Thursday, December 28, 2023

Christmas Catch Up

With this being the Christmas and New Year period, there are a lot of year-end posts I have planned but still wanted to get some other things out there. So, here are a bunch of topics that could have had their own blog post but are all here in a collection.

The Expendables Boxing Day Streak Continues
As I've written in previous posts recently, I accidentally began a trend many years ago when I watched the first Expendables movie on a Boxing Day and then followed it up a couple of years later by watching The Expendables II on Boxing Day of 2012. 
After receiving The Expendables III on Christmas Day of 2014, I continued the trend and - this past Boxing Day - it continued with Expendables 4 (or Expend4bles if we're to go by how the producers have marketed it).

The Expendables 4 Blu-ray

The new film isn't as good as the previous three in any way. But, I still kind of enjoyed because I had low expectations going in.
There wasn't much Sylvester Stallone in this one. And there's a major reason why. His character of Barney Ross was killed off early in the film and then his colleagues in the mercenary group go on a mission to finish off something Ross had started.
I sat through the post-Barney Ross scenes thinking to myself 'they couldn't have killed him off - we didn't see a body only his ring on his finger!' That thought eventually turned to 'man, they really did not have Sly in this film' by the closing scenes of the movie when it looked like the main baddie was having the movie's final showdown with Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) only for a helicopter to come out of nowhere and shoot down the villain (Andy Garcia). Can you guess who was in charge of the chopper?!
So, normal service has resumed, Stallone's character is still alive. However, I don't expect we'll see another Expendables movie again. But, if we do, you'll know which day I'll watch it!

Igloos and Ice
The 2023 National Lottery Advent scratch card was a winning one.

2023 National Lottery Advent Scratchcard

I didn't scratch the windows in order because I dislike how the National Lottery has changed things up with the games being in order. So, on some days, I would scratch one box down and then - on others - I would go across and so on.
I picked up a £5 win on December 10th (the day after Squeak died) when I found two igloos under the window. 
The second - and final - £5 win came a few days ago. I cannot remember which. It also has a Squeak significance though. 
I was sitting on the edge of my bed putting my trainers on and happened to look over at my Indianapolis Colts rucksack. I noticed it had a cat scratch on the logo. I wondered to myself 'was that made my Oreo or Squeak?' and then I decided 'I'll choose it to have been made by Squeak'. Then, as I was about to leave my bedroom, I remembered I hadn't scratched the window on the card. I found two ice cubes to add another fiver to the one I had already won and then made another choice - I chose that Squeak had sent that win as a sign to tell me the scratch was made by him.

Indianapolis Colts Logo

A Christmas (Betting) Miracle
A friend and I have been using my NFL spreadsheets, database and systems to enter a season-long handicapping contest on an offshore sportsbook's website. 
In the contest, we have to pick five teams against the spread every week. There is a huge prizepool for the players on the season-long leaderboard. However, there are also weekly prizes for those whose entries go 5-0 in any particular week.
The weekly prize is a share of 8,333.33 in US Dollars. 
Our entries have been hit-and-miss throughout the season. In week one, I went 4-1 and that was followed up with something like 2-3. However, the most regular result has been 3-2. I have never had a perfect week. Until Christmas.
Last weekend's plays were on: 
  • Steelers +2 (they won 34-11)
  • Browns +2.5 (they won 36-22)
  • Commanders +3 (they lost 30-28, but still covered the spread)
  • Dolphins -1 (won 22-20)
All of those scores were settled by Christmas morning. The fifth and final play was on the Las Vegas Raiders - as +10 underdogs - to the Kansas City Chiefs on Christmas Day.
I didn't think the Raiders would win, but thought they'd keep it close and cover the ten-point spread. I was wrong, though. They beat the Super Bowl champs outright with a score of 20-14.
We finally had our first 5-0 of the season. Yes, I kept it late.

Twitter/X DM

The celebrating ended the next day, however.
Remember that I wrote the $8,333.33 was split between all players who finished with 5-0 on any particular week? Well, on the weekend in question, there were over 80 entries which had a perfect score!
We ended up with $102.88. I know it's better than nothing, but I had visions of a large win because of how many underdogs covered the spread.

Speaking Of The Raiders
While I'm on about the Raiders, I should once again point out a betting trend I have been paying close attention to for most of 2023.
Each season, I track the performances of teams that played on Thursday night in the previous week to see if the extra time to prepare is a benefit for them.
As of right now, the teams are 20-12 against the spread. However, most of those wins have occurred for the teams which played at home on those Thursday nights. All the teams in the final column of the table below are the home sides. They are 12-3 after sixteen weeks of play. Las Vegas' win over the Chiefs was the most recent result which received a green shading in the table.

Played Thursday 2023
As you can see above, the two sides to watch out for this weekend are the New Orleans Saints and - most importantly - the Los Angeles Rams, who are favoured to win against the New York Giants.

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