Posts by Jacob Kornhauser

Ballin’ on a Budget Week 6 Picks

Welcome back for another stress-filled week of NFL betting. There are a lot of lines to love this week, so let’s get right to it. We’re going to invest the right amount of money on each game this time, since our biggest problem this year has been putting big money on the wrong

Welcome back for another stress-filled week of NFL betting. There are a lot of lines to love this week, so let’s get right to it. We’re going to invest the right amount of money on each game this time, since our biggest problem this year has been putting big money on the wrong games even while picking at a 58 percent clip. Let’s get to it.

Panthers over Redskins (EVEN)

I get it. This is a trap game. Carolina is coming off a last-second win thanks to a 63-yard Graham Gano field goal and the Redskins are coming off a thumping on the road against the Saints on Monday Night Football. It’s in Washington. Trust me, I understand that all signs are pointing toward not betting on Carolina this week. Simply, I don’t care.

The Panthers are just the better football team and when you can get value like this, you take it. Carolina is a one-point road underdog, making them even money to win straight up. There are plenty of reasons not to like this, such as Washington being desperate and at home, but again, Cam Newton and Co. are starting to click and that makes this really good value. The bet: $3 for total payout of $6.

Seahawks -3 vs. Raiders (EVEN)

Here’s another good even money value. This game is being played in London, so it is likely to be a little quirky. Oakland hasn’t been able to muster a pass rush this year (Hmm, I wonder why), so Russell Wilson will have plenty of time to throw. Has the Seattle defense been as good as usual? No, but they’re good enough to contain an inconsistent Derek Carr for 60 minutes.

I’ve liked Seattle most weeks this year and they covered at home against the Rams last week. I think they keep rolling and grab a much-needed win against an inferior team, even if the game is being played across the pond. The bet: $3 for total payout of $6.

Ravens -3 at Titans (-110)

It feels as though I get screwed every time I pick against the Titans this season. They’re just a weird team. The defense is for real, but the offense can’t get out of its own way. Coming off a 13-12 loss to the Bills, they’re going to be hungry at home. Baltimore is going to be hungry too, coming off an overtime loss to the Browns.

To keep pace in the competitive AFC North, this is one Baltimore has to have and with the spread only being a three points, it provides us that much-needed cushion of getting a push if they win by a field goal. This feels like an over correction from odds makers in response to Baltimore’s loss to Cleveland last Sunday and it seems wise to hop on them the week after such a disappointing loss. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Patriots -3 vs. Chiefs (-120)

I absolutely love this pick. Kansas City traditionally starts out very strong and then tapers off toward the middle of the season. Especially with a rookie quarterback, even one as talented as Patrick Mahomes, they’re prone to that happening again. For the first time all season, the defense showed up against the Jaguars, so that’s reason to think K.C. may be more complete than originally thought, but it’s just tough to march into Foxborough and march out with a win.

Bill Belichick doesn’t have a stellar defense, but you better believe they’ll have some schemes in place to limit Mahomes’ effectiveness. This should be a close game. When big games are close in Foxborough, the Patriots are rarely on the losing side. Take this one to the bank. The bet: $10 for total of $18.33.

Jaguars-Cowboys OVER 40.5 points (-110)

This over/under is so low, it’s really hard not to take it. I’m relying on the Jaguars to continue their trend of having a good offensive showing every other week. Dallas has shown no signs of life on offense and against a tough Jaguars defense, they could be in for a long day. The biggest thing we’re relying on here is a big day from Jacksonville.

A score like 30-17 sounds about right and that would get us over by a touchdown. It could easily backfire and turn into the disaster that our OVER pick of the Browns’ 12-9 win over the Ravens became last week, but this is one worth taking our chances on. The bet: $2 for total payout of $3.80.

The parlay option: As usual, let’s dream about what we’ll make if all five games hit. This week, with a few EVEN money games being thrown into the mix, it would be a doozy. To be exact, we’d be betting $20 to win $534.40. Fingers crossed for us all. Happy Week 6, the week we shoot into the green.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 5 Results

I hate to say we resembled the Browns the last two weeks, but just like Cleveland’s season-long record, we have gone 2-2-1 over the past two Sundays. Houston really should have put us at 3-2 on the week, but they twice failed to score points from inside the one-yard line. As it happened,

I hate to say we resembled the Browns the last two weeks, but just like Cleveland’s season-long record, we have gone 2-2-1 over the past two Sundays. Houston really should have put us at 3-2 on the week, but they twice failed to score points from inside the one-yard line. As it happened, they won on a game-ending field goal to give us the push, but we could have finally been in the green if they’d been able to dial up any successful play call on several tries from the goal line.

We won’t get bitter, we’ll get better. We’ve only picked more losers than winners one week out of five this season, so that should be seen as a good sign of things to come. Here’s a recap from all the games we picked over the past week.

LOSS: Broncos to beat the Jets (-110): Jets 34, Broncos 16.

Wow, did Denver look bad in this game. After taking the Chiefs to the brink at home, the Broncos looked like a whole other team in the Meadowlands. Chalk it up to the short week or whatever you want, but there are very few excuses to allowing Sam Darnold and company to torch you all afternoon.

The Broncos are officially in a long list of teams that are now dangerous to bet either way, just because they’re too unpredictable. It was good value to get them at -1 headed into the week, but New York showed some fight and started our week on a sour note. The win: $0.

PUSH: Texans -3 vs. Cowboys (-110): Texans 19, Cowboys 16 (OT)

Like we mentioned off the top, if Houston was able to come away with ANY points on two drives that found them in goal-to-go situations from the one-yard line, we would have easily won this bet. We did catch a break with Jason Garrett deciding to punt on fourth and one in overtime on the Texans side of the 50.

That terrible decision allowed Houston to drive the length of the field and kick the game winning field goal to earn us the push. It certainly could’ve been better, but based on how overtime played out, it could have also been worse. Total win: $4.

LOSS: Browns-Ravens OVER 47 points: Browns 12, Ravens 9 (OT)

I’m at a loss for words. Wow, was this a brutal game. When you get five field goals in a game, you know you’re probably not hitting an over. When those five field goals are the ONLY POINTS OF THE GAME, you know you’re toast. Both these teams showed an ability to be explosive on offense in past weeks, which made you think they should both be well into the 20’s in this one.

However, neither offense could convert inside the red zone and that is the biggest killer of overs. Just imagine if a few field goals had turned into touchdowns. This would have been a lot closer. As it stands, we didn’t get halfway there, so we’ll try to block this one out of memory. The win: $0.

WIN: Jaguars-Chiefs UNDER 49 points: Chiefs 30, Jaguars 14.

Breathe a sigh of relief, because this was almost a terrible beat. The under seemed well in hand after we realized the Jaguars couldn’t move the ball offensively, but everything was almost ruined late. With Kansas City leading 30-14, the Jaguars marched the ball down the field on a meaningless drive in the closing minutes. Jacksonville got inside the red zone, but Blake Bortles threw an interception in the end zone to end it. The win: $7.60.

They had a couple legit shots at the end zone and had they been able to complete it, we would’ve lost this under by two garbage time points. We will thank the sports betting gods for now, while acknowledging that probably means we will be on the other side of this luck at some point later in the season.

WIN: Dolphins-Bengals UNDER 49.5 points: Bengals 27, Dolphins 17.

Betting the Bengals -3 wouldn’t have been a bad move in this game either, but the under hit, which is all that matters for us. A late Bengals touchdown made it closer than it actually was; this was pretty much in hand most of the game. Cincinnati didn’t set the world on fire with Joe Mixon back in the starting lineup, but they did enough while holding Miami in check.

So, we picked three over/unders this week and all of them went under. Luckily, we had two out of the three correct. Remember, life might be too short to take the under, but unders hit slightly more than half the time. The win: $7.60.

PIGGY BANK: $91.31 (-8.7% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 58%

Our ROI and pick percentage look to be at odds with one another. We’re approaching that magical 60 percent pick mark now, but we’ve been putting too much money on losing games. This coming week, we will put a large percentage on the games we’re most confident in, in an effort to finally get us solidly into the green. With us gaining more information on teams each week, we should get better as the season goes along. Keep an eye out for Week 6 picks coming in the next couple days.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 5 Picks

I’m confident. This is the week we climb into the green. Even while picking at a 55 percent clip, we’ve just been putting the bulk our money on the losing picks, even when we get 3 or 4 out of 5 picks right in a week. To combat this, we’re going to put

I’m confident. This is the week we climb into the green. Even while picking at a 55 percent clip, we’ve just been putting the bulk our money on the losing picks, even when we get 3 or 4 out of 5 picks right in a week. To combat this, we’re going to put the exact same amount of money on all five picks this week. That way, if we get 3 out of 5, we will make some money, as opposed to the last two weeks where that was the case and we actually lost a couple dollars.

