Rick Lovato trades NJ salami for NFL pigskin

Rick Lovato was walking into his uncle and father’s sandwich shop, Joyce’s Subs and Pizza in Linecroft, NJ when he got the call.  For the second time this year, he’s going to be long snapping in an NFL game, this time for the Philadelphia Eagles.

It is his third team this year.  Lovato was signed by the Packers in late 2015 to fill in for Brett Goode, who went down with a season ending knee injury, then spent the following off season with the Packers, who cut him right before the start of the 2016 season.

Rick then was signed by the Redskins in mid November to fill in for an injured Nick Sundberg, who tweaked his back in the weight room.  After 2 games, his services were no longer needed.

Philadelphia now seems to be in need after long-time long snapper and magician, Jon Durenbos, broke his wrist last week warming up for his next snap.  “My phone died while I was trying to look at who was contacting me,” Lovato said. “Run to my car, plug my phone in the charger and everyone was like, ‘Philly’s long snapper is down, you need to contact your agent and do all this to get ready.’ As soon as I go home to watch the game and Brent Celek’s in snapping and I’m like ‘Oh jeez, this is bad because, Dorenbos wasn’t even snapping.’”  Until Washington signed him for 10 days in November, Lovato had spent the season working at the family sub shop, working out and practicing long snapping every other day with his dad, Rick.

If you’re wondering what a short-term NFL long snapper makes, lets take a look into Rick’s earnings since coming into the league in 2015:

Bears offseason member – $4,500 signing bonus

Packers – $51,176 salary + $4,544 incentive bonus = $55,720

Redskins – $52,940

Eagles – $79,410

From 2015 to the end of the 2016 season, Rick will have made $192,570.  Not too bad considering he has only has 3 games under his belt and will only have 3 more games to play this season.

“I’m great at making breakfast sandwiches, subs,” said Lovato. “Those are my two specialties. I can make pizza, but I’m not the best at it.”

America loves stories like Rick Lovato and I damn sure hope he gets to hang on with the Eagles or another club going forward.

Lovato broke into the league in 2015 as a member of the offseason squad for the Bears.  He is a 2014 graduate of Old Dominion University and is the only player from Old Dominion to see game action in the NFL.

NFL Week 1 – Thursday Night Throwdown

Back for the 2015 season. It’s been another long offseason with many news topics that have been discussed and there’s usually one that beats the dead horse and this year it involves the high profiled QB Tom Brady and “deflategate”. Well, it all turned out to be much to do about nothing and his 4 game suspension was over-ruled to which he will be starting the season opener tonight. The Steelers have also had some issues with star players getting into trouble but the suspensions actually sticking, seeing Martavis Bryant out with a 4 game suspension as well as Le’Veon Bell’s 2 games, who coincidentally was with former teammate, now Patriot, LeGarrette Blount, who is also dealing with a suspension of his own.

Nevertheless, the season is upon us, let football begin!

New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, TV: NBC @ 8:30 p.m.; LINE: Patriots -7.5, O/U 52:

Both teams are dealing with key injuries and suspensions, luckily for the Pats, Brady avoided his. Now with all eyes, ears and hands all over the Patriots, this will be a huge kickoff (highly rated) for the NFL with all of the surrounding controversy and attention that the Pats have found themselves in this year already. Brady will be ever prepared, as he always is but don’t look for this one to be a high scoring contest. The light rain they are having will start the game off slow and these two defenses aren’t half bad either. Yes, Wilfork is gone and is now pretending to be a kicker during practices with the Texans but the defensive front will still be strong. Troy Polamalu is now retired after acknowledging losing some steps in his game over the last few years. This defense in some ways is younger now so look for them to play refreshed but don’t be surprised with some mistakes sprinkled in. With the new extra point rules, it’ll be interesting to see if the coaches use different strategies in this wet affair. Both quarterbacks are great game managers so there will be no rushing anything.  They both know they can’t allow mistakes to happen since the other will capitalize on them.  No underinflated balls will be helping Tom win this one but look for the Steelers to keep it close. Patriots 24-20.

Check back for a preview of Sunday’s picks! Good luck!

Betting lines provided by Bovada

Week 5 Monday Mashup

Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins,
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Seahawks -7 O/U: 45.5:

This should be a gimme for the Seahawks but don’t over think this one because Seattle is on the road.  They may have been bad on the road in the past but this year in their one road game (yes they lost) but they scored a bunch of points and played against a rejuvenated Phillip Rivers.  They are surprisingly mediocre in the pass defense (19th) but 2nd against the rush.  They will look to bounce back against a recently shaky Kirk Cousins.  Now the Redskins have racked up the yards on offense, mainly the pass game but it’s the turnovers that has contributed to their 1-3 start.  The question is will Cousins keep turning it up on the Hawks passing D or will the defense force Cousins into more turnovers. With the line of an even -7 for the Seahawks on the road, that may scare bettors into going with the Skins but take the Hawks and the Over.  The Redskins were embarrassed last week at home against a previously terrible Giants, bet on them playing hard tonight to redeem themselves but Seattle is too good of a team.   Seahawks 28-20.

