The Weekly Gambling Debacle
NFL: 14-16-0 NCAA: 1-4-0 Last week: 10-9-0 Season total: 15-20-0
$ Wagered: 655 $ Won: 275.5 $ Lost: -365 $Net: -87.5
Had a much better run at it last week, 10-7 in the pros and 1-2 in the NCAA. If it weren’t for a terrible call in the Air Force-Navy game we could have been over .500 for the week in the NCAA as well. And I am still confused why Baylor didn’t cover against a lack luster Kansas State team. Either way, we are improving and have left plenty for more of it. Lost a little bit of money, but with this week’s overall improvements, the money is sure to follow.
The theme for this week’s betting is to always act early and decisively. The lines, due to different circumstances in different games, have moved drastically since they were released on Monday. If I were a serious gambler1 I would have laid a bunch of money on Monday. The wise guys have put a ton of money down and moved the lines into more precarious positions. The picks are based on these moved lines and, in fact, are now much more difficult to decipher easy winners from. But we are here to pick winners and that’s what I plan on doing!
NFL (Lines as of Friday, October 7, 2011 per Las Vegas Hilton. Home Team in bold).
Indianapolis (-2.5) over Kansas City
Two teams that have lost their best player and are feeling it. A game that not a lot of people are going to watch but may actually be a good bet. Indianapolis’ offense look slightly revived with Curtis Painter leading the team. Kansas City is a train wreck and I would be surprised if Charles Haley is around for Kansas City at the end of the year. KC only keeps games close in KC. This game is on turf in Indy; doesn’t look like the best match for KC and Indy should be able to cover by 3.
Minnesota (-2.5) over Arizona
It looks like Kevin Kolb isn’t going to save the Arizona Cardinals. They were a bad team before and getting a second tier QB isn’t going to change all that. A 1-3 start, with the only win coming against a rookie-led Panthers team doesn’t strike fear into the heart of bettors across the nation. Arizona on the road, a team that has lost at Washington and Seattle already scares me. Minneapolis finally gets it first win.
Philly (-3) over Buffalo
Buffalo is a nice story. Philly is a train wreck and desperate. I always like desperate. If Philly decides to actually use its corners and play man-to-man instead of wasting three pro bowlers in the black hole of zone coverage they should start writing the ship. A team this fast, this talented and this desperate needs a win.
Oakland (+6) over Houston
The Raiders’ ability to pound the ball should scare everyone in this league. They are a rough and angry team that prides themselves on pushing people around. This could be a bad matchup for the Texans. While they should be able to run the ball, losing Andre Johnson is a huge loss for their passing attack. The Raiders struggle in coverage and not having to play against Johnson allows them to focus more heavily on the run. Jason Campbell is the key to this game. If you watch the film Jason Campbell threw two horrendous picks2. Take those away and that New England game is much closer and Oakland might even cover. I might even think about the moneyline here…it’s tempting.
New Orleans (-6.5) over Carolina
I vowed last week to never bet against Nick Saban and Alabama. I am thinking about saying the same thing with Sean Payton and the Saints. Somehow, New Orleans always seems to be able to keep moving forward with wins against the spread. Last week I went into great detail about the schedules and how I believe New Orleans will be team with best record at the end of the season. New Orleans’ bend but not break defense and their opportunistic, turnover driven defense seems to be a perfect match for the high yardage, but high turnover offense of Cam Newton and the Panthers. New Orleans’ takes it by a touchdown.
Cincinnati (+2.5) over Jacksonville
Cincinnati is 2-2 and plays Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Seattle. How crazy would it be if the rookie led Cincinnati Bengals were 5-2 and led the AFC South almost half way through the season? The 8th week of the season’s matchup with the Tennessee Titans could be for first place in the AFC South. Cincy has covered the spread their first two games against the spread so far. It looks as though they may be missing Cedric Benson, but with Jacksonville starting a rookie QB who hasn’t looked that good so far I can see the Bengals taking the outright win here.
Tennessee (+3) over Pittsburgh
This line opened at +8. +8. I am not exactly sure what the wise guys in Vegas were thinking, but that line was outrageous. Pittsburgh O-line leaks like a sieve; Big Ben is more banged up than is usual for him and Tennessee is actually a really good team. That first week loss to Jacksonville looks like an anomaly now. They have now won three straight without a dominate performance for CJ 2000. One of these games he has to step up. Big Ben has a sprained foot, Harrison has a broken orbital and won’t play. Sounds like a perfect recipe to take Tennessee. If you bet the moneyline at +8, you could be in for a nice pay day.
NY Giants (-9.5) over Seattle
The last time Seattle came across the country to play a highly favored team, the Steelers smashed them into the ground and sent them home with a 24-0 defeat. The NY Giants have won three straight overall and against the spread. With those last two coming on the road, I can’t see the Giants coming home and struggling with the disaster that is Tavaris Jackson quarterbacking3. NYG big.
