This Weekend's Best Bets: Falling Below the Pendergast Line
Back in the day, there was a Major League shortstop named Mario Mendoza. Mendoza played parts of nine seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers.
Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico (excellent town name, by the way), Mendoza was known as one of the most proficient glove men in the game. Conversely, offensively, he was known as the poster child for light hitting middle infielders. His career batting average of .215 actually does him more justice than the narrative surrounding his batting exploits, because Mendoza is the rare player who has a baseball term named after him.
Because he was so ineffective at the plate, so laughably bad at hitting, the paltry .200 batting average plateau was appropriately named the "Mendoza Line," a benchmark for offensive futility.
Well, I think we are at the point now with this year's football wagers where I am about to take my place among the immortals like Mario Mendoza.
At 39-60-3, I am picking winners at a .394 clip. When you consider that gamblers picking winners at a 60 percent clip are deemed "world beaters," then the opposite must also be true...40 percent sucks.
Specifically, my sitting at .394 through nearly a full season is positively wretched. Much like Mario Mendoza struggling to stay above .200 as a Major League hitter, I am struggling to get to even mediocre levels of success wagering. I hover right around the horrific 40 percent mark. So I will admit it, and I will own it. Let's go ahead and call the .400 mark what it is...
The Pendergast Line.
All right, let's try and get above the Pendergast Line for the season this week. All we need to do is have a winning week (which I think I've done like twice all season). Let's go!
Texans +7 over TITANS Before the season, this was a game the Texans hoped would be meaningless to their playoff seeding. Well, they got their wish, I guess. At 2-13, this game will have zero impact on where the Texans wind up relative to the 2013 playoffs. It is, however, highly critical to where they will pick in the draft, as a loss sews up the number one pick overall (It still feels weird that we are talking about this team picking first. Why is Rick Smith still here again?). Naturally, this feels like something the Texans will screw up, or at least tease the possibility of screwing up, so I'll take all seven points, thanks.
VIKINGS -3 over Lions This is the Coach's Head Is On A Guillotine Bowl, as Jim Schwartz of the Lions and Leslie Frazier of the Vikings are both likely coaching in their final games with their respective teams. If Vince McMahon were NFL commissioner, this for sure would be a game where the loser gets publicly fired (after literally kissing McMahon's butt cheeks ), and the winner would get to keep his job. Honestly, if NFL overall popularity begins to wane, I'd suggest some WWE style stipulations in Week 17. Steel cages, weapons, lumberjack games, anything.
Jaguars +10 1/2 over COLTS Jacksonville has played much better football the second half of the season, too well to be laying double digit points to a Colts team that is capable of losing by 30 at home to the Rams (which happened about a month ago).
BENGALS -6 1/2 over Ravens The Bengals have yet to lose at home. Against the spread, on the scoreboard, undefeated. There is major incentive for the Bengals to continue that streak as they could finish anywhere from number two in the conference (with a win and a Pats loss) to number four in the conference (and a first round game against the Chiefs). The Ravens look as rickety as Joe Flacco stumbling around on one good knee.
BEARS +2 1/2 over Packers The rule says when a team loses by 28 or more the week before, you bet on that team in the current weekend. The Bears lost to the Eagles by roughly 300 points (give or take) on Sunday night last weekend. Also, the Packers being favored on the road in this spot is due to the return of Aaron Rodgers, who I would have to imagine will have some rust to shake off. Home dog feels like the play here.
Eagles/COWBOYS OVER 52 1/2 The Eagles are on the other end of that "28 point rule." You should be betting against them this weekend. I'm not ready to go there (betting on Kyle Orton?) but I will bet on points being scored in this matchup. Lots and lots of points.
Last week: 1-5 Season record: 39-60-3
Starting January 3, 2014, listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.