The Weekly Gambling Debacle
NFL: 0-0-0 NCAA: 0-0-0 Last week: 0-0-0 Season total: 0-0-0
$ Wagered: 0 $ Won: $ Lost: $Net:
So here we go. Week three of the NFL and the 4th game of most college football team’s season is upon us. From here on out I will be keeping track of my picks. For now, I see myself picking every NFL game and select college games I feel strongly about. Will I put money on every game?… no. The last section of this article will lay out where I am placing my bets and we will keep a running tally of these bets as well.
For those of you not familiar with gambling consider this your baptism by fire. For those degenerates, addicts or just “social” gamblers1, consider this some assistance with your problem and please do not email me when you can’t pay the mortgage next month. Be a grown up and please read my previous article.
NFL (Lines as of Wednesday, September 21, 2011 per Las Vegas Hilton. Home Team in bold).
Cincinnati (-2.5) over San Francisco
San Francisco hasn’t looked as bad as many thought, but then again neither have the Bengals. Andy Dalton, has thrown no INTs (and has been surprisingly efficient) and Cedric Benson will pound the rock. Winning by a field goal at home doesn’t seem very far-fetched. We must always consider the Alex Smith factor; how again is he a starting QB in the NFL? Do you think Harbaugh is mad they won the opening week and lowered their chances of winning the Andrew Luck sweepstakes? I do.
Patriots (-8.5) over Buffalo
What does New England struggle with? Getting to the QB and getting teams off the field on 3rd down. Buffalo is great on 3rd down. What has Buffalo struggled against? The Raiders’ (2nd half not withstanding) relentless pass rush. New England has none of that. With all this said, I am terrified of this pick. Its either gonna be a back and forth shoot out or a NE blow out. Definitely the hardest game to pick this week (kryptonite pick, see below) but I don’ think Buffalo is as good as everyone else does.
New Orleans (-4) over Texans
One of the toughest picks of the week. The Texans should be the cream of the crop in the AFC south but that doesn’t say much considering the division. Houston installed a new defensive system in the offseason2 and has looked impressive against mediocre pass offenses (Indy minus Peyton and Miami = #1 ranked defense in the NFL) so far. But Sean Payton and Drew Brees should find the holes in this newly installed defense. Turf favors the speedier Saints. New Orleans’ horrendous back four could blow this pick if they don’t pressure Matt Schaub.
Eagles (-7) over NY Giants.
This bet has been taken off the board in most places due to Vick uncertainty. Gonna skip this one.
Cleveland (-2.5) over Miami
I’m a buyer of Cleveland stock. Miami telling the world Reggie Bush would be a full time RB to start the season makes me think Tony Sporano really doesn’t want his job anymore. The slow switch to Daniel Thomas improves my belief in his decisionmaking abilities but not much. Colt McCoy and his young group of receiver keep gelling and the Browns still rebounding from that week 1 Cincinnati loss beat a Miami team that actually plays better on the road than at home. Cleveland please keep riding the Peyton Hillis train.
Tennessee (-7) over Denver
Tennessee a sneaky sleeper to win the AFC South (verteran QB, superstar WR and RB, solid O-line and defense) beat up on the injury prone Broncos, who may be missing Champ Bailey and Elvis Dumervil.
Detroit (-3.5) over Minnesota
Minnesota might be one of the worst 3 teams in the NFL. The only thing keeping them close to Detroit is home field advantage. But Detroit is built for a dome anyways and Donovan3 McNabb has nothing left in the tank. Detroit big.
Carolina (-3.5) over Jacksonville
This line opened up at -2.5. It takes quite a bit to move a line a whole point for a team starting a rookie, unless your opponent has announced it’s starting a rookie with less game experience than your 2 game starter has. I’m taking the team with rookie QB who has thrown more than 6 passes in a regular season game4.
San Diego (-14.5) over KC
The Chiefs have collapsed and should lose out to guarantee that they have a better QB prospect next year than Matt Cassel and Thigpen. And I will make no reference to the USC quarterbacks as underachievers in this section now (Pan to me grinning stupidly)… And the Chefs were shut out last year in San Diego 31-0, with Jamaal Charles, Eric Barry and Tony Moeaki all actually healthy and playing. Things are not looking good in KC.