There is lots to like this week and actually, the over/unders look more intriguing than most of the point spreads. We’ll take a deeper dive into why that is and what you can expect from Week 5.

Week 5 Picks

Broncos to beat the Jets (-110)

Denver will be playing the Jets on the road and are one-point favorites, so we might as well pick them straight up to get a little more value. The only place that will hurt us is we will lose the bet if there’s a tie. After nearly knocking off the Chiefs at home on Monday Night Football, not only will the Broncos be hungry, they will be desperate. Now at 2-2 and seeing Kansas City might not be slowing down anytime soon, the Broncos need this win more than the Jets do.

Imagine that Broncos pass rush against rookie Sam Darnold, who has struggled mightily lately. It’s just hard to imagine a world where Darnold makes the plays he needs to in order to win this game. Denver is playing on a short week, so it might not be pretty, but expect them to get the job done. Since we’re just betting them straight to win, that’s all they have to do for us to be in the money. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Texans -3 vs. Cowboys (-110)

Houston finally got its first win of the season last week thanks to iffy decisions from the Colts. When Indy could have punted in the closing minute of overtime to basically ensure a tie, they went for it on fourth and 4 and didn’t pick up the first down. The Texans then just had to drive 10-15 yards to get into field goal range, which they did and kicked the game winning field goal as time expired. Deshaun Watson is starting to get some of his playmaking ability back and it looks like Houston could finally hit its stride.

They’re at home, which helps a ton. Dak Prescott did have his first above average game in recent memory last Sunday, so we will see if his strong play continues. You shouldn’t rely on that happening, though, especially against a stout Texans defense. With Houston looking to build some momentum and climb back into the playoff picture, it’s safe to pick them as field goal favorites at home. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Ravens-Browns OVER 47 points (-110)

Let’s stop fooling ourselves into thinking these AFC North match ups are defensive showdowns anymore. The truth is, most of the defenses in the division stink. Cleveland actually probably has the best one of the bunch. The offenses are something to like, though, and that’s why I love this over. Cleveland has been involved in shootouts ever since Baker Mayfield took over and win or lose, they’re putting up points. This should be a competitive game and the only way we fall to the under is if this becomes a battle of field position in the first half.

With the way Cleveland’s been playing the last two weeks, expect this to be a competitive game. It’s not hard to imagine both teams climbing into the 20’s. It will all come down to these teams cashing in red zone trips with touchdowns instead of field goals. Both Baltimore and Cleveland rank in the top 10 (Baltimore fourth, Cleveland ninth) in touchdown percentage inside the red zone, which is a good indication the over has a great chance of hitting. Let’s hope for another shootout. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Jaguars-Chiefs UNDER 49 points (-110)

The Chiefs are coming off an emotional win on a short week. Jacksonville will now be the second tough defense in a row that Patrick Mahomes and Co. will have faced. He struggled early against Denver, but figured things out late. Can he do it against the best defense in the league? It’s going to be tough. By no means am I saying the Chiefs can’t win this game, but this might finally be their first low-scoring affair of the season.

Really, our biggest fear should be Blake Bortles having another stellar performance and putting up points for the Jags, but he’s been so up and down, it’s hard to say he will be effective. If the Jaguars get up early and the Chiefs are playing catch up, this thing is going to go over in a hurry. Under pretty much any other scenario, it’s likely we’ll see the under. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Dolphins-Bengals UNDER 49.5 (-110)

It seems like the Dolphins were exposed as frauds last week with their blowout loss against the Patriots. Cincinnati also seemed to cement itself as an AFC contender with a big come-from-behind win over the Falcons to improve to 3-1. With Joe Mixon potentially back in the fold, the Bengals’ offense will be that much more explosive. This should be a Bengals win, so we just need to hope they’re limited to around 30 points.

As long as they’re held around that mark and the Cincy defense applies pressure on Ryan Tannehill, it doesn’t seem likely Miami is going to be able to keep up. If running back Kenyan Drake is finally able to break out for the Dolphins, it could be a whole other story, but until we see that happen, we’re not going to bet on it. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

The parlay option: If you take your $20 and parlay all five of these picks today, you’re in for a big pay day if we go 5 for 5. If we go perfect on picks this week, it would be a total payout of $507.06. Let’s cross our fingers for that, huh?

Unlike past weeks, we will have a much closer eye on over/unders this week. It should be an interesting slate of games. We’ll check back in later in the week, hopefully to recap a perfect week, and our fourth winning week out of five this season.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 4 Results

It was another week of treading water here on this column. If it weren’t for an Eagles full-out meltdown, we’d be up on the day and the season. However, they collapsed down the stretch and as a result, we pretty much find ourselves where we were at this time last week: just about

It was another week of treading water here on this column. If it weren’t for an Eagles full-out meltdown, we’d be up on the day and the season. However, they collapsed down the stretch and as a result, we pretty much find ourselves where we were at this time last week: just about where we started. Overall, we went 2-2-1 on the week, but our biggest problem this year has been putting the majority of our money in the wrong places.

For example, we spent $3 of our $20 on the Bears -2.5 against the Buccaneers. They won 48-10. We spent $8 on the Eagles -3 against the Titans and they lost. If we flip those amounts, we’re well into the green on the day. So, going forward, the management of how much we spend on each game will be just as important as the game picks themselves. Let’s take a look at how this week shook out.

WIN: Bears -2.5 vs. Buccaneers (-110): Bears 48, Buccaneers 10.

Mitch Trubisky played like the best quarterback on planet earth in the first half of this blowout as Chicago’s receivers were wide open all day long. Trubisky struck for six touchdowns, five of them coming in the first half and this one was never really close. We knew that being at home would help the Bears and that FitzMagic was bound to come to an end at some point, but we didn’t expect it to be so dramatic.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was so affected by the Bears’ fearsome pass rush that Jameis Winston played in the second half, potentially earning his starting job back. Whatever way you slice it, this Bears defense is scary and if the offense is 70 percent as good as it was today for the rest of the season, other teams are in trouble. Total win: $5.70.

LOSS: Eagles -3 at Titans (-110): Titans 26, Eagles 23 (F/OT).

Our week hinged on this game and the Eagles really screwed us. At one point, Tennessee scored 17 unanswered points to help them force a 20-20 tie going into overtime. They actually held a 20-17 lead before the Eagles tied it with a field goal as time expired. Then, in overtime, the Eagles marched down the field and all seemed right with the world. Carson Wentz orchestrated the drive with ease and it looked like we might escape with our money. Not the case.

Instead, the Eagles drive stalled and they settled for a field goal. That meant the defense just had to get a stop to win the game. Marcus Mariota and Co. promptly converted three fourth downs on the drive, including one that came from a pass interference call and on third and goal with time winding down, Mariota found receiver Corey Davis in the end zone for the game winning touchdown. It was a crushing betting loss and you can blame the Eagles for why our week was average instead of good. Total win: $0.

PUSH: Seahawks -3 at Cardinals (-110): Seahawks 20, Cardinals 17.

This was a sloppy game and it reminds us why the Seahawks are a risky bet on the road. There’s just something about being away from Seattle that turns them into a different team. When they went up 17-10, it seemed like they would be a good bet to cover, but Arizona tied things up. We did get lucky when the Cardinals missed a go-ahead field goal near the two-minute warning.

Russell Wilson took the team down the field and it led to a game-winning field goal at the buzzer from Sebastian Janikowski. It stinks to not get the betting win here, but with the Cardinals poised to win with that late field goal, we will gladly take our money back on this push. Total win: $4.

WIN: Saints -3 at Giants (-110): Saints 33, Giants 18.

New Orleans started out slow, which was worrisome given the spread, but Drew Brees and the offense finally figured it out. They appeared ready to run away with it, only to let the Giants cut it back to an eight-point deficit at one point in the fourth quarter. However, the offense got humming and was able to score a dagger touchdown to extend the lead and lock up the betting win.

If you took the under in this game, you were really sweating it out. It was 51.5 and it ended at 51. It’s almost as if oddsmakers know what they’re doing or something. Total win: $5.70.

LOSS: Packers-Bills over 44.5 points: Packers 22, Bills 0.

Well, it sure is hard to hit the over when one team gets shut out. One might even say it’s impossible. The crappy Bills we all know and love came back today just in time to make our chances of the over lower than zero. Josh Allen looked horrendous and even while looking pretty average, Aaron Rodgers and the Packer offense did plenty to win.

