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.”
Way back in the early 80s I was hanging out with Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and Cliff Burton, the original four from Metallica. I had met them after a particularly rough night at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go and liked their music. Now, I don’t like rock music in general, and wouldn’t have been caught dead there…BZZT… except for a showgirl, Tasha, I met a couple days before who wanted to show me what heavy metal music was all about. I made the trip to La-La-Land and saw the band. Though the band was rough, they had a certain moxie, and a classy…BZZT… way about them. Besides that, I could discern actual melodies, which most of the music in the day was lacking unless it was wuss piece of junk sung by a Teabag in an overlarge shirt and too much eye makeup. Any Brit pop between the years of 1981 and 1985 was…BZZT… complete junk in my book.So, I was hanging out with the Four Horsemen of Metallica and after a few Stolis on the rocks, we switched to Banker’s Club vodka – we took swigs right out of the bottle. There’s a long list of things one never wants to do, and taking swigs of any Banker’s Club liquor product straight from the bottle is on that…BZZT… list. To say the least, things were loose, and the talk turned philosophical. Is there a God? Does he care? Who would win a foot race between Dean Martin and that turncoat Jerry Lewis? A lot of different stuff. Hetfield got to talking about how great a songwriter he was, and while I liked the stuff I heard that night, I wasn’t buying it. So, I challenged him…BZZT… with the following, “All right, James, write a song about the book of Exodus from the Angel of Death’s point of view. And let it rock.”
I retired back to my suite at the Hilton with the lovely Tasha and later that afternoon got a call. It was Hetfield saying he had written lyrics to the song I requested. That song is Creeping Death, and it is a nice piece…BZZT… of music, very well done. I was very impressed with the song, and always feel a tinge of pride for having such a big part in the creation of that song, for being…BZT… a muse.
The point to this story is this, sometimes…BZZT… you find things in very unexpected places. Sometimes you’re listening to a heavy metal album and you realize there’s a song in there about the plagues visited upon Egypt by Moses, and the Exodus of the Israelites to the Land of Milk and Honey – the story of Passover. Sometimes you’re watching divisional playoffs in the NFL and realize that there’s still a couple five seeds and a six seed still alive. Like I said, things in unexpected places. With St. Louis, Minnesota and the Jersey Jets…BZZT… winning, the second weekend looks a lot different than most pundits would have expected.
New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Saturday, 4:30 ET – PITT -9
The Jets of New Jersey fly into a brick wall this Saturday. The Jets actually showed that they could throw the long ball last week, but I don’t think Pennington is going to have time this week. The Steelers are…BZT… tanned, rested, and ready for the game and their defense is going to attack, attack, attack. Paul Hackett (whose eyes were opened last week about Pennington’s long ball ability) simply won’t be able to react to the very good…BZT… Pittsburgh defense.
The Pittsburgh offense should do their best to keep Mr. Roethlyzplyk’s arm from doing anything meaningful. Look for the Steelers to pound the ball all day. They know what they’re going to do, you know what…BZZZT… they’re going to do and the Jets know what they’re going to do, but the Jets won’t be able to stop them. I would be very surprised if you got anything but straight vanilla old time running from the Steelers. They don’t need to be fancy. And playing a close…BZZZT… hand will help Mr. Cowher in the next two games the Steelers play, especially in the AFC Championship game. Expect Staley and Bettis to carry the Steelers (or as I call them, ‘The Beast with Two Backs’) all day.
The Jets played two very…BZT… meaningful games in a row, on the road. That’s tough, what’s even tougher is the fact that those games went into overtime. I think this…BZZZT…BZT… weariness is going to be the pallet of cinderblocks that break the Jets’ backs.
I like the Jets, my good friend from Hoboken, Mr. Sinatra, had a soft spot in his heart for the Jets, but they are going to lose. There’s too much going against them. It should be a low scoring game, and unless the Steelers give up a junk touchdown at the end, I still see them covering the 9-point spread. The over/under on this game is a ridiculously low 34.5, and with good reason seeing the defenses involved. I’d stay away from that money, but the over feels better than it probably should.
