Bill Simmons Podcast Episode 10: NFL Week 6 Picks with Joe House (Oct. 16, 2015)


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Simmons is now allowed on non-ESPN radio shows

Now divorced from ESPN, Simmons is allowed to guest-appear on non-ESPN radio shows, so this week he appeared on Mike Francesa's CBS New York show and the "Toucher & Rich" show in Boston. This development triggers a discussion of who is "the guy" (i.e., the top radio announcer) in several major cities. According to Simmons, Francesa has held the title in New York for ~25 years (much of which was with his co-host, "Mad Dog"). House notes that Tony Kornheiser is currently "the guy" in Washington, although the younger crowd prefers the "Sports Junkies." In LA, obsequious discussion of the local teams, regardless of personality, reigns supreme.

Grab Bag—Dodgers/Mets, Bets Not Made, & Fantasy Football

Simmons cashes in on his prediction that the Chase Utley slide would karmically doom the Dodgers. Also the Dodgers are retrospectively declared to be "not that good", as their quality players consist mostly of two good pitchers (Kershaw & Greinke) and the injured Yasiel Puig.

BS almost bet Mets pitcher Jacob DeGrom (+135) along with the Atlanta Falcons (-4), but bailed out. He has a new gambling rule: don't bet the Thursday games. Smart.

In two fantasy leagues, he's spent a combined $140 auction dollars on Charcandrick West (Jamaal Charles's backup). BS believes his juggernaut West Coast team will be unstoppable if Charcandrick matches 80% of Charles's output. (Thankfully, his East Coast team is garbage).

News flash: fantasy football is dumb, because Simmons almost drafted Devonta Freeman, but then didn't.

ALCS/NLCS Picks

Blue Jays -135 vs. Royals

Cubs -160 vs. Mets

  • Simmons + House: Mets—they astutely note that the Cubs last made the World Series in 1945 and lost to the Tigers. That said, they are both cheering for the beleaguered Cubs.

Football Gambling Recap

  • Simmons: 42-32-4 this year, 10-4-2 in Best Bets
  • House: 10-4 last week, 5-4-1 on Best Bets on podcast

Week 6 Picks

Not Best Bets

Cardinals -4 @ STEELERS

  • Both like the Cardinals, because "they are good."

VIKINGS -4 vs Chiefs

  • Simmons leaning Vikings, House taking Chiefs.

Bengals -3.5 @ BILLS

  • Simmons leaning Bengals (undecided), but can imagine the bad Andy Dalton game that will doom this pick. House can also imagine it and is thus taking the Bills.

LIONS -3 vs. Bears

  • Simmons: "I have no idea what happens in this game and I don't care."
  • House: Bears defense is pretty good.
  • They're both taking the Bears—Stafford has shown little, and he's in his 7th (!) year in the league.

Broncos -4.5 @ BROWNS

  • Simmons: "I like the Browns, not enough to bet on them." That said, the Broncos D is sustaining their team—they are 32nd (of 32) on offense in DVOA. Manning is due for a 5-pick game this season...but not this week. BS thinks the line is 1 point too high.
  • House: Peyton has more picks than touchdowns this season...but still taking Broncos.

JAGS -1 vs. Texans

  • Simmons + House: Picking the Jags, because "the Texans are reprehensible."

Best Bets

JETS -6 vs. Washington Professional Football Team

  • House: Washington—he's "warming up to the DC Grudens." NFL teams coming off a win in London are 1-7 against the spread at home in their next game.
  • Simmons: Washington—likes their defense and O-line, and they can run. While DC's QB is Kirk Cousins, his opponent is Ryan Fitzpatrick.
  • Both: teams are "relatively even", thus the line is too high.

PACKERS -10.5 vs. Chargers

  • House: Chargers—line climbed from 9 to 10.5, with 80% of the early bets on the Packers, so "this is straight-up contrarian play." Rivers is also 3-0 as a double-digit-dog, and Chargers seem better on the road (the home fans were drowned out by travelling Pittsburgh fans last week).
  • Simmons: Not picking game, but thinks Packers are shaky, with only one multi-play scoring drive against 49ers. The team reminds him of the '06 Pats with their bad WRs and RB. Rodgers has no weapons beyond James Jones, who can scramble.