It’s time to admit now that we may have overreacted to Buffalo’s random outburst against the Vikings, but we even acknowledged that before making this bet. Green Bay’s defense isn’t that good, so it was reasonable to think Buffalo might be able to get something going, but they never did. This is now the second week in a row a game involving the Packers was one of our misses. We might have to avoid them to set our minds at ease in the coming week. Total win: $0.

PIGGY BANK: $72.11 (-9.8% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 55%

As you can see, we’re picking at a 55 percent clip this season, but have still lost a few dollars. This just goes to show you how the decision on how much money to spend on each game matters as much as the games you pick. Let’s get it in Week 5 and stop treading water like we have over the last couple weeks.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 4 Picks

Time to build some momentum fellow NFL bettors. In Weeks 1 & 3 combined, we have gone 7 for 10 in our picks. It’s just that fickle Week 2 that’s been keeping us from the money. No matter, Week 4 is when we get out of our rut. More importantly, it’s where we

Time to build some momentum fellow NFL bettors. In Weeks 1 & 3 combined, we have gone 7 for 10 in our picks. It’s just that fickle Week 2 that’s been keeping us from the money. No matter, Week 4 is when we get out of our rut. More importantly, it’s where we get into the green. For the second straight week, we’re going with four picks against the spread and one over/under pick. That worked pretty well for us last week with a 60% pick rate, so let’s keep it going.

Week 4 Picks

Bears -2.5 vs. Buccaneers (-110)

At least for now, the Bears are the leaders of the NFC North and they’re a dropped interception away from being 3-0. They struggled in the first half against the Cardinals on the road, but this defense is legit. It shut out the Cardinals in the second half and gave Mitch Trubisky and Co. a chance to win. Chicago is back at home where it looked great against the Seahawks in Week 2.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been on another planet for Tampa this season, but he also hasn’t faced the type of pass rush the Bears are going to throw at him. This seems like the perfect week for his run of three straight 400-yard passing games to end, especially since the Bucs don’t have a running game that will be able to do much against Chicago’s front 7. The Bears know they have a more difficult schedule coming up and grabbing a win over Tampa before they hit that stretch is wildly important. Only having to win by a field goal, the Bears seem like a good bet to pull this one out at home. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Eagles -3 at Titans (-110)

Our biggest lock of the week last week ended up being one of our only two losses, but this seems like a pretty safe bet. Philly got Carson Wentz back into the flow of things in a close 20-16 win against the Colts over the weekend and this should be the week he takes that next big step in his return from a torn ACL. Yes, the Titans completely shut down the Jaguars in a boring 9-6 win Sunday, but that Jacksonville offense had an unusually good game against the Patriots. That shouldn’t be treated as their standard.

Philly struggled on the road against the Bucs in Week 2 and this game should be relatively close, but the Eagles are getting healthy at the right time and appear on the verge of finally breaking out after a few uninspired performances early in the season. Remember that even in victory, Tennessee only scored nine points last week. If you’re asking me to choose between Carson Wentz and a combination of Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert, I’m taking Wentz every single time. The bet: $8 for total payout of $15.20.

Seahawks -3 at Cardinals (-110)

Seattle woke up, as we expected, against the Cowboys and that might give them some momentum heading into Week 4. There are a couple factors that make it a risky bet, but there is also reason to take those risks. As we’ve noted in this column before, Seattle is a much worse road team than they are a home team. Plus, Arizona is starting Josh Rosen and betting against a QB making his first career start is risky. You just don’t know what you’re going to get.

However, Seattle’s defense stepped up big time against Dallas and there’s reason to believe they’ll apply enough pressure to make Rosen uncomfortable on Sunday. The offense is getting healthy again for the Seahawks and this could really help put them in the wild card discussion in the NFC. Arizona is hungry for its first win after blowing a 14-0 lead against the Bears, but this just doesn’t seem like the week it’s going to happen. This should be a close game and with the line at -3, it provides you the flexibility to push instead of lose if the Seahawks win by a field goal. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Saints -3 at Giants (-110)

New Orleans’ big overtime win against the Falcons felt like a statement. They have been inconsistent through three weeks, but that win seemed like one that will get them on the track they’ve been trying to get on. New York blew out the Texans in their own right, but with the Texans now 0-3, how much does that really mean? These have been the most variable teams from week to week, but I trust the Saints’ offense much more than the Giants.

The Drew Brees to Michael Thomas connection is becoming ridiculous and I don’t expect it to slow down against a suspect Giants secondary. I feel more than comfortable giving those three points with the way the Saints offense is starting to hum. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Bills-Packers over 44.5 (-110)

Buffalo is coming off the biggest upset (based on point spread) in the NFL in 23 years. Do they have what it takes to knock off Aaron Rodgers and the struggling Packers? Probably not, but I do know this game should feature plenty of points. After the Packers gave up 31 points to the previously anemic Redskins offense, there’s no telling what the Bills, now led by Josh Allen, can do.

This could create a perfect scenario if the Green Bay defense gives up some early points and Rodgers and Co. get to go to work. A game in the 30-20 range seems perfectly possible and that would get us the over. Let’s hope for some Green Bay defensive lapses early and some Rodgers magic down the stretch. The bet: $2 for total payout of $3.80.

No bonus picks this week; there aren’t really enough bets I’m in love with for Week 4. Everything above are the best bets you can find based on the last couple weeks. Of course, as we’ve seen in the past few weeks, sometimes the most previous performance does not indicate future performance. However, that’s what we have to go on and we’re sticking with it. Here’s to being in the green by next Sunday night.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 3 Results

I’ll have whatever the NFL was having this weekend. We mostly survived the weirdness of the Packers and Vikings both being dominated by seemingly inferior teams as well as the Saints and Falcons playing first to 100. As a whole, we went 3 for 5 this week. If you put equal money on

I’ll have whatever the NFL was having this weekend. We mostly survived the weirdness of the Packers and Vikings both being dominated by seemingly inferior teams as well as the Saints and Falcons playing first to 100. As a whole, we went 3 for 5 this week. If you put equal money on all our picks, you’d have made a little bit of dough. We did put a little more stock in the Chiefs-49ers under, which went over, making us only slight winners on the weekend. But hey, after last week’s brutality, we’ll take it.

Ballin’ on a Budget Week 3 Results

LOSS: Packers -3.5 over Redskins (-110): Redskins 31, Packers 17.

I think it’s pretty clear for us to see that Aaron Rodgers, is in fact, significantly injured. The Redskins defense, which had already been pretty solid this season, gave Rodgers and Green Bay fits all day. We also didn’t anticipate Adrian Peterson having a throwback game, where he carries the workload and finds the end zone twice.

Until Aaron Rodgers is fully healthy or they sit him down for a few weeks, I would stay away from betting on any games involving the Packers. The extent of Rodgers’ injury and in what ways it is limiting him is just too uncertain. Total win: $0.

WIN: Bills +17.5 over Vikings (-115): Bills 27, Vikings 6.

Now, if only we had bet the Bills money line in this game. This was the biggest upset in the NFL in the last 23 years based on point spread. I won’t pretend for a minute that I thought Buffalo would win this game, especially without LeSean McCoy, but I will take credit for telling you to bet on any NFL team that is a three-score underdog. Points are at such a premium in the NFL compared to college football, that asking a team to cover three scores should be relatively easy.

This bet was over before halftime as the Bills randomly jumped out to a 24-0 lead and it was clear we were making money. I don’t know if you want to call this an aberration or what, but let it be a reminder to you that double-digit underdogs are usually a good bet with the spread when it comes to the NFL. Total win: $5.61.

LOSS: Chiefs-49ers UNDER 57 points (-110): Chiefs 38, 49ers 27.

We hypothesized that San Francisco might be able to have more success stopping Patrick Mahomes since they had more film on him. That was not the case. Mahomes continued his electric start to his career by throwing for 314 yards and three touchdowns. At least for now, this kid seems like the real deal and we didn’t give him enough credit. Total win: $0.

The flow of the game played a big factor in this game being a fairly easy over hit. Kansas City went up big, putting them into bend-don’t-break defense, which allowed San Francisco to put more points on the board. It was the perfect storm adding up to us losing on this under.

WIN: Panthers -3 over Bengals (EVEN): Panthers 31, Bengals 21.

With Carolina being at home and the Bengals having not won three straight games in three seasons, we felt pretty good about this one going in. While it did get a little close for comfort at points in the second half, Cam Newton and Co. were in control for most of the game. Playing at home, they were able to nab the 10-point win and easily cover the three-point spread.

The really great thing about this game is that it pays out even money, something relatively rare for a point spread, meaning oddsmakers were leaning slightly toward the Bengals to cover three points. It was good we trusted our instincts on this one with a team coming off a tough loss, returning home to play a team that has traditionally been very inconsistent. It ended up paying off in a big way. Total win: $10.

