We didn't exactly go out with a bang. If we were an NFL team, we would have been eliminated from the playoffs this weekend. It turns out as the games get tougher for the players, they get tougher for bettors too. We went 1-4 this week, our worst week of the season, but
We didn’t exactly go out with a bang. If we were an NFL team, we would have been eliminated from the playoffs this weekend. It turns out as the games get tougher for the players, they get tougher for bettors too. We went 1-4 this week, our worst week of the season, but let’s not let that distract us from the fact we picked at a 58 percent clip during the rest of the year. We’re going to recap what went wrong this week and as we put a bow on the 2018 season of this column, we’ll look at who presents the best Super Bowl value.
LOSS: Texans -1.5 vs. Colts (-105): Colts 21, Texans 7.
This was a true beatdown. I’ll be the first to admit that we underestimated just how hot the Colts were. Their offensive line looks impenetrable and Andrew Luck, as a result, looks like an elite quarterback once again. They took Houston out of the game from the jump by rushing out to a big lead. Deshaun Watson and Co. were simply never able to recover.
Watch out for Indy against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round, they match up really well against Kansas City. If K.C. isn’t able to generate a pass rush on that tough offensive line, they could be in for a long day, whether they have the league MVP playing at his best or not. Teams surprise us in the playoffs and our first surprise came thanks to Indy.
LOSS: Seahawks to beat Cowboys (-105): Cowboys 24, Seahawks 22.
If only we would have taken the spread, which was Seahawks +2.5, we would’ve had the greatest backdoor cover of all time. Boy, kicker Sebastian Janikowski getting injured in the first half really threw this game through a loop with Seattle having to go for two and having to go for it on fourth down deep inside Dallas territory. Of course, having to go for two (and succeeding) at the end of the game, pushed the final score to a two-point margin instead of four.
However, we took Seattle to win straight up, because that was the better value and Pete Carroll’s unwillingness to pass the ball in the first half bit us right where it hurts. It really doesn’t make sense to be running the ball so much when you have one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the league, but what do I know? This was a tough game to watch and an even tougher game to lose a bet on.
WIN: Chargers-Ravens UNDER 41.5 points: Chargers 23, Ravens 17.
For a while there, it seemed like we were solidly in the clear, but scoring picked up in the fourth quarter. Had Lamar Jackson led an improbable comeback drive in the final minute, it would have pushed the over. Let’s be honest, though, that would’ve been pretty cool regardless. Los Angeles held on as they continue to look like a team of destiny and they saved the over by a couple points.
This is the only game we picked correctly this week, which makes it our last correct game pick of the season on this column. Don’t be surprised if the Chargers end up knocking off the Patriots on the road next week. L.A. is now 8-1 on the road this season and is coming for a New England team, which was the only team in the league to go a perfect 8-0 at home in the regular season.
LOSS: Bears -5.5 vs. Eagles (-110): Eagles 16, Bears 15.
Writing this recap makes me physically ill, because I’m a Bears fan. I was in a fit of blind rage for about an hour after Cody Parkey’s game-winning 43-yard field goal attempt clanked off two different posts. While that field goal wouldn’t have won us this bet anyway, it doesn’t make it any easier a pill to swallow.
What we should blