NFL Week Four picks 2014

By Nick Veronica

The Buffalo Bills have $7 million against their salary cap this year in money going to Ryan Fitzpatrck. EJ Manuel, by comparison, makes about $800,000 on his rookie contract and has a signing bonus of about $1.2 million, for a cap hit of just over $2 million.

So who do you have Sunday, the expensive quarterback or the cheap one?

Even if they won’t admit it, this game against their former quarterback is huge for Manuel and the Bills. They can’t afford to lay a dud.

IAGSROUNDBills +3 at Houston — Bills

Oakland +4 at Miami — Oakland

Green Bay -1.5 at Chicago — Chicago

Tennessee +7.5 at Indianapolis — Indianapolis

Carolina +3.5 at Baltimore — Baltimore

Detroit -1.5 at Jets — Detroit

Tampa +7.5 at Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh

Jacksonville +13 at San Diego — San Diego

Philadelphia +5.5 at San Francisco — Philadelphia

Atlanta -3 at Minnesota — Atlanta

New Orleans -3 at Dallas — Dallas

New England -3.5 at Kansas City — New England

Standings

DiCesare 25-19-1 (2-1)
Gaughan 24-20-1 (2-1)
Skurski 24-20-1 (2-1)
Graham 21-23-1 (2-0-1)
Northrop 21-23-1 (1-2)
Sullivan 19-25-1 (3-0)
IAGS 18-26-1 (1-2)

Last week

San Diego +2 at Buffalo — San Diego
Chargers 22-10. Win.

Dallas -1 at St. Louis — Dallas
Cowboys 34-31. Win.

Washington +6.5 at Philadelphia — Washington
Eagles 37-34. Win.

Houston -2.5 at Giants — Houston
Giants 30-17. Loss.

Minnesota +10.5 at New Orleans — Minnesota
Saints 20-9. Loss.

Tennessee +7 at Cincinnati — Tennessee
Bengals 33-7. Loss.

Baltimore -1.5 at Cleveland — Cleveland
Ravens 23-21. Loss.

Green Bay +2 at Detroit — Green Bay*
Lions 19-7. Loss.

Indianapolis -7 at Jacksonville — Indianapolis
Colts 44-17. Win.

Oakland +14 at New England — Oakland
Patriots 16-9. Win.

San Francisco -3 at Arizona — San Francisco
Cardinals 23-14. Loss.

Denver +5 at Seattle — Denver
Seattle 26-20. Loss.

Kansas City +4.5 at Miami — Miami
Chiefs 34-15. Loss.

Pittsburgh +3.5 at Carolina — Pittsburgh
Steelers 37-19. Win.

Chicago +2.5 at Jets — Chicago
Bears 27-19. Win.

7-8

Week Three NFL picks 2014

By Nick Veronica

IAGSROUNDThe Bills pulled out a big win last week against Miami, but being a favorite this week against San Diego, which just beat Seattle, seems like a stretch.

San Diego +2 at Buffalo — San Diego

Dallas -1 at St. Louis — Dallas

Washington +6.5 at Philadelphia — Washington (Kirk Cousins vs. Nick Foles! 2012 late-round draft party! Washington might be better off with Cousins at the helm)

Houston -2.5 at Giants — Houston

Minnesota +10.5 at New Orleans — Minnesota

Tennessee +7 at Cincinnati — Tennessee

Baltimore -1.5 at Cleveland — Cleveland

Green Bay +2 at Detroit — Green Bay*

Indianapolis -7 at Jacksonville — Indianapolis

Oakland +14 at New England — Oakland

San Francisco -3 at Arizona — San Francisco

Denver +5 at Seattle — Denver

Kansas City +4.5 at Miami — Miami

Pittsburgh +3.5 at Carolina — Pittsburgh

Chicago +2.5 at Jets — Chicago

Overall (best bets)

DiCesare 16-13-1 (1-1)
Gaughan 15-14-1 (1-1)
Skurski 14-15-1 (1-1)
Graham 14-15-1 (1-0-1)
Northrop 12-17-1 (0-2)
IAGS 11-18-1 (1-1)
Sullivan 9-20-1 (2-0)

Last week:

Miami -1 at Buffalo — Buffalo*
Bills 29-10. Win.

Detroit +2.5 at Carolina —  Detroit
Panthers 24-7. Loss.

Dallas +3.5 at Tennessee — Dallas
Cowboys 26-10. Win.

Arizona -2 at Giants — Giants
Cardinals 25-14. Loss.

Jacksonville +6 at Washington — Jacksonville
Washington 41-10. Loss.

New England -3 at Minnesota — New England
Patriots 30-7. Win.

New Orleans -6.5 at Cleveland — Cleveland
Browns 26-24. Win.

Atlanta +5 at Cincinnati — Atlanta
Bengals 24-10. Loss.

St. Louis +5.5 at Tampa Bay — Tampa Bay
Rams 19-17. Loss.

Seattle -6 at San Diego — Seattle
Chargers 30-21. Loss.

Houston -3 at Oakland — Oakland
Texans 30-14. Loss.

Jets +8.5 at Green Bay — Green Bay
Packers 31-24. Loss.

Kansas City +13 at Denver — Kansas City
Broncos 24-17. Win.

Chicago +7 at San Francisco — San Francisco
Bears 28-24. Loss.

Philadelphia +3 at Indianapolis — Indianapolis
Eagles 30-27. Loss.

5-10

Week Two NFL picks 2014

By Nick Veronica

With everything that’s happened this week, the Bills can’t possibly lose their home opener, right? Or would it be so Bills of them to choke? Decisions.

IAGSROUNDMiami -1 at Buffalo — Buffalo

Detroit +2.5 at Carolina —  Detroit

Dallas +3.5 at Tennessee — Dallas

Arizona -2 at Giants — Giants

Jacksonville +6 at Washington — Jacksonville

New England -3 at Minnesota — New England

New Orleans -6.5 at Cleveland — Cleveland

Atlanta +5 at Cincinnati — Atlanta

St. Louis +5.5 at Tampa Bay — Tampa Bay

Seattle -6 at San Diego — Seattle

Houston -3 at Oakland — Oakland

Jets +8.5 at Green Bay — Green Bay

Kansas City +13 at Denver — Kansas City

Chicago +7 at San Francisco — San Francisco

Philadelphia +3 at Indianapolis — Indianapolis

Overall (best bets)

Gaughan 8-6-1 (1-0)
DiCesare 8-6-1 (1-0)
IAGS 6-8-1 (0-1)
Northrop 6-8-1 (0-1)
Skurski 6-8-1 (0-1)
Graham 5-9-1 (0-0-1)
Sullivan 3-11-1 (1-0)

Last week 

Buffalo +6.5 at Chicago — Bears
Bills 23-20 OT. Loss.

New Orleans -3 at Atlanta — Saints
Falcons 37-34 OT. Loss.

Minnesota +4 at St. Louis — Vikings
Vikings 34-6. Win.

Cleveland +6.5 at Pittsburgh — Steelers
Steelers 30-27. Loss.

Jacksonville +10 at Philadelphia — Eagles
Eagles 34-17. Win.

Oakland +5 at Jets — Jets
Jets 19-14. Push

Cincinnati +2 at Baltimore — Bengals
Bengals 23-16. Win.

Washington +2.5 at Houston — Washington
Texans 17-6. Loss.

Tennessee +4 at Kansas City — Chiefs*
Titans 26-10. Loss.

New England -4.5 at Miami — Patriots
Dolphins 33-20. Loss.

Carolina +1.5 at Tampa Bay — Panthers
Panthers 20-14. Win.

San Francisco -5 at Dallas — Cowboys
49ers 28-17. Loss.

Indianapolis +7.5 at Denver — Broncos
Broncos 31-24. Loss.

Giants +5.5 at Detroit — Lions
Lions 35-14. Win.

San Diego +3 at Arizona — Chargers
Cardinals 18-17. Win.

6-8-1

Try to comprehend how much money $1.4 billion really is

Terry Pegula owns not one, but two Buffalo sports franchises.

“How many sports franchises do I own? That’s right.”

By Nick Veronica

When you hear about the sale price of the Buffalo Bills, it’s easy to forget what all those zeros really mean.

To recap:

Terry and Kim Pegula submitted a winning bid of $1.4 billion. That’s $1,400,000,000. “One billion, four hundred million dollars.”

The Bon Jovi group bid $1.05 billion. That’s $1,050,000,000. “One billion, fifty million dollars.”

It’s hard to even comprehend that kind of money. A thousand millionaires could’ve teamed up and still been outbid!

Here’s trying to put those numbers into perspective:

>>> The Pegulas paid $175 million for the Sabres. That means they outbid the Bon Jovi group by two Buffalo Sabres organizations.

>>> You’d have to work 175 million hours at New York state minimum wage ($8/hour) to make $1.4 billion (before taxes). That’s 7,291,667 days or 19,997 years, not accounting for leap years.

So working at $8/hour, assuming you never got a raise or overtime or holiday pay and also never spent any money or paid any taxes, you would’ve had to work every hour of every day since the Late Stone Age to be able to form a bid that could compete with the Pegulas’ bid.

>>> Since living that long is a little unreasonable to ask, maybe you’d consider pooling your money. If everyone in your group worked eight hours a day for 365 days (again, excluding overtime/holiday/expenses/taxes/etc.), here’s how many people you’d need at different average group pay rates:

  • Working every day for a year at $8/hr: 59,932 people
  • At $12/hr: 39,954 people
  • At $30/hr: 15,982 people
  • At $1,000/hr: 479 people

Maybe instead you just wanted to group together every season ticket holder. If the Bills sold 42,540 season tickets last year, every holder of every seat would have to chip in more than $32,910.

>>> Maybe you’d like to target a wealthier demographic. It’d probably be a conflict of interest for football players to buy a team, but how about every player in the NHL? Using numbers from CapGeek, every player who is currently signed in the NHL will have a combined estimated cap hit of $1,915,607,276 this season. That’s enough to outbid Pegula! You could even negotiate it with the Player’s Union. Everyone gets to keep 25 percent of what he makes this season and gives the other 75 percent to buy the Bills. You’d have $1,436,705,437, about 36 million more than Pegula bid.

>>> Wait, what about winning the lottery? That could work. If you just happened to win all five of the largest Mega Millions jackpots in history, that’d give about $1.5 billion. Score!

Other comparisons

  • The CEOs of Western New York’s top 50 publicly traded companies made $96,582,585 in 2013 — less than 7 percent of the Bills sale price.
  • The Obama campaign raised about $1.072 billion in the 2012 election cycle — enough to outbid Bon Jovi but not the Pegulas.
  • You know the USAA Auto Insurance commercial where the kid says “mine was earned in Djibouti, Africa”? The entire GDP of Djibouti (and 20 other countries) is less than $1.4 billion.
  • Apple’s new ginormous iPhone 6 Plus starts at $299 on a two-year contract. With $1.4 billion, you could buy 4,682,274 of them — one for every person in Louisiana, the 25th most populous state.
  • Or, better yet … a regular hot dog at Ted’s ($2.59) plus fries ($1.39) and a drink ($1.49) costs $5.95, including tax. With $1.4 billion, Pegula could’ve bought everyone in the Buffalo-Niagara metropolitan area (1,135,509 people) lunch for 207 days.
  • For even more happiness … $1.4 billion could buy those those 1,135,509 people a large coffee from Tim Hortons ($1.90) every morning for almost two years (649 days).
  • If you just wanted to split up that money between everyone, it’d be $123.29 per person … enough to give every person in the area full online access to the Buffalo News (and a Sunday paper) for more than a year (almost 62 weeks).
  • Forbes has estimated Pegula’s net worth to be $3.3 billion, so this sale would still leave him with more than half of his fortune. Good joke about being broke though.

  • Lastly, to keep $1.4 billion in perspective from the other direction, you’d have to give the government 12,689 times what Pegula spent to erase the national debt. (And, comparing tweets from that account, the national rose more than five times what Pegula spent just on Tuesday.)

Week One NFL picks 2014

By Nick Veronica

IAGSROUNDWelcome to Year Five of NFL picks. A brief review:

2010: 108-132-5 (11-6 best bets). These picks were originally designed to be compared against the Buffalo News’ staff selections, but picking against the spread, I learned, is much harder than it looks. This record would have been last place.

2011: 118-119-2 (no best bets). This would’ve been third among TBN pickers. I was tied in second heading into Week 17. Just missed a winning record.

2012: 115-115-9 (11-4-1 best bets). Would’ve been fourth among TBN. I seem to have missed a best bet one week. Oh well. Inching closer to that winning record…

2013: 105-127-8 (9-8 best bets). This was the fewest wins yet, though it wouldn’t have been last among TBN.

Overall total: 446-493-25. Gee Nick, don’t you have a 50 percent of getting them right? Hey, nobody asked you.

Last season’s results:

Sullivan 121-110-9 (9-7-1)
Graham 116-115-9 (6-9-2)
Northrop 114-117-9 (4-13)
Skurski 110-121-9 (9-6-2)
Gaughan 109-122-9 (6-9-2)
IAGS 105-127-8 (9-8)
DiCesare 96-135-9 (7-10)

(Note: not all years had the same number of games picked due to varying number of mid-week games, which aren’t included in picks. The game lines come from Thursday’s paper each week.)

Without further adieu, here are some Week One picks that are bound to be wrong:

Buffalo +6.5 at Chicago — Bears

New Orleans -3 at Atlanta — Saints

Minnesota +4 at St. Louis — Vikings

Cleveland +6.5 at Pittsburgh — Steelers

Jacksonville +10 at Philadelphia — Eagles

Oakland +5 at Jets — Jets

Cincinnati +2 at Baltimore — Bengals

Washington +2.5 at Houston — Washington

Tennessee +4 at Kansas City — Chiefs*

New England -4.5 at Miami — Patriots

Carolina +1.5 at Tampa Bay — Panthers

San Francisco -5 at Dallas — Cowboys

Indianapolis +7.5 at Denver — Broncos

Giants +5.5 at Detroit — Lions

San Diego +3 at Arizona — Chargers