WIN: Seahawks -1.5 over Cowboys (-110): Seahawks 24, Cowboys 13.

This was another case of us trusting our gut and the eye test and like the Panthers-Bengals game, it paid off. Seattle needed a win to keep hope alive on the playoff hunt. The Rams are going to run away with this division, which leaves Seattle to compete with teams outside the division, especially now that the 49ers are without QB Jimmy Garoppolo, for one of the NFC’s two wild card spots.

Playing in Seattle, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks just seem to be a different team. Even coming off a relatively unimpressive win over the Giants on Sunday Night Football, there was no reason to believe Dallas would march into Seattle and take care of business in a tough road environment. The Seahawks dominated from start to finish and we got our check. Total win: $5.73.

BONUS PICKS: Our bonus picks went 1 for 2 this week with us taking the over 39.5 in the Browns-Jets game that ended at 38 and us taking the Colts +6 against the Eagles in a game they lost by just four.

PIGGY BANK: $56.71 (-5.5% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 53.3%

Week 3 helped us inch closer to the green after Week 2 decimated us and just about every other NFL bettor. We will look for more “gut feeling” picks like we did with the Panthers and Seahawks in the week ahead and see if it pays off. Look for Week 4 picks coming in a column later this week.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 3 Picks

After a week that saw us get brutalized as much as the rest of the NFL betting population last week, NFL’s Week 3 provides an opportunity for us to get back on track. To recap how bad last week was for everybody: the 10 most popular team picks in the Vegas Super

After a week that saw us get brutalized as much as the rest of the NFL betting population last week, NFL’s Week 3 provides an opportunity for us to get back on track. To recap how bad last week was for everybody: the 10 most popular team picks in the Vegas Super Contest went a total of 2-8. Pretty much no one had a good week. However, there is plenty to like this week, at least on paper.

As always, remember that we’re ballin’ on a budget, so we have $20 to spend and we’re hoping to spend it wisely on five more games this week. We’re chasing our losses from last week, but that won’t be the case for long. This week, instead of going with three spreads and two over/unders, we’re going with four spreads and just one over/under. Without further adieu, away we go …

Ballin’ on a budget week 3 picks

Packers -3.5 over Redskins (EVEN)

That extra half point is a fickle beast and I debated including this pick in the Week 3 column for that exact reason. With this game being in Washington, there are plenty of scenarios we could see play out where the Packers win by a single field goal and we lose this bet. However, after a frustrating game against the Vikings that they should have won, the Packers should be out for blood in their first road game of the year.

Aaron Rodgers may be on one leg, but he’s better than nearly every other quarterback in the league even with that being the case. Washington showed against the Colts that they are potentially inept on offense without any go-to playmakers. Alex Smith isn’t likely to turn the ball over, but the offense is also more likely to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns, which is reason enough to take Green Bay even money at -3.5 instead of -3. The bet: $3 for total payout of $6.

Bills +17.5 over Vikings (-115)

Don’t get me wrong, the Vikings will win this game handily, but 17.5 points in the NFL is a ton. You’re telling me Minnesota has to win by at least three scores to cover the spread. Is that possible? Of course. Is it likely? I don’t think so. Buffalo gets to play indoors and on turf and while they’re facing one of the best defenses in the league, they should be able to move the ball enough, if LeSean McCoy is healthy, to stay within 17 points.

At this point, it appears the Bills and Cardinals are the two worst teams in the league. Most would probably rank the Vikings as one of the best. On any given Sunday, though, I’m not giving the best team in football 17.5 points on the worst team in football. Minnesota could cover, but this line seems like an overreaction to the Bills’ comically bad start. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.61.

Seahawks -1.5 over Cowboys (-110)

This is a real test for Seattle and it might define the rest of Pete Carroll’s tenure with the Seahawks. They sit at 0-2 after losing to two average teams in the Broncos and Bears. Both those games were on the road, though, and they finally get some home cooking in Week 3. This is a huge deal as Seattle traditionally has been an elite home team and an average road team. Over the last four seasons, the Seahawks are a combined 23-9 at home and 18-15-1 on the road.

Dallas is riding high off a 20-13 win over the Giants, whose offensive line looked terrible on Sunday Night Football. Nothing happened in that game to convince me that Dak Prescott is any better than an average quarterback, so he’s not single-handedly going to torch Seattle. Ezekiel Elliott might. The Seahawks’ biggest problem is they don’t have the number of playmakers on that defense that they used to and the offense is banged up. In the end, this game is do or die for Seattle. While they may not make the playoffs this season, they will keep some hope alive by turning away the visiting Cowboys Sunday. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.73.

Panthers -3 over Bengals (EVEN)

With this bet being even money, there’s great value here. Carolina is back at home and in the last few years, we haven’t really seen the Bengals sustain any type of success. Cincinnati has not won three games in a row since it won its first eight games of the 2015 season. We know they will be without starting running back, Joe Mixon, which is a huge deal. Giovanni Bernard is a great pass catcher out of the backfield, but he’s simply not the same playmaker, every-down back Mixon is.

Carolina showed flashes on offense against the Falcons and being back in a comfortable home environment should help them. They know the NFC South is going to be as tough as always to win and a victory at home this week is vital. Getting that field goal advantage on the line is great, because it allows you some breathing room to earn a push if they do win by just three. The bet: $5 for total payout of $10.

49ers vs. Chiefs UNDER 57 points

You might look at this and scratch your head as the Chiefs just played in a game against the Steelers that reached 79 total points last week. Meanwhile, the 49ers reached a total of exactly 57 in their 30-27 win over the Lions on Sunday. San Francisco’s defense is nothing to write home about, but they have an extra week of film on rookie QB Patrick Mahomes that may take him down a notch. Kansas City’s defense is also pretty stout; they gave up a ton of points to the Steelers, because Pittsburgh was playing catch up and K.C. was playing bend-don’t-break defense.

You’d expect this game to be close, although through two games, I’m still not sure how good either of these two teams is. The Chiefs are at home, so you probably give them the nod in the game, but this has the feel of a 24-17 game, which leaves us 16 points beneath the under with plenty of wiggle room in case the game is a little more offensive than anticipated. This looks like the biggest lock of the week. The bet: $6 for total payout of $11.45.

Bonus picks: A couple other picks I like this week, but am not confident enough in to officially include in the column are: Colts +6.5 at Eagles (-110) and Jets-Browns over 39.5 (-110). Indy has looked good through two games and are visiting an Eagles team coming off a road loss to the Buccaneers. Carson Wentz is back under center for Philly, but how effective will he be? That’s a legitimate question mark and enough to make you consider taking the Colts as almost a touchdown dog. If that line moves up to +7 jump all over it.

In the Jets-Browns game, there’s plenty of reason not to bet. Reason No. 1 would be that you have to watch the game. After that, though, there’s actually plenty of reason to bet this over. Let’s say we anticipate a close game: 23-20 or 27-20 is entirely within the realm of possibility. Each of those types of scores would get us our over. We do run the risk that one of these offenses lays a complete egg, but with an over/under so low, it’s hard to resist taking the over. Plus, that will give you something to root for in an otherwise forgettable Thursday Night game.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 2 Results

The law of averages caught up with us this week, folks. After a stellar start to the year, with a 4-for-5 Week 1, we suffered a setback going 1-for-5 in Week 2. There are a variety of explanations for why we lost in some cases and for some games, we’re still searching for

The law of averages caught up with us this week, folks. After a stellar start to the year, with a 4-for-5 Week 1, we suffered a setback going 1-for-5 in Week 2. There are a variety of explanations for why we lost in some cases and for some games, we’re still searching for answers. Let’s recap this hellacious week of NFL betting.

LOSS: Eagles -3 over Buccaneers (-110): Bucs 27, Eagles 21. We said that there was no way Ryan Fitzpatrick was going to duplicate his Week 1 performance against the Eagles, but we were very wrong. He threw for four more touchdowns and made the Philly defense look silly at times. We also couldn’t catch a break with the Eagles suffering a few injuries on the offensive side of the ball including feature back, Jay Ajayi. The Eagles never quite got into a rhythm until late and by that point, there was no way they were covering the three points we needed them to. Total win: $0.

LOSS: Patriots -2 over Jaguars (-110): Jaguars 31, Patriots 20. Please raise your hand if you said that Blake Bortles would outperform Tom Brady this week. Nobody should be raising their hand. There was no reason to believe Bortles was going to have the monster day that he did, throwing for nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns. It turns out the New England defense just isn’t very good and that Patriots offense is going to have to win some shootouts this year to be as dominant as it normally is. Facing a defense like Jacksonville, a recipe for disaster was created when Bortles hit his stride and had a career day. Total win: $0.

