and loves to pass the ball – a very different style from the 1-2 punch offered by New England but still quite impressive.
On defense the Patriots were 9th in the league at 311 yards per game while Philly clocked in 10th with 320 ypg. On points allowed per game, New England and Philly tied for 2nd in the league with 16 points per game each. Again, I don’t see statistical dominance. The Patriots are led by their linebackers, a fearsome foursome that show multiple looks and are bound to give Eagles QB Donovan McNabb a hard time. The Patriots are very physical on defense, especially unstable safety Rodney Harrison, a player who is so easily offended he may be re-defining “roid rage” as we speak. Either that or he’s going through …BZT… menopause. Seriously, this guy probably blows a gasket when he doesn’t have exact change. Look for New England to knock Philly’s receivers off the line of scrimmage, especially scared speedster Todd Pinkston and swiss army back Brian Westbrook. The Eagles will be sure to bring some aggressive defense to the game as well – Jim Johnson loves calling a timely blitz and disrupting the QB. A misnomer about Johnson – he doesn’t blitz all that much. He’s just very good at timing his blitzes properly and bringing many different players – the blitz schemes are fantastic and seemingly random. Run defense is no longer a problem with Jeremiah Trotter laying lumber in the middle but he’s going to have his hands full trying to chase down Corey Dillon.
Special teams, why have thou forsaken the champions? The Eagles are much better at punt coverage and returns, which is partly because they’re pretty good and partly because New England is …BZT… rotten. The Patriots do have one of the league’s best place-kickers in Adam Vinatieri, but the Eagles are equally matched with sure footed David Akers. The big difference between them is that Akers has much better kickoffs (12 touchbacks this season vs. 6 for Adam). That’s good for Philly fans because Bethel Johnson has the speed to take it all the way returning kicks for the Patriots. The Eagles JR Reed is quick and very good at returns, but I doubt his …BZT… ability to bust one big like Johnson.
So for me the stats show a pretty equal match up. But breaking down the game, it’s clear that the Patriots are the favorite – they just don’t lose in the playoffs. For one thing, they protect the …BZT… ball – no turnovers in either of their playoff games this year. Despite the Eagles excellent giveaway numbers during the regular season (5th in the NFL), they looked downright sloppy with the ball at times against Minnesota, and McNabb lofted that ugly lob pass to Levens in the Atlanta game. Against New England, that’s a pick and probably 6 points the other way. As ridiculous as this sounds coming from me, it looks like the Patriots elevate their game in the postseason. They are well prepared by one of the best coaching staffs in the NFL and they play smart. This is no more evident than in their QB. Tom Brady is a great QB during the season but he’s an exceptional QB in the playoffs – most notably he’s turned the ball over only 3 times in 8 playoff games and he’s never …BZT… thrown more picks than TDs. I don’t care if it’s because of the system, or because the defense is good – all of the support Brady usually has is still working on Sunday and within that system he’s a cold-blooded killer. They are also great against tough competition – simply by playing in the AFC they had a tougher schedule than the Eagles did and ended up with almost the same win-loss record. New England has a physical defense which is supposedly the key to stopping Philly’s pass attack, and Philly has also played below their potential against other 3-4 defenses.
And this is why I’m under a lot of stress. Here I was, going with the flow, playing the numbers and coming up New England. I ran a recursive subroutine looking for chinks in the Patriots armor. You know the drill. Disciplined? Check. Balanced? Check. Great athletes on both sides of the ball? Check. Lost 4 games in the last 2 seasons? What? This Patriots team is really good – historically good. Plus the Eagles best WR, a player they acquired specifically for …BZT… big games, is recovering from a severe leg injury and just this week claimed that God helped heal him. Unless the Patriots decide to see if everyone on the team can make the century club on Saturday night, they’ll be tough to beat.
But I kept having these dreams, and I think I know why. I once tried to handicap a super bowl game using the numbers and went through almost 10 years of burnout because it was all too much. Strength of schedule, defensive schemes, offensive schemes, on the road, in the dome, against teams with a winning record, against teams with Eli Manning at QB, on turf, on grass, the night after the safety gets caught soliciting a prostitute – even a robot knows when he’s done too much …BZT… analysis. Sometimes I look at a game and just have to go with my gut.
I think the Eagles win this Super Bowl.
I think Terrell Owens is the best receiver on the field, at 50% he’s the best receiver on the field but it doesn’t matter. He’s going to play like he’s 100% – running, cutting, dancing in the …BZT… end zone. Do you know a player with this much pride? Do you know a player with this much confidence? The man broke a bone and tore up the majority of soft tissue in his lower leg and still walked off the field. Owens has a chip on his shoulder and the ability to change the complexion of a game – the two most dangerous forces an athlete brings to the table. Knock him down and he’ll get right back up. Check him at the line and he’ll run by you. He’s on a mission to prove that he’s larger than life and I think he’s going to shock some people.
Let me go a step further. As much as I like Tom Brady, I think Donovan McNabb is the best QB in the Super Bowl. The Patriots haven’t seen anyone like McNabb this season. When he’s on his game, McNabb is the best in the business – a rare combination of smarts and athleticism that can beat any game plan. When he plays a team that can contain the …BZT… system, McNabb can take the game over with unparalleled playmaking abilities. Throwing from the pocket, shaking off defenders, buying time, throwing on the run – these are skills that you cannot scheme against all at once. The Eagles offense runs through McNabb like no other offense in the NFL. It’s not good enough for him to play mistake-free. He’ll have to play the best football of his …BZT… life for the Eagles to win this game. He’s been waiting his whole career for the chance to be the best in the league. I think he makes the leap on Sunday.
I’m even going to take it one step further. The Eagles want this win more than the …BZT… Patriots do. Everything the Eagles have said since winning the NFC championship game shows that they are doing this for the city of Philadelphia. This team, especially the defense, resembles their fans like no other team in the NFL. Passionate. Loyal. Intense. You can’t measure the amount of heart in a player like Brian Dawkins. Thousands of Eagles fans are descending on the city of Jacksonville this weekend even if they don’t have a …BZT… ticket. People in Philadelphia are taking out second mortgages to pay for Super Bowl travel packages. They live for this team. Just like McNabb, and just like Owens, the city of Philadelphia has been waiting an entire lifetime for this opportunity. The fans have suffered through years of futility in the ‘90s and the heartbreak of back to back NFC championship defeats, yet they still remain loyal. It’s easy for a Philly fan to risk his house to see the Eagles play in the Super Bowl because he’s already given his heart and soul to this team. This is the weekend that the Eagles pay them back.
Eagles win, 26-23.
If you have any questions for the Betbot, please send them to his Fantasysharks contact at firstname.lastname@example.org .
So long, and remember – showgirls and gin, my friends – Showgirls and BZZZZT Gin.