Tampa Bay (+3) over San Francisco
When this line came out this week, at San Fran -1, I was having a really hard time picking a winner. So I went back and did a little digging on the Niners first 4 games this season. Week 1: Gimme win against Seattle at home. Week 2: lost in OT to Cowboys, who in all fairness would have won the game much more handedly had Romo not been injured for half the game. Week 3: Win on the road against a rookie QB. Week 4: Solid come from behind victory against the now 1-3 Eagles. They’re 3 wins come against teams with a combined 3-9 record. So let’s slow the roll on the Niners being “back”. Harbaugh has revitalized a team that needed a fresh start after the Mike Singletary experiment. This week, I see a young and still hungry TB team stealing a victory from the over-hyped Niners.
What may help the Niners actually win the NFC West is the end of their schedule. Two weeks ago I talked about how St. Louis has the easiest final 8 games after being crushed by the daunting first half of their schedule. To finish the season the Niners go : Rams, @Cards, Steelers, @Seahawks and @Rams. If the Niners keep playing as well as they have on the road, this may be a very successful season for Jim Harbaugh. Bold Predictions #3: San Francisco will finish the season over .500.
NY Jets (+9) over New England
This rivalry looks like it may be a bit one-sided this season. New England has the #1 offense in the NFL. New York is looking old, their play calling is weak and they can’t get to the QB they way they have over the past two seasons. What’s a team that’s older, can’t run the ball and lacks defensive tenacity? It certainly shouldn’t be the Jets, but that’s exactly what they are. The only thing that keeps the game close is the passion Rex Ryan has for beating the New England Patriots. Jarod Mayo is out for an already horrendous New England defense. And like I said before; desperation is motivation. The Jets are desperate and I am not a big fan of any spreads over 7 points when NFL rivals are playing. There is too much passion and too many things can go wrong when players care this much.
San Diego (-4) over Denver
I am not sure why people have been bringing this spread down from 5.5 to 4. I’ll take 1.5 points everyday and twice on Sunday. Guess what? The game is on Sunday. San Diego’s offense is not that far behind the GB offense that just hung 49 on the Broncos. Go Bolts!
Green Bay (-6) over Atlanta
In a rematch from last year’s playoffs I can’t see how things go different than last year. Green Bay creates terrible matchup problems for all teams’ secondary but especially the weak back four that Atlanta puts out every Sunday. Opponents are completing 68% of the passes for 275 yards/game. Aaron Rodgers has a field day. Matt Ryan will try to keep it close but fails to keep an overachieving Falcon team from being under.500. This line would have been a steal had you bet it on Monday as -3.5, but I’d still take it as -6.
Detroit (-6) over Chicago
Detroit is the favorite feel good story this year and looks like they are set to go 5-0. Jay Cutler vs. the Lions’ defensive line gives me nothing but a solid feeling with this pick. Detroit at home, versus the Bears’ o-line and riding a wave of momentum covers -6.
NCAA (Lines as of Friday, October 7, 2011 per Las Vegas Hilton. Home Team in bold).
Oregon State (+2) over Arizona
Oregon State might be one of the worst teams in division I. They have lost to both Cal State Sacramento and UCLA at home. Arizona has played a brutal 4 game stretch; @Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon and @ Southern Cal. Even with the SEC teams considered I cannot find a more difficult stretch than this so far this season. Arizona is not a bad team; they have just been crushed by their schedule. They are still quarterbacked by Nick Foles, an NFL quality QB. Look for their offense to get on track in Corvallis. In spite of all this I still take Oregon State.
Nebraska (-11) over Ohio State
Ohio State’s season just keeps getting better4. They just lost a game at home where they only gave up 10 points. The Buckeyes have had three additional players suspended for this game and now have lost Verlon Reed for the year as well. Nebraska is going to be angry and looking to make a statement after getting thoroughly dominated in Wisconsin last week. Look for the Cornhuskers to roll on Saturday.
Picks to place money on: (All money wagers are $55 to win $50 unless otherwise noted)
*Just to clarify based on some questions that I have been asked:
-Wagering= Games I am telling you to put money onto/am betting myself.
-Near bets= Games that I was close to betting
-Kryptonite= Games I am terrified of and you could not force me to gamble on.
Wagering: Nebraska and Oregon State covering as favorites. Oakland, New Orleans and San Diego covering their spreads. I am also putting $50 down to have Tennessee win outright ($50 to win $77.5)
Near bets: NY Giants and NY Jets.
Kryptonite: Tampa Bay, Philly, Arizona.
1. Once I start making a little money, I will most likely become a serial gambler. Please check in with me at age 40.
2. When I saw these picks again I was amazed. I have no reason to believe that Jason Campbell owes anyone money or owes Bill Belichick a favor but shit those were the most confusing picks I’ve ever seen. The pick in the end zone was thrown to no one. There was literally no one in the field of vision for Campbell; I am starting to believe that Campbell might secretly owe someone a lot of money.
3. Tavaris Jackson quarterbacking is a literal and absolute disaster. The fact that he threw for over 300 yards last week was a bigger surprise than if Snooki was one day admitted to Harvard on an academic scholarship.
4. Complete and object sarcasm here. Ohio State is horrendous.