LOSS: Patriots-Jaguars UNDER 45 (-110): Jaguars 31, Patriots 20. Of course, piggy backing off of that, Bortles’ huge day also screwed our under bet. We were relying on the Patriots to win a low-scoring game. The fact they lost a relatively high scoring game flipped this from an under to an over. As it is, Just one touchdown separated us from the under; Jacksonville could have won 24-20 and we would have gotten the win. Again, though, Bortles’ big day was too much for us to overcome as the teams eclipsed the over/under by a single score. Total win: $0.

WIN: Panthers-Falcons OVER 44 (-110): Falcons 31, Panthers 24. Finally, something we got right! This one played out just about how we figured it would. Inside with each offense able to run wild, the second half turned into a shootout. The fact Atlanta took a two-score lead in the second half really helped, because then Cam Newton and the Carolina offense were forced into taking more chances. The comeback attempt came up just short as they tried to send the game into overtime, but it didn’t really matter for us, the over hits easily by two scores. Total win: $7.64.

LOSS: Giants +3 over Cowboys (-110): Cowboys 20, Giants 13. The final score would indicate a close game between these two NFC East rivals, but this one was never really in doubt. Dallas dominated from start to finish while New York scored a late touchdown. We knew neither of these teams was much good, but the offensive line play in front of Eli Manning was absolutely putrid. He’s regressing all by himself, he doesn’t need the help of the offensive line to speed up that process. Dallas really didn’t look all that great, but they controlled the tempo of the game and Manning was never able to get on the same page with Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Sheppard and Co. After they barely missed covering against the Jaguars in Week 1, New York really missed the mark this week. Total win: $0.

WIN (BONUS BET): Colts-Redskins UNDER 45.5: Colts 21, Redskins 9. We didn’t include this in our $20 set of games to bet, but we did mention this as a bonus bet to make if you didn’t like one of the other ones. Hopefully you took that advice. Washington couldn’t muster much of anything offensively and as we know, field goals don’t win overs. Indy was content to milk the clock for most of the second half and that worked to our advantage. We won’t count this toward our overall season pot, but we’re hoping you took this game to make up for what was otherwise a really crappy week.

PIGGY BANK: $35.37 (-11.6% return on investment)

OVERALL PICK PERCENTAGE: 50%

We will go back to the drawing board and make sure we get ourselves back into the green. There will be a lot of kinks to work out in the first couple weeks, so hopefully we hit our groove headed into the stretch run of the season. Keep an eye out for our Week 3 picks coming out later this week.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 2

Week 1 results:

 

WIN: Jaguars -3 over Giants (-110): Jaguars 20, Giants 15. This game was worrisome for a while as the rain continued to come down in the Meadowlands. It seemed like that might be the great equalizer, but

Week 1 results:

 

WIN: Jaguars -3 over Giants (-110): Jaguars 20, Giants 15. This game was worrisome for a while as the rain continued to come down in the Meadowlands. It seemed like that might be the great equalizer, but as expected, the more talented team pulled away near the end of the game. Saquon Barkley was held in check until he sprung a huge touchdown run in the second half. Luckily, the vaunted Jaguars defense came up in big spots where they needed to and got us a big win. Total win: $9.55.

 

WIN: Patriots -6.5 over Texans (-110): Patriots 27, Texans 20. Phew! The Patriots seemed to have this game in hand for most of the second half, but Deshaun Watson and the Texans made a push in the fourth quarter. They got the ball back with time left and a chance to tie things up, but luckily, they weren’t able to do that. It’s hard to bet against the Patriots when they’re a less than touchdown favorite in the regular season at home and they showed why against a good Texans team on Sunday. Total win: $9.55.

 

WIN: Rams -3 over Raiders (-110): Rams 33, Raiders 13. If you bet this at -3, which is what this game was at when last week’s column came out, good for you. It moved all the way to -6.5 by kick off, meaning L.A. needed to win by a touchdown to win you money. It ended up not mattering as they outscored the Raiders 23-0 in the second half, but they trailed at the half, which caused blood pressure to rise a little bit. Again, though, especially if you got the Rams at -3, take the more talented team even if they’re on the road. That talent will win out nine times out of 10, just like the Rams showed in the second half. Total win: $5.73.

 

LOSS: Bengals at Colts UNDER 46.5 (-165): Bengals 34, Colts 23. The over hit by 11 points, but it was close until the end. When Cincinnati scooped up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown in the closing seconds, it moved the point total from 50 to 57. Either way, we underestimated how good Andrew Luck would be in his return to the football field and that’s where this bet went wrong. With Joe Mixon looking like a star in the making, the Bengals were able to match Indy offensively and that made conditions ripe for the over to hit. Total win: $0.

 

WIN: Rams at Raiders UNDER 49.5 (+145): Rams 33, Raiders 13. This one got close, but essentially played out exactly how we thought it would. If you remember, our only worry was that the Raiders would keep it close enough to push this over. However, the Rams buckled down and shut out Oakland in the second half. It makes us wish we had bet more than our $2 out of our $20 to spend on this game, because it provided the best value at +145 odds. Total win: $2.90.

 

PIGGY BANK: $27.73 (39% return on investment)

 

OVERALL PICK PERCENTAGE: 80%

 

After a great Week 1, let’s get right into Week 2 picks. This is the best time to take advantage of overreactions from oddsmakers and other bettors and find solid value picks. Based on Week 1 performances, some teams will be over or underrated and it’s our job to figure out who those teams are and who is going to find a way to cover in the week ahead.

You can find all point spreads on our website, by clicking right here. 

Just like last week, we’re going to go with three point spread picks to go along with two over/under picks. This is not a rule of thumb, it’s simply how things have worked out over the first two weeks. We’ll start with the point spread picks. Remember, we only have $20 to spend.

 

Eagles -3 at Buccaneers (-110)

 

This looks like the safest bet on the board. Yes, the Buccaneers surprised everybody by beating the Saints 48-40 in New Orleans, but don’t expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to be a world beater again. He’ll be playing a competent defense this time around. Tampa does get the game at home, but unless they control the clock, which is unlikely given their questionable running back situation, they’re in big trouble.

 

Especially with the Eagles looking to move to 2-0 before QB Carson Wentz returns from injury, there will be a sense of urgency. That should lead to a worst-case scenario of a push, with a game decided by 7-14 points much more likely.

 

The bet: $7.50 for total payout of $14.31.

 

Patriots -2 at Jaguars (-110)

 

Here’s another road favorite pick and it’s a little bit riskier given how good the Jacksonville defense is. As great as he still is, Tom Brady can’t escape the pocket when hurried, so he could be in for a long day if that Jaguars front seven is humming. Still, it’s hard to pick against the Patriots in almost any regular season game when all they have to do is win by a field goal.

 

Especially with Leonard Fournette potentially out with a hamstring injury, the Patriots offense boasts far more weapons than that of the Jaguars and even playing on the road, Tommy Terrific and Co. should take care of business.

 

The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.73.

 

Giants +3 at Cowboys (-110)

 

Finally, we have a road underdog for you. There’s a very real possibility the Giants win this game outright, so if you believe in them to do so and want a higher payout, bet the money line, which should be sitting around +125 instead of taking the three points and sitting at -110. The bottom line is that Dak Prescott is a fraud, which means Ezekiel Elliott is going to be facing a whole lot of eight-man fronts.

 

The Giants have the defensive pieces to hold Dallas’ offense under control and New York generally plays well on primetime, where they’ll be on Sunday Night Football. This is a divisional game and it’s easy to imagine it being decided by a field goal either way. That means if you bet the point spread, the worst you could do is a push.

 

The bet: $2.50 for total payout of $4.77.

 

Panthers at Falcons OVER 44 points

 

It’s easy to look at the Panthers’ 16-8 win over the Cowboys last weekend and assume this is an easy under pick. However, consider the fact that Carolina will be playing on turf, where Cam Newton can get out and run more. Also consider that Atlanta should be able to iron out some of the kinks they showed against the Eagles in Week 1. One point of emphasis: get Julio Jones the ball in the red zone. Matt Ryan has been terrible at it for the last year plus.

 

If Ryan looks like he did against the Eagles in Week 1, these teams won’t approach 44 points. However, there’s every reason to believe he’s in for a bounceback game at home against a potential playoff opponent. In addition, Atlanta’s defense is banged up, with a couple players potentially having to sit out of this game. Neither of these teams likes to drain the clock, so let’s watch the points rack up and hope for the over to hit.

 

The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.64.

 

Patriots at Jaguars UNDER 45 points

 

Just like last week, when we took the Rams -3 and the UNDER 49.5 (we won both bets), this week presents a challenge with the Patriots -2 and the UNDER looking enticing. Rooting for a point spread as well as an over/under in the same game can be tricky, so if you don’t want that complication in your betting interest this weekend, feel free to find something else you like.