Oakland (+3.5) over NY Jets
Unless the Jets start running the ball well (and with their pro bowl center Nick Mangold out don’t count on it), I think Oakland can pound the rock and duck and chuck their way to a tight outright win. If the Jets let Marc Sanchez throw it around a little bit and remove the baby gloves they continually treat him with for the first 3 quarters of every game, they may win this game going away. The likelihood of this happening is 20 to 1. Needless to say Oakland has a good chance of the home-opener upset here. (Side note: Don't forget Marc Sanchez eating a hot during a game two years ago. Apparently the Raiders are using this for motivation this week.)
Baltimore (-4) over St. Louis
Baltimore always seems to play better when they’re motivated properly. Losing to Tennessee after pounding the Steelers seems to be a proper mix of motivation against an underachieving Rams team. *Bold prediction here: Rams go 2-6 to start the year and still win the division.
Atlanta (+1) over Tampa Bay
Both these teams were overrated coming into the season. Tampa rode a cupcake schedule to 10 wins last year and Atlanta showed its deep defensive flaws when getting crushed by Aaron Rodgers during the divisional playoffs round last year. Tampa’s run defense looks iffy and Matty Ice is the better QB in this matchup (with Josh freeman losing the gap by the minute).
Arizona (+1.5) over Seattle
Seattle is horrible. I would take almost any team getting points against Seattle. The only thing keeping this close is Seattle’s best home field advantage in the league status and the whole division rivalry thing. Let me repeat Seattle is horrible and Robert Gallery isn’t starting on an already weak O-line. Arizona wins by 2 scores.
Green Bay (-3.5) over Chicago
I don’t care what the Bears did against the Falcons. They are much closer to the team that was dominated by New Orleans than the team that dominated Atlanta. Jay Cutler and his O-line versus the pass rush of GB. I’m taking the over on three turnovers for Cutler. Oh wait that line is +/- 5.
Pittsburgh (-10) over Indianpolis
The Colts have now been underdogs by 9, 1.5 and 10 with two of those games at home. The sad thing is in weeks 1 and 2 their opponents have easily covered each time winning by 27 and 8, respectively. I actually think this line should be about 4 points higher. Looks like the ghost of Peyton’s past has gifted us 4 additional points. Take it.
Dallas (-6.5) over Washington
With the Romo5 situation in flux, most bets are off the board. If Romo plays with anything less than an amputated arm I’m taking Dallas to cover the 6.5 they were getting.
NCAA (Lines as of Wednesday, September 21, 2011 per Las Vegas Hilton. Home Team in bold).
San Diego State (+10.5) over Michigan
Michigan might be looking ahead to Big Ten play. There defense is still horrendous, after multiple transfers out of their defensive backfield in the offseason. San Diego State will have something to play for; beating the coach that just left their program last year. A good combination to keep the game close, at least close enough to cover as Michigan still wins a tight one at home.
Arkansas (+11) over Alabama
The Hogs are a top-ten caliber team not yet tested. They’re loaded with talent and have played well in big games under Bobby Petrino. Bama’d D is sickening, with probably 10 players set for the NFL but Arkansas is not at a lack for athletes on either end of the ball. Much like last year, if they don’t cough up the ball a ton, this game stays close.
Picks to place money on: (All money wagers are $55 to win $50 unless otherwise noted)
Wagering: Arkansas and SDSU to cover. Arizona, Carolina and Pittsburgh covering as favorites6.
Moneyline, Oakland over NY Jets ($50 to win $82.50). Total wagered: $325.
Near bets: Notre Dame (-6) over Pittsburgh, Detroit over Minneapolis, Cleveland over Miami.
Kryptonite7: Baltimore vs. St. Louis, Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay, San Francisco vs. Cincinnati, NE vs. Buffalo.
1. Eric McLean falls into this “category”.
2. Now in a 3-4, which has Mario Williams standing up. By far the biggest man to play a stand up linebacker in modern NFL history. If he can pull this off he, is hands down, one of the freakiest athletes in the history of the world.
3. AKA Done-ol-man McNabb.
4. I actually think Blaine Gabbert will be a legit QB. But his supporting cast leaves too much to be desired.
5. I don’t understand the fascination with hating Romo. His numbers in the fourth quarter are legit. He a top ten QB. Just because he has dated famous women and QBs “America’s team” are a pretty stupid reason to think he’s a bad QB.
6. *Bonus: now you will actually care about these three games.
7. Bet at your own peril.