Wiseguys? Mike Valenti Only Detroit Media Member Who Picked Bears Over Lions

Written By Matt Schoch on October 5, 2021

That waft of cornbread you may have been sniffing last week across the internet? That’s just the local media falling in love with picks for the Detroit Lions.

… With only three points of cushion.

… On the road.

Don’t blame just them, though. The Lions were a very public bet to cover the Week 4 spread at the Chicago Bears on Sunday, a game they lost 24-14. The “cornbread” optimism of home cooking, poked fun of for decades now on Detroit sports radio, was once again just Charlie Brown duped by Lucy.

We’re following the picks of Detroit media members this NFL season, during the first full year of legalized Michigan online sports betting. And only one of them made the right call for the Leos this week, while eight others took another L.

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Detroit Free Press takes losses across the board with Lions picks

Another week meant for another pathetic showing by the Detroit Free Press pundits. All of them picked the Lions to win, handing Carlos Monarrez, Jeff Seidel and Shawn Windsor their third loss in four weeks of picking just Lions games.

Dave Birkett, the primary Freep beat writer for the Lions, moved to 0-4 on the season.

Birkett is one the most connected local media members to the Lions, who have covered two games and lost against the spread in two others. And he’s been wrong on all four.

Niyo, Wojo of Detroit News still the class of the market

Justin Rogers, the News beat writer for the Lions, takes another no contest after picking the host Bears in the staff picks, but taking the Lions to cover in his score prediction. But in giving credit where credit is due, Rogers actually did pick the Bears to win in his real picks and is going with all home teams this year for the staff picks.

Columnists John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski have been the class of this sample all season. Wojo made his move with a 9-7 week and sits one game behind his cohort.

Mike Valenti making his move as season goes on

A little peek behind the curtain shows that most of these media members have to face the teams they cover regularly.

Mike Valenti, the top sports radio voice in the market, famously does no such thing. You’ll basically never catch Valenti in the facilities and arenas as a working media member for 97.1 The Ticket.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that arrangement. In fact, that independence allows him to lash out without repercussions, giving unvarnished opinions that fans have craved.

This is just a pick of a single game, but it’s interesting that the one guy who won’t be facing Lions personnel in Allen Park is the one who laid the points.

It paid off for Valenti, who passed his radio partner Rico Beard this week in the standings, moving closer to a .500 mark on the season.

Both Valenti and Beard won with the Chargers -3 on Monday night and lost with Tampa Bay +7.5 on Sunday night and Carolina +4.5 earlier Sunday.

Valenti was 4-3 on the week by also winning with the Seahawks +3 and Giants +7. Beard (2-5 this week) had the Cardinals +4 over Matthew Stafford and the Rams.

PickerWinsLossesTiesWin percentage
Bob Wojnowski, Detroit News51412.553
John Niyo, Detroit News48442.521
Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press330.500
James Hawkins, Detroit News42502.457
Mike Valenti, 971 The Ticket14181.439
Justin Rogers, Detroit News37502.427
Rico Beard, 971 The Ticket12201.379
Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press240.333
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press240.333
Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press150.167
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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