 

However, there is value in this under pick. With Fournette potentially out, the Jaguars lose their biggest weapon on offense. They showed in last year’s AFC Championship Game that they have the firepower defensively to at least contain Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense. This game will be played in Jacksonville, which should provide the defense even more of an edge. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the Patriots win a 20-13 type game this early in the season. All that combines for the 45-point over/under to look like it should lean heavily toward UNDER.

 

The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.73.

 

As we mentioned last week, you do have the option to parlay all five of these games together. Do remember that if you do this, ALL 5 of the picks have to hit in order for you to win. However, your reward for taking the risk is a massive pay day.

 

The parlay option: $20 for total payout of $507.06.

Bonus tip: It’s going to be raining in Washington D.C. all week and possibly into Sunday, because of the Hurricane that is projected to hit the East Coast on Friday. This will likely make for wet and sloppy field conditions at FedEx Field as the Redskins host the Colts. The over/under for point total in 45.5 in that game. Monitor weather conditions and consider the under as an alternate bet to one of the picks above. Always factor weather into your football betting decisions. It won’t necessarily make or break the outcome, but in a situation like last year where the Bills and Colts played in a foot of snow, betting the under early would’ve been like printing money as the game finished 13-7 in overtime.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Ballin’ on a Budget NFL Betting Week 1

We can’t all be out here tossing around millions of dollars on random sporting events like Floyd Mayweather. Most of us gambling folk are small-time bettors just looking to make the game a little more interesting with a couple bets on the NFL. That’s where we come in. Let’s say you have $20

We can’t all be out here tossing around millions of dollars on random sporting events like Floyd Mayweather. Most of us gambling folk are small-time bettors just looking to make the game a little more interesting with a couple bets on the NFL. That’s where we come in. Let’s say you have $20 to bet on NFL games every Sunday (am I being a little too generous? C’mon, just play along). We will break down here where you should spend that $20 and how to maximize your return. Throughout the season, we will keep track of our money earned in a piggy bank. Hopefully, we’re in the green all season long.

 

Okay, without further adieu, here is how to spend your hard-earned Andrew Jackson in Week 1:

 

*All game lines are based on the William Hill Sports Book in Nevada.

 

Let’s start with picking games themselves. There are three games that caught my eye in Week 1, all of them favorites with the point spread.

 

Jaguars -3 over Giants (-110)

 

This game is in the Meadowlands, but Jacksonville being just a field goal favorite is too good to pass up. Most of the money on this game is going on the Giants, who have new star running back Saquon Barkley. Perhaps people have forgotten the Jaguars have the most fearsome defense in football. The secondary isn’t going to allow an aging Eli Manning to get anything over on them, meaning the Jags can stack eight in the box against Barkley.

 

Coming off a trip to the AFC Championship Game last season, the Jaguars didn’t lose any key pieces. New York is marginally better than they were a year ago and has home field advantage, but it would still be surprising if Jacksonville didn’t cover the spread.

 

The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.55.

 

Patriots -6.5 over Texans (-110)

 

It’s hard to bet against the Patriots, especially when they’re coming off a crushing Super Bowl loss and opening the season at home. Houston QB Deshaun Watson certainly looked like a superstar when he was healthy last year, but there’s no telling how he’ll look in his first game action after returning from a torn ACL. The fact the line is 6.5 is enticing, because it means New England can cover by simply winning by a touchdown.

 

With Tom Brady as hungry as ever to add another trophy to his collection, the season will start off right and New England will make a statement Week 1 against a Texans team that figures to challenge for a Wild Card spot.

 

The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.55.

 

Rams -3 over Raiders (-110)

 

L.A. led by Todd Gurley is a hot pick to win the NFC this season. They certainly showed last year they have some of the pieces to do it. Add to that weapons like WR Brandin Cooks and QB Jared Goff could be in for a breakout campaign. DT Ndamukong Suh also gets added to the defensive front that with a healthy Aaron Donald should feature the best defensive line in football.

 

Oakland is a tough place to play, especially since the fans are even more passionate given their team is leaving town soon. However, with head coach Jon Gruden being out of coaching for so long, there’s no telling how the Raiders are going to come out of the gates. Most likely, they will need to work out some kinks and against a team like the Rams, they’re not going to be able to do that on the fly. Expect L.A. to cover their field goal spread and come out with a relatively pressure free Week 1 win.

 

The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.73.

 

Now, we’re going to move on to point spreads. Everyone likes to say “Life’s too short to bet the under,” and while it’s true rooting for the over is more fun, the under actually hits more than half the time. This week, there are two unders worth considering spending your money on.

 

Bengals at Colts UNDER 46.5 (-165)

 

We haven’t seen Andrew Luck throw a football in a regular season game in well over a year and the Bengals are, well the Bengals. RB Joe Mixon is primed for a breakout season, but QB Andy Dalton has regressed over the last couple seasons and there’s no reason to believe he’s going to torch the Indy secondary.

 

With the line on this game set at Colts -3 and the over/under at 46.5, this means Vegas thinks the final score will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 24-21 in favor of Indianapolis. This just feels like a game where the offenses move pretty well, but stall out and are forced to kick field goals. Those field goals are your best friend when you bet the under and they should help you with this UNDER bet.

 

The bet: $5 for total payout of $8.03.

 

Rams at Raiders UNDER 49.5 (+145)

 

This under is a little riskier, because the Rams have the ability to put points up in bunches, but that’s why you get the nice +145 value on it. Certainly, the Rams could go off and threaten to push the point spread over, but if they’re holding the Raiders in check, there’s still no need to worry.

 

Based on the Rams being three-point favorites and the over/under being 49.5, Vegas thinks this game will finish in the neighborhood of 26-23, Rams. With two solid defenses and with offenses trying to get up to speed, it’s more likely at least one team stays in the teens. That gives you more wiggle room, especially knowing Gruden is going to want to grind the clock with the running game if he can.

 

The bet: $2 for total payout of $2.90.

 

The parlay option: while it’s normally not the best idea to parlay more than a couple games, if you decide to parlay all five of these picks with your $20, here is what your payout would look like:

 

$20 on:

 

Jaguars -3 over Giants (-110)

Patriots -6.5 over Texans (-110)

Rams -3 over Raiders (-110)

Bengals at Colts UNDER 46.5 (-165)

Rams at Raiders UNDER 49.5 (+145)

 

The bet: $20 for total payout of $547.47.

 

Ballin’ on a Budget Piggy Bank: $0

 

Let’s hope we can add to that piggy bank after Week 1 and keep you filling up your own piggy bank all season long. Best of luck on your first week of bets; go make that $20 count!

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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NFL Win Totals Best Bets With Research

There is no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to sports gambling. After sorting through a decade of U/O win data, though, we have a few that are as close as you’ll get. First, it’s important to point out that the biggest choice you face for the 2018 NFL season isn’t

There is no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to sports gambling. After sorting through a decade of U/O win data, though, we have a few that are as close as you’ll get. First, it’s important to point out that the biggest choice you face for the 2018 NFL season isn’t what to bet, it’s which to bet.

By that, we mean to say that identifying the few teams you think are most likely to either go over or under their win projection is the most efficient way to go. Don’t bet on every single team. If you try to guess the U/O on all 32 NFL teams this season, you’d be lucky to break even.

However, if you educate yourself on the select few teams you’re really confident in, you could make out quite nicely. After combing through teams who, over the last 10 seasons, have over or underachieved consistently, we have a few bets that make the most sense in 2018. We in fact, have just four “best bets” for U/O win totals in the 2018 NFL season.

Our best bets to exceed their win projections are:

Atlanta Falcons – 9

Denver Broncos – 7

 

Our best bets to fall below their win projections are:

Los Angeles Chargers – 9.5

New York Giants – 7

 

If you’ve read our other two articles talking about the biggest over and underachievers in the NFL over the last 10 seasons, you’ll remember the Falcons and Broncos consistently outperform their projections. There’s reason to believe they’ll do so again this season.

Over: Atlanta – 9

Atlanta plays in a tough division, so getting to nine wins won’t be easy, but their divisional foes face a tougher road. The division-rival Saints have the second-toughest schedule in football based on 2017 team records. Tampa Bay, who will be without QB Jameis Winston for the first four games of the regular season, has the fourth toughest road.

The Panthers and Falcons have equally tough schedules, ranking No. 12 and 13 respectively. A key reason the win total of nine provides great value is that the Falcons could finish at 9-7 and push (earning you your money back). It’s hard to imagine a world where Atlanta finishes with just eight wins unless a key player suffers a major injury.