St. Louis Rams @ Atlanta Falcons – Saturday @ 8:00 ET – ATL -7
This is a tough game to figure, two dome teams slugging it out. One team has a pretty good defense, the other has a very good offense. And I hate to sound like all the other pundits you’ve heard about this game, but it comes down to one person, Michael Vick. The Falcons are a tricky team to figure out offensively, but they really only have three weapons – Vick, Crumpler and the Running Back du Jour. I expect to see the Falcons do a lot of running that takes advantage of their speed, and the Rams…BZT… speed. Yes, the Rams speed, these are both dome teams, both teams are quick, but I don’t think the Rams defense is all that disciplined. Expect draws, screens and traps where Dunn can hide behind blockers and cut back against any Rams over pursuit. I think this should work pretty well for them. Crumpler should also be able to do some major damage against a tired Rams team (sense a trend here?). The Rams linebackers don’t scare anyone, and their Defensive backs may be playing the run, and could…BZZZT…. get caught by Mr. Crumpler. As long as the Falcons can keep Crumpler away from Archuleta, expect a big game for him.
For the Rams offensively, it’ll be pass, pass, pass. You may think they should run more, I think they should run more, but I think they’ll be very pass happy. I think Martz is going to feel that since they are in a dome, they can get away with this. Unless they can get an early lead and keep the crowd out of it, I don’t think this will work. I said up above that the Falcons have a pretty good defense, let me clarify myself, they have a very good defense at home. That dome gets very loud, and the defense responds, the Falcons are a tough team to beat at home, and I think the 12th Man is a big part of that. The…BZT… Falcons defense away is not nearly as good, but at home – they’re very good. If the Rams try to pass, I think there will be quite a bit of mistakes on their part, penalties and bad communication that could make the game very easy for the Falcons. If the Rams keep tight formations, stay close and run – the mistakes would be minimized and they could have a…BZZZT… very good chance. Again, I don’t see them doing that, though.
As I mentioned above, weariness will take its toll on the Rams, and Mike Martz won’t help matters. I feel they will try to keep the pace of the game frantic, when for once, a slow game would help them. If it is a low scoring game, I believe…BZZT… it helps the Rams, because that means they probably are running the ball, lowering the number of plays and limiting the chances to make mistakes.
See how Michael Vick is in the last part of the first quarter, if he looks comfortable and can find a groove, I don’t think the Rams can win. If not, if he is making mistakes and not running when he…BZZT… should, trying to force throws, the Rams can win. Rams fans should be very happy they got this draw, because I don’t like them outside at all. As it is, I think this will be a low scoring game (not because the Rams run, but because the Falcons are controlling the game and aren’t offensively explosive), and the Falcons win. But I do like the Rams to cover the 7-point spread. The over/under on this game is 48.5 – they’ll be under.
Minnesota Vikings @ Philadelphia Eagles – Sunday, 1:00 ET – PHI –9
I can’t believe Minnesota is getting so much positive press for this game, largely on the backs of the Owens injury and the last two weeks of the regular season when the Eagles second unit looked…like a second unit. Word out of Philadelphia is that Andy Reid will be playing his starters this week, which is good because people are starting to forget what number Brian Westbrook wears. I hear a lot of talk about the month’s rest, the rust, being out of football shape, out of sync, losing momentum, blah, blah, blah. Listen, I’m a …BZT… friggin’ machine, so you can take all that nonsense and throw it right in the trunk of my ’67 GTO. Because this Eagles team is also a machine. Oh, I hear the noise already – what about …BZZZT… Owens? A source of concern, no doubt, but do you really think the Owens injury will matter against one of the …BZZZT… worst defenses in the league? The Vikings have surrendered fewer than 20 points in a game only 3 times this season, and never on the road – not even against Washington and the ‘Skins suck out loud. Unless McNabb goes Favre on Philadelphia, the Eagles are …BZT… scoring 30+ easy. “But they only scored 27 in week 2, and that was with Owens!” Right, and they also didn’t have an entire …BZT… nation of sports pundits saying they’re ripe for the pickins without T.O. – I think McNabb is pissed and the Vikings are in for a big surprise.