TITANS -1.5 vs. Dolphins

  • Simmons: Dolphins—Previous coach made them look sluggish, the new coach will be able to marshal their talent. The Titans have a bottom 5 coaching staff (they should have beaten Buffalo last week, coaching malpractice). Big game for Miami, since they could very well win this and their next game vs Houston, be 3-3 and in the playoff race.
  • House: Not picking. But teams that lost in London to the spread by 10+ points are 5-0 against the spread in next game. So there's that.
  • Both lament not betting on the Joe Philbin firing as a hedge against the Dolphins losing, despite saying they would on their previous podcast.

SEAHAWKS -7 vs. Panthers

  • House: Seahawks—Loves Seattle after last week's "gak." The "sharps" are betting Seahawks: the betting plays are mostly on Carolina, but the betting money (i.e. smart money) is mostly on Seattle.
  • Simmons: Not picking. Doesn't seem like Seattle can block, or protect leads. Carolina's 4 wins were against bad teams, so no idea if they're good.

Ravens -2 vs. 49ERS

  • Simmons: 49ers—admits hypocrisy given his past-week ripping of Kaepernick's psyche. But thinks he's okay against a bad pass rush (e.g. Ravens). The Ravens have bad defense without Steve Smith, and the SF defense is "not awful."

PATRIOTS -10 vs. Colts

  • Simmons: Patriots—They can't make the line high enough! Revenge game! This is the week they lay the smackdown! (That said, he fears that Nate Solder is out and the O-line is shaky.)
  • House: Patriots—Until further notice you play the Patriots! This line should be 20 points! The Colts stink! The Pats outscored the Colts 189-73 in last 4 games, and that might be the score this week! America is betting big on the Patriots (opening line was 7.5)! (That said, every handicapping analysis says go Colts—the line is way too high.)
  • More abject homerism in the "J-Bug" section, below.

EAGLES -4 vs. Giants

  • Simmons: Giants—The Eagles suck. "I like this Giants team." He fears that Giants have no pass rush, thus Sam Bradford might get comfortable and play well when he "needs to get knocked down a couple times."
  • House: Giants—4 is a crazy number, and Eli has a good record against own division.

Lamar Odom

Both Simmons and House lament the Lamar Odom news from this week: Odom was found in a coma in a Las Vegas brothel with drugs in his system. Simmons find it shocking that in 2015 this is even possible. Odom was in the Finals 5 years ago, was a very well-loved guy, and positively touched all lives he passed through.

BS speculates that Odom might have been corrupted by his involvement with the Kardashians (he was married to Khloe and on the famous reality TV show).

The discussion then veers into assessing Odom's career. According to Simmons, he was the 3rd-best player on two Finals teams, and would have been a great stretch-4 today (or "left-handed Billy Owens", another Syracuse guy). They both note his talent would have made him an extraordinary pickup basketball player.

Odom's career is also inherently intriguing in that there were a few key "what-if" moments. For example, in 2003, he was about to re-sign with the Clippers, but an agent was supposed to renew Anthony Carter's contract, forgot, the deadline passed, and thus the Heat (Pat Riley) had the money to sign Odom (6 years/$60M). That Heat team (with rookie Wade) made the 2nd round of the playoffs. Then, Odom was traded to the Lakers (with Caron Butler and Brian Grant) for Shaq. BS argues that playing with Kobe in 35 shots/game mode was the worst possible situation for his development.

  • Odom's best years:
    • '04: 17/10
    • '05: 15/10
    • '06: 16/9/5
    • '08: 14/10.6/3.5
    • His PER always in the high teens.

He's Not a Hall of Famer, although that's being devalued. Both Simmons and House are rooting for his recovery, and glad he's survived so far, as many similar stories have ended in tragic deaths.

J-Bug

Simmons calls his highly Bostonian homer buddy to discuss how much the Patriots will beat the Colts by. J-Bug estimates a final score of 72-10. Wild overconfidence ensues (despite fears about O-line, defense, Brady's mildly eccentric interview).

They both also like the Celtics season win-total bet: over 42 wins. And are cheering for Theo Epstein to bring a World Series to Cubs after his success in Boston.