Over: Denver – 7

Denver seems like an even better bet than the Falcons for a couple reasons. To start, their status as an overachiever was diminished by the fact they greatly underachieved last season. Without 2017 in the 10-year data set, they would have been among the top three overachieving teams in all of football.

Why did they underachieve last year? The simple answer is quarterback play. This offseason,
they acquired Case Keenum, who helped lead the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game last
year. He is not an All-Pro, but he is a significant upgrade over Brock Osweiler/Trevor Siemian at the most important position in sports.

Denver has a defense strong enough to keep them in most games and now they have a gunslinger
who can help them win a few close games they didn’t a season ago.

Add to that the fact the Chiefs will be playing with a rookie quarterback in Patrick Mahomes and
the Raiders will be adjusting to life under new head coach Jon Gruden, and there’s reason to
believe the Broncos may reign supreme in the AFC West once again. The one team standing in their way is Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Speaking of them…

Under: Chargers – 9.5

Oddsmakers love the Chargers this season. They have the Chargers at a 9.5 win projection, which seems high, especially given their 10-year trend of underachieving relative to their win projections.

The Chargers haven’t won more than nine games since 2009 when they won the AFC West with 13 victories. However, they’ve won exactly nine games four times in that span, including last year.
The Chargers were one of the hottest teams in football to end the season, but we’ve seen this
from them before. They’re a team that starts incredibly slow and finishes strong. With an
improved Broncos team in the division, it’s just hard to bank on L.A. winning 10 games this year.

Under: Giants – 7

Finally, there are the Giants, the perennial beneficiaries of East Coast bias. Somehow, this team
that went 3-13 and didn’t significantly improve, is projected at seven wins. Yes, they added
Saquon Barkley to their backfield and Odell Beckham will be back from injury, but Eli Manning struggled mightily last year so Barkley could face a lot of eight-man fronts. Remember when that happened to Todd Gurley in his sophomore NFL campaign? He really struggled.

In a division that generally feasts on itself and, at times, has featured four teams in the 6-9 win
range, the Giants seem to be the worst team of the four. They also have the eighth hardest
schedule in football and it really is hard to see them going at least 8-8 to win you an overbet.
Just like the Falcons are good value, because they can earn you your money back with a 9-7 season, the Giants are good value because they can overachieve at 7-9 and you would still only
push. If they play anything below that level, which is very possible, then you’re in the green.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Analyzing Win Totals From the Last 10 Years: Underachievers

Remember the kid who would always slack off on the group project when you were in high school? Nobody liked that guy. Over the last 10 seasons, nobody who has bet win total overs has liked this particular set of NFL teams either. This O/U data is normally not available to the public but we painstakingly

Remember the kid who would always slack off on the group project when you were in high school? Nobody liked that guy. Over the last 10 seasons, nobody who has bet win total overs has liked this particular set of NFL teams either. This O/U data is normally not available to the public but we painstakingly scraped it from over 100 emails to bring you this chart

This is the second installment of a three part series where we break down the data. The focus: The Underachievers, teams who consistently didn’t make their win total. Of the NFL’s 32 teams, ten fell under their over/under win total at an average rate distinct enough to catch our attention. 

Listed in order of how many wins they miss their projection by, on average, over the last 10 years:

1. Cleveland Browns – 2.2 wins below projection per season (1-8-1 overall)

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – 1.36 wins below projection per season (2-7-1 overall)

3. Los Angeles Rams – 1.25 wins below projection per season (3-7-0 overall)

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1.15 wins below projection per season (4-5-1 overall)

5. Washington Redskins – 0.95 wins below projection per season (4-6-0 overall)

6. Houston Texans – 0.81 wins below projection per season (6-3-1 overall)

7. Chicago Bears – 0.75 wins below projection per season (3-7-0 overall)

8. New York Giants – 0.7 wins below projection per season (3-6-1 overall)

9. Detroit Lions – 0.7 wins below projection per season (5-5-0 overall)

10. Los Angeles Chargers – 0.65 wins below projection per season (4-6-0 overall)

It’s important to note that most of these teams (save for maybe the Browns) are still very close to their overall projections over the long run. For example, the Jaguars, the second-highest team on this list, have still only lost about 13-14 more games than projected over the last 10 seasons. Oddsmakers know what they’re doing and their job is to force you into hard decisions. Hopefully, with a look at this data in detail, those decisions will be more informed and will seem a little easier.

Just as we pointed out with the Patriots and Steelers on the opposite end of the spectrum, the Browns have been so bad, it’s been hard for oddsmakers to set an U/O line on them. It’s not as if they could have set the line at 0.5 wins last season when Cleveland finished 0-16. 

Their 1-8-1 record is the most lopsided in the league, good or bad (Patriots are best at 7-2-1). They have lost or pushed 90 percent of the time, meaning if you kept pounding the under, you’ve made a lot of money. More importantly, the Browns have the second lowest standard deviation in results of any team in the league. The standard deviation represents consistency. The Browns is low and so is the Pats, whether good or bad, these teams have held steady over the last ten years. 

The Texans, on the other hand, are a team whose results we’re going to throw out the window. Despite hitting the over 6 out of 10 times, they still are averaging 0.81 wins below their projections. What does that tell us? When they hit the over, they do so barely. When they are under on their win projection, they are way under. Add in the uncertainty of what a healthy Deshaun Watson might bring to the table and they are an absolute wild card on the betting scene this year.

We then get to the pair of teams who do not currently embody what they’ve been for the past decade. We’re talking about the Jaguars and Rams. Neither of these teams saw sustained success over the past decade, but each is seemingly on its way up. Each team made the playoffs last year and many expect them both to repeat that performance in 2018. An explanation for why each team underperformed its win projections lies in unreasonably high expectations.

Each has been picked to have multiple breakout years that never came to pass. These high expectations, warranted or not, inflated the U/O line and make them less likely to hit the over. The two teams are a combined 5-14-1 on hitting the over in the last 10 years, but the Rams have been so variable (fourth highest standard deviation in the league), it’s hard to expect them to go under in 2018 purely based on the last 10 years. Again, the Jaguars are such a different team than they have been for the better part of the decade, it’s hard to say the data tells us much about them either.

Two teams the data can help us with are ones consistently in the national spotlight: the New York Giants and Washington Redskins. Each team plays in the NFC East and take up a disproportionate amount of time on talk radio, TV, and in media coverage in general. They play in huge markets and expectations often are inflated based on that. While playing in the NFC East, which has consistently seen nine-win teams win the division and in which everyone beats up on one another, it’s hard to hit your win projections.

As far as standard deviation goes, these two teams are right in the middle of the pack, meaning they don’t fluctuate all that often from one end of the win-total spectrum to the other. They’re a combined 7-12-1 at hitting their win projections. There is reason to believe we can draw some value from the data for these teams; we will touch on that later.

For now, we are left with the Bears, Lions, and Chargers, teams that haven’t made much noise over the past decade. For most of those 10 years, each team had a steady quarterback at the helm, hardly what you’d expect for teams consistently missing on their win projections.

However, the Bears and Chargers have low standard deviations in their results, suggesting they were consistent in going under their projected win totals. This is evidenced by their combined 7-13-0 record on overs. The Lions are more variable and even though they’re on the list of underachievers, their record is 5-5-0 against their win projections, suggesting they flip flop too much to dependably bet on.

Now, of course, we want to apply this data to 2018. In our final article of the series based on this data, we will look at the best U/O bets for the 2018 season. For now, we will look at the U/O projections for this group of 10 for the upcoming year:

Over/unders for 2018:

Cleveland Browns – 5.5

Jacksonville Jaguars – 9

Los Angeles Rams – 10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 6.5

Washington Redskins – 7

Houston Texans – 8.5

Chicago Bears – 6.5

New York Giants – 7

Detroit Lions – 7.5

Los Angeles Chargers – 9.5

Data provided by Bovada

The top tier on this list includes the Rams, Chargers, and Jaguars, all of whom oddsmakers expect to win at least nine games this season. As mentioned in the overachievers article, it’s tough to reasonably bet over or under on a team projected in the double digits. As for the Chargers, 9.5 wins seems like a lofty projection. Their underachiever status is among the most reliable of any on this list and expecting 10 wins, even from a team who got red hot last season, is optimistic.

Then, you have the Jaguars, who may just have the best defense in football. Their division is so unpredictable with the Texans getting Watson back, the Colts potentially getting Andrew Luck back, and the Titans completely changing the offense they run. It’s hard to tell where the Jaguars fit into that mix. They certainly appear to be one of the best teams in the AFC on paper, but perhaps not enough to comfortably say they will hit their nine-win projection.

