• Wagers & Lagers 2015-16: For Whom the Bell Tolls or your Conference Title Gameday Open Thread


    Two of these great quarterbacks are about to play for the last time this season. One may be playing his last game ever.


    New England (-2.5) at Denver, O/U 44
    Sunday January 24th, 3:05 PM, Denver, Colorado

    RG: Brady has more playoff games played (30) than the entire Kansas City organization. Amazingly, he has played 6 of those on the road, 6 at neutral sites (The Super Bowl) and eighteen at home. He is just 3-3 on the road in his career. In fact, he lost to Peyton Manning on this very field just two seasons ago before the Broncos got blown out by the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Of course, he hasn't covered in either of his Super Bowl losses or the three road losses. The stats, though, ignore the truth about this game. If the Pats can provide difficulty for Manning in the middle of the field and he doesn't get a great game on the ground, then the Broncos are dead in the water. I like this a three just fine and love it at 2.5. This game seems like a betting no-brainer, something that is scary itself. I am less confident in my under pick since these teams combined for 54 points in the first meeting, but I think I am okay with this number for a playoff game. PICK: Patriots, Under

    MK: This one isn't really that tricky for me. A spread under three, for all intents and purposes, or at least for me is a pick 'em. That might not be that smart and it might not be the way to go about things properly in Vegas, but if a team is giving less than a field goal, most times you're looking at a minimal possibility of a push--and when the number is a fraction, that's obviously the case--and the best thing you can do is go with the team you think has the greatest chance to win. I've been calling Denver a shaky bet for basically the entire season, even as they jumped out to a 6-0 start, and they haven't done much to persuade me otherwise. New England isn't an overpowering team, even at full strength, but despite their shorthanded loss to the Broncos earlier this year, I can't feel comfortable taking the points. I do think a low-scoring game ultimately favors the Broncos, though, and I can't see the Pats sitting back and waiting. PICK: Patriots, Over

    PS: I like this line at NE (-2.5). I am not fond of the O/U at 44. PICK: Patriots, Over

    Arizona at Carolina (-4), O/U 48
    Sunday January 24th, 6:40 PM, Charlotte, North Carolina

    RG: This line has slowly moved enough to the Panthers favor enough that I can't fault anyone for taking the points with the explosive Cardinals offense. Still, I can't get past how average the Cardinals offense has been lately compared to their own standards. While Arizona still has a +22 number in twenty yard plays for the season (highest for remaining teams), they have not been as good since Palmer hurt his finger. In the last 4 games, Arizona has 12 twenty yard plays on offense and one of those was by Drew Stanton in week 17. Before that, they had 70 such plays in just 13 games. That comes out to a little over 2 less such plays since Palmer's injury. I want the Cardinals to win because they are a fun team, but I just find them to be the shakier ball club. For the over/under, I guessed at 51 in my head before looking at the lines because I do acknowledge the fact that both offenses should find ways to be successful. If you find the time, please visit this week's very detailed Blitz Picks for a full preview of both games. PICK: Panthers, Over

    MK: In this game, I'm mostly wondering about how Carson Palmer responds to playoff success. The formerly-winless playoff quarterback made some crushing mistakes against Green Bay, which concealed the way the Cardinals racked up yardage against the Packers last Saturday night. If I had to bet--and here, I guess I do--I like Palmer to play well and for Arizona to score a ton, even at Carolina. I think this is a competitive game, but the Cardinals were my NFC Champion at the start of the playoffs, and I've seen no reason to change that. PICK: Cardinals, Over

    PS: I am unabashedly rooting for Carson Palmer and the Cardinals. However, I see a Cam Newton play being the difference in this game. Arizona should keep this game close as they go toe-to-toe with Carolina. PICK: Panthers, Under

    GAMETIME GRUB

    RG: BALSAMIC BEEF


    This comes from Mrs. Gapinski.