So, can the Vikings keep up? No doubt, they can score. Culpepper has nice weapons in Moss, Burleson, and Wiggins and a strong running game with Bennett and Smith. They’ve been better on offense than the Eagles this year. But they’re playing away from the dome, against an Eagles defense that features Pro Bowl starters at middle linebacker, defensive end, and in 75% of the secondary. To understate the scenario, let’s say that Eagles’ D is a bit better than what Moss was facing last week (a Packers secondary led by Al Harris’ hair). That should be enough to hold the Vikes to less than 30 and that’s all it will take – I’m seeing Minnesota in the 20-25 point range, less without garbage time scoring. Besides the offense, the Vikings really don’t have anything. Coaching is sketchy at best and the special teams are miserable, and that’s not a good situation to be in when you’re surrounded by some of the hungriest fans in the NFL. To have a chance, Culpepper and Moss are going to have to win this one by themselves, and that’s a lot to ask against this defense.
Bottom line – throw out the last two games featuring Eric McCoo and Koy Detmer, and focus on the team that only lost once this season. Philadelphia is one of the best 4 teams in the NFL, right up there with the big 3 in the AFC. The Eagles are a well-rested, well-coached team that succeeds in all facets of the game – offense, defense, and special teams. The Vikings are so one-dimensional I hear they’re reading for a part in Jerry Bruckheimer’s next movie. Philly should win this one running away, beating the 9-point spread easily. The over/under is 48 – take the over because the Eagles are going to run it up to make a statement that they can play without Owens. By the way, if you live in the greater Philadelphia area and McNabb DOES happen to throw 4 picks or something on Sunday, I suggest evacuating until March madness starts.
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots – Sunday 4:30 ET – NE –2
This is the game we’ve all been waiting for. In fact, I’d like to see these two teams play a few more times before we call it a season. Alas, this isn’t even the AFC championship game. Nevertheless, it has the potential to be an all-time classic. On one side, we have the …BZT… Colts’ offense that was far and away the best in the NFL, led by league MVP Peyton Manning, having a season for the ages. On the other side, we have the Patriots, last year’s champs, with a great offense led by Tom Brady and a Belichick-designed defense that forced …BZT… four Manning turnovers in last year’s playoffs and broke the hearts of football fans all over the midwest. Let’s take care of this 52-point over/under right away – it’s not enough. I don’t care how wet the Patriots are making the field, these guys are going over 52 points total.
So can the Patriots’ defense can stop Manning? He sure looked unstoppable last week against a Denver defense that was statistically superior to New England this year, and with a top cornerback in the secondary. New England has a great defense, and the Patriots have had a lot of success forcing turnovers from the Colts, a big, fat, obnoxious problem for Indy when the season is on the line. But it isn’t …BZT… going to happen this week. Belichick is a great coach, but he needs players to execute the plan, and New England’s secondary is just decimated. It’s a bigger deal than anyone’s letting on – the difference between Ty Law and Earthwind Moreland isn’t just a lot of letters, it’s an interception that is now a tipped pass, or a tipped pass that is now a completion. I think …BZT… Troy Brown has done an admirable job back there against Kyle Boller, etc. but the Colts passing game is head and shoulders above the rest of the league. You can get away with great schemes against an offense with limited ability. Against the Colts, you need superior athletes as well.
Notice I haven’t mentioned the Colts’ defense yet – because they are a still a problem. Despite the recent Colts improvement, New England is much stronger on offense than Indy can handle, and …BZT… it would be a big surprise if the Patriots weren’t in the 30-point range by the time this game is through. I know a lot of people are thinking that Corey Dillon’s going to get 40+ carries this game to keep Manning off the field, but that isn’t going to work because the Colts are going to …BZT… score fast and often. But this isn’t Joey Harrington caught in the headlights – Tom Brady can play the game, and he’s going to light up a below average Colts secondary. Did I mention I liked the over?
In the end, I think you’re looking at a very close game with a lot of scoring, something that could be decided by a field goal as time expires. In a game where the spread is …BZT… less than 3 points, I have to go with the team I think will win outright, and even though I believe the Patriots are a more well-rounded football team, the Colts’ offense is just too much. Take Indy and the 2 points.
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.