Speaking of Watson, oddsmakers clearly expect a lot out of the Houston QB, who is coming off a torn ACL for the Texans. Their win projection of 8.5 says oddsmakers are on the verge of calling Houston a playoff team. If you believe Watson will be as electric as he was before his injury, this could be a nice play for you.

After that, we have teams that oddsmakers expect to finish just below .500: the Lions (7.5), Redskins (7), and Giants (7). Detroit has a steady quarterback, Washington has a new quarterback, and New York has an aging quarterback. If you think the Packers and Vikings will each be the real deal this year, getting to eight wins might be tough for Detroit, having to play those two teams a combined four times. Washington seems to be a trendy pick to make some noise this year with Alex Smith under center, but losing rookie RB Derrius Guice hurts the team, but the injury didn’t change the Washington line.

An outlier here appears to be the Giants. Expecting seven wins out of a team that went 3-13 a year ago is a stretch. Eli Manning has been in the bottom half of NFL quarterbacks for the last few years and there is no steady replacement waiting in the wings. Sure, the team added star running back Saquon Barkley in the draft, but if Manning can’t makes plays consistently, teams will stack eight in the box and Barkley’s effectiveness will be diminished. Unless you’re really buying into the Barkley hype train, this seems like another season you could profit by exposing east coast bias and taking the Giants under.

Then, there are the teams toward the bottom of projections on this list: the Bears (6.5), Buccaneers (6.5), and Browns (5.5). Chicago appears to be headed in the right direction with QB Mitch Trubisky in his second year in the offense and with the team adding weapons like WR Allen Robinson and rookie WR Anthony Miller (being compared to Antonio Brown by some). 

The Buccaneers are in a very different situation. QB Jameis Winston is suspended for the first four games of the regular season and head coach Dirk Koetter appears to be squarely on the hot seat. In a strong division and without much leadership in the locker room, asking seven wins of the Bucs looks to be a tall order. 

Perhaps the most interesting team coming into this season is the Browns. Can they really go from zero to six wins in one year? Based on the talent they’ve added, they just might be able to. It’s hard to depend on either Tyrod Taylor or rookie QB Baker Mayfield, but with WR Josh Gordon back for a full year and the defense looking stout, anything is possible.

There are even rumblings Cleveland could add embattled receiver Dez Bryant to the mix. With all of this being said, the Browns are likely to fall so close to their projection, it might not be worth the risk. It all depends on if you’re buying the excitement coming from a team that failed to win a game a season ago. The data says: don’t buy the hype. 

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Analyzing Win Totals From the Last 10 NFL Seasons: The Overachievers

Oddsmakers aren’t wrong often, but that doesn't mean they are infallible. By analyzing the last 10 years of over/under data we drew some conclusions about the way bookmakers looks at certain teams and the ways those teams perform relative to expectations. This O/U data is normally not available to the public but we

Oddsmakers aren’t wrong often, but that doesn’t mean they are infallible. By analyzing the last 10 years of over/under data we drew some conclusions about the way bookmakers looks at certain teams and the ways those teams perform relative to expectations. This O/U data is normally not available to the public but we painstakingly scraped it from over 100 emails to bring you this chart

This is the first installment of a three part series where we break down the data. The focus: The Overachievers, teams who consistently beat the win totals. Of the NFL’s 32 teams, nine beat their over/under win total at an average rate high enough to catch our attention. 

Teams That Exceed Win Total Projections

(wins per year above projection)

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – +1.05 (7-3-0 overall)
  2. New England Patriots – +1.05 (7-2-1 overall)
  3. Atlanta Falcons – +0.95 (6-4-0 overall)
  4. Arizona Cardinals – +0.95 (6-3-1 overall)
  5. Carolina Panthers – +0.8 (5-5-0 overall)
  6. Minnesota Vikings – +0.6 (6-3-1 overall)
  7. Baltimore Ravens – +0.55 (5-3-2 overall)
  8. Denver Broncos – +0.45 (7-2-1 overall)
  9. New Orleans Saints – +0.45 (5-4-1 overall)

It’s important to point out that even these nine teams are, on average, very close to their projected win totals in the 10-year period. In a decade, they have about 10 more total wins than projected. Comparatively, teams on the bottom of the list (Broncos, Saints) have about 4.5 more overall wins than projected over the last 10 years. Bookmakers are extremely accurate.

But, this data shows small cracks.

First, the Steelers and Patriots have been so consistent, it’s hard for win projections to keep up. Some of the highest over/under projections are 11 or 11.5. It is very rare to see an over/under of 12. The Steelers and Patriots combined had 12 seasons of 12 or more wins during the data period so it’s easy to see why both teams consistently beat the over. Oddsmakers seemingly won’t go higher than 11.5 on an over/under and that has led to the Patriots and Steelers busting their win total projections on a year-to-year basis with 14 combined overs in the last 10 years.

When factoring in standard deviations for each team (essentially how consistently teams are beating or losing to the over/under line), the Steelers and Patriots rank among the four lowest teams in the league. This means their results are more consistent and dependable than teams with a higher standard deviation of results.

The Broncos are another interesting team. If they hadn’t underperformed so badly last season, they would be toward the top of this list. Last year’s disaster makes their 7-2-1 record against the O/U in the last decade even more impressive. For a team as high profile as Denver, it’s surprising oddsmakers consistently overlook them. Denver is in the bottom third in standard deviation (2.24), so we can reasonably rely on their decade of results as indicative of a larger trend.

Then, there are the non-traditional powers who get overlooked — the Cardinals, Panthers, and Vikings are good examples. At various times over the past decade, these three franchises have fielded competitive teams and it takes oddsmakers a little while to catch up. 

Besides going through transitions, none of these teams are tremendously reliable when it comes to standard deviation. This basically tells us that when they are under their win projection, they are way under and when they are over, they are way over. Carolina has the highest in the league (3.71) and Minnesota (3.09) isn’t far behind. Meanwhile, Arizona (2.56) is in the middle of the pack. These teams are too unpredictable to reasonably bank on a particular result relative to an O/U projection.

That leaves the Falcons, Ravens, and Saints. We’ve seen these teams consistently make the playoffs over the past decade, and if it weren’t for an epic collapse by Atlanta in Super Bowl LI, all three would have Super Bowl rings in the last 10 years. The teams have one thing in common: the core of their roster rarely changes, but key role players do. That constant churn (think Baltimore’s receiving corps or New Orleans’ defense) could be making bookmakers underestimate each team’s season win total.

When we look at standard deviations for these three teams, we get three different stories: the Falcons’ results are unreliable; the Saints’ are reasonably dependable; and the Ravens’ are very dependable. We can expect that Baltimore’s trend of beating O/U projections is the least random.

Where does that leave us? Below is a list of each team’s O/U for the 2018 NFL season. Later we will break down all the best bets but let’s take a brief look at what the data can tell us about the consistent overachievers this year: 

2018 Overs/Under Lines

New England Patriots – 11

Pittsburgh Steelers – 10.5

Minnesota Vikings – 10

New Orleans Saints – 9.5

Atlanta Falcons – 9

Carolina Panthers – 9

Baltimore Ravens – 8

Denver Broncos – 7

Arizona Cardinals – 5.5

Data provided by Bovada

As we mentioned, oddsmakers refused to go up to 11.5 for any team on this list. Can the top two — the Patriots (11) and Steelers (10.5) — continue to top over/under predictions? Once you start climbing into the double digits, it’s tough to say. Both teams have question marks with Brady’s drama and Bell’s contract but neither issue is a new one for either team. If you think those are red herrings, betting on the most consistently strong teams in the NFL has proved successful the past decade.

The next tier includes the Vikings (10), Saints (9.5), Falcons (9), and Panthers (9). All but Minnesota play in the NFC South, so it’s tough to predict all three would get at least nine wins, but there’s a good chance one will — especially because the Bucs will be without QB Jameis Winston for the first four games of the season. What to do? Pick the NFC South team you favor most and go from there.

Baltimore (8), Denver (7), Arizona (5.5) complete the list. What do these teams have in common? Changes or potential changes at quarterback. The Ravens still have a struggling Joe Flacco (who has reportedly looked good in training camp so far), and traded up to take Louisville star Lamar Jackson. Denver, which had a strong defense in 2017, has been unable to adequately replace Peyton Manning and signed Case Keenum, who brought Minnesota to the NFC Championship last year. He’ll start ahead of 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly. The Cardinals signed Sam Bradford to replace Carson Palmer and used a first-round pick on Josh Rosen. Star running back David Johnson, who missed most of last season, returns as well. 

Your confidence in these picks comes down to your confidence in each team’s quarterback. Every team has been underrated in the past, and it’s likely that one of these QBs will break out.  It’s your job is to decide who that will be.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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