    Ingredients

    -1 3-4 pound boneless roast beef (chuck or round roast)
    -1 cup beef broth
    -½ cup balsamic vinegar
    -1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    -1 tablespoon soy sauce
    -1 tablespoon honey
    -½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    -4 cloves garlic, chopped

    Instructions

    -Place roast beef into the insert of your slow cooker. In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together all remaining ingredients. Pour over roast beef and set the timer for your slow cooker. (4 hours on High or 6-8 hours on Low)
    -Once roast beef has cooked, remove from slow cooker with tongs into a serving dish. Break apart lightly with two forks and then ladle about ¼ - ½ cup of gravy over roast beef.
    -Store remaining gravy in an airtight container in the refrigerator for another use.

    Other notes:

    1. You can also experiment with ranch dressing mix for added flavor. We have done that and added sweet peppers for another incredible version. This is an easy recipe that you can go many ways with.

    2. This meat is good in sandwiches and can get as soft as pulled pork with a nice, slow cook.

    3. For simple sides and a traditional dinner, we recommend asparagus and mashed potatoes.

    4. Dinner rolls are an option for picking up that remaining flavor left on the plate.

    BEER OF THE WEEK

    PS: Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout


    Ba's Balsamic Beef feels like a dish deserving of a really hearty brew. Goose Island Brewery (Chicago) has put out a stout so outstanding it defies words. You have to try this stuff.

    STANDINGS

    RG: 3-4-1, 68-65-3
    PS: 3-4-1, 66-67-3
    MK: 5-2-1, 65-68-3

    Rich Gapinski, Patrick Sullivan, and Matt Kocsan are staff writers at FootballPros. Each week, they pick the most difficult games based on the Tuesday morning lines and produce this column for their—and hopefully your—amusement. You can follow them on twitter @PolishedSports (Rich), @GoBigOrGoHome2 (Patrick), and @kocsan (Matt).

    Oh, in case you have not yet figured it out, these guys are a tad crazy about food & beer. Especially food. And beer.

    Comments 11 Comments
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      I've never seen Brady beaten up like we was today.

      Also, I'm trying the beef tomorrow. Shoveled out just so I can get out and get everything I need to make it happen.

      OK, so that's not why I shoveled, but it's a side benefit. Looking forward to trying it, it looks and sounds really good.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Stop shoveling
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      Stop shoveling
      I've long since stopped. I went out at 3 AM to give me 12 hours before the start of the game. I was able to catch the 4th quarter.
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      Ha! Me in the desert with my newly discovered

      vodka tonics, All good. Life goes on!

      Um, go Cards.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Goddammit, Carson.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      I severely underestimated the importance of Tyrann Mathieu, the problem with Jared Veldheer being your best blocker, the apparent difficulty of knocking Ted Ginny around early, and the overall explosiveness of the Panthers.

      And Brady looked like a young Todd Collins most of the day.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Rg: 3-1, 71-66-3
      ps: 1-3, 67-70-3
      mk: 1-3, 66-71-3
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      @Rich, just wanted to say I did up the balsamic beef recipe using a boneless pork loin (because I keep pigs and chickens, not cows, in my freezer) and it turned out fantastically. First night rolled up in a warm flour tortilla, with shredded pepper jack and my homemade pico de gallo. Leftovers stirred-fried with onions, bok choy, ginger and water chestnuts.

      Please pass along kudos to Mrs. Polish. Thank her muchly.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      We did the beef as written. It's already a new house favorite. Tasted even better the next day as a sandwich.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by brauneyz View Post
      @Rich, just wanted to say I did up the balsamic beef recipe using a boneless pork loin (because I keep pigs and chickens, not cows, in my freezer) and it turned out fantastically. First night rolled up in a warm flour tortilla, with shredded pepper jack and my homemade pico de gallo. Leftovers stirred-fried with onions, bok choy, ginger and water chestnuts.

      Please pass along kudos to Mrs. Polish. Thank her muchly.
      Really glad you enjoyed it in so many ways. That is the amazing thing about this simple recipe. I will share and thank you again for trying it.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Brian Williams View Post
      We did the beef as written. It's already a new house favorite. Tasted even better the next day as a sandwich.
      This is still our usual way-- dinner at night and sammiches for lunch next day. Glad you have added it to the family list.