Thursday Night NFL Matchup

New York Giants @ Washingotn Redskins,
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS, NFL Network. LINE: Redskins -3.5. O/U: 45.5:

The Last meeting between the 2 the Kirk Cousins and the Redskins were in shambles, a 7 game losing streak. well they lost to the Giants making it 8 in a row. The last 3 losses were under Cousins, the first 2 when he took over he was good and ok, keeping the games close. He stumbled greatly in the season finale against the Giants, losing a fumble and throwing 2 picks. This year he took over early on in week 2 and played amazing and won while coming into Philly with the Desean Jackson return and played out of his mind with career highs in completions, yards and TD’s. He gave the Redskins a fighting chance and kept them in it until the end by limiting mistakes (just 1 INT in 48 attempts). The Redskins run game did ok with 84 yards but it only drew 3 yards per carry and the air game was the one that stole the show. The Redskins did a lot of good things under Cousins, more first downs, more possession time, more offense yards overall, more plays, better 3rd down conversion. The penalties were ridiculous, 10-131 but the Eagles also had 9-70. The 2 penalties that the Redskins committed were the pass interference calls of 40 and 21 yards. The first of 40 yards set up a FG and the second of 21 help set up their game winning TD. Granted it was a bitter divisional rivalry and D-Jack’s return to Philly party but the things that kill huge offensive games for teams are bad special teams, turnovers and penalties. The Redskins failed in all 3 but more so evident in the penalty department.

The Giants came off a much needed win against Houston last week. Surprisingly, Fitzpatrick drove the ball down the field a bit (289 yards) but a usually conservative QB, threw 3 picks to just 1 TD. The Giants had more first downs, possession time, less penalties, less turnovers and pounded the ground for almost 200 yards. Eli had a great day going 21/28 for 234 yards and 2 TD’s. The Giants went 5-7 in the red zone, scoring 3 FG’s and 2 TD’s however lost a fumble at the 4 yard line and fumbled a FG snap which caused a turnover on downs. Snapper Zak DeOssie pitched a grounder back to the holder which skipped under his hands. They recovered and nicely for the win. Rashad Jennings played out of his mind, having a career day with career highs in carries and yards.

This game will be a real test for the Giants defense as they are a below average defense. The Redskins are on of the better defenses in the league and is even 3 in yards allowed on the ground. The Redskins will be too tough for the Giants on offense and will put massive amounts of pressure on Manning, possibly turning him back into a turnover machine. That will have to be seen though since the ‘Skins have just lost DeAngelo Hall for the year due to his recently torn Achilles. Take the Redskins to get the win with their tough defense and big time offense, with the points -3.5 in the Over. Redskins 31-20.

Week 15 Recap

Well last week ATS I had a losing record, but if you took all of my picks, you more than likely lost just the juice depending on the bets you made, 7-8-1. Some real surprises were obviously the Eagles against the Vikings and the Cowboys against the Packers. The. Eagles just kept giving the Vikings great field position all game long off the kick offs.  How many times did they think Patterson was going to return a kick for a score in the snow?  The fact that they kept doing it and only making the Vikings play on a 60-70 yard field was crazy.  2 completions could easily put them in the red zone.

I was torn on the Bengals and Lions because they are young teams and aren’t mentally focused enough to finish the season strong. Obviously the Lions have never been in the lead of the NFC North, they’ve never been there, they don’t know how to start applying pressure to the necks of the other teams and solidify the top spot. Who would’ve thought that the Vikings offense would show up like that, let alone the 3rd string RB Matt Asiata for 3 scores.

The other games that sort of caught me off guard was the Seahawks and Giants, I definitely didn’t expect the Giants to get shutout. The Redskins and Falcons game, I knew Kirk Cousins would play well but never thought he would keep them that close in the game. Even though they covered and hit the over, I didn’t think the Raiders would score 31 but when you score on huge plays and often, when you get the ball back that many times, you’re bound to score that many points. Obviously I thought the Broncos were going to go perfect at home as they have been all year, Rivers and the Bolts showed up to play which was a fear of mine. The Jets played better than I expected on the road but the game luckily/unfortunately ended in a push.  Lastly, the Ravens/Lions game.  You mean to tell me that you hold a team to only field goals and still can’t win?  That in itself is enough said!  Congrats to Tucker on being the only kicker in NFL history to hit from 20, 30, 40, 50 & 60 yards in a game.

However, call me a genius on these beauties, Dolphins over the Pats, Bills over the Jags, Colts over the Texans, and the Rams over the Saints. Listen, I have bet against the Dolphins at home too many times this year and got burnt. They’ve played well after opening the season on a horrible losing skid and the Pats were without Gronk. The Jags were without some top offensive players and even though put up ok numbers for this game, but the Jags play terribly at home usually. The Colts were due for a win and it couldn’t have come at a better time than the worst team in the NFL than the Texans. And lastly, the Saints are not the same on the road and the Rams have played very well against good teams at home.

It just goes to show you how hard it is to bet on the NFL, especially with the sort of odds the Sharks put on the games. It’s almost as if they set you up by making some games “must bet on games” and then the outcome is completely the other way. Then you have those games that are a point off, super close, comes down to the last play in the 4th quarter.

You have to watch the trends and ride them because more often than not, they pay out more than you pay in. Some of those trends include, Patriots at home, Broncos at home, Broncos in the over, Ravens home games in the under, against the Patriots on the road. Things like that. Most websites have the most recent trend information like that available for you to use for free.

Look out for my next blog, hopefully tomorrow, with my Thursday game picks and the rest of week 16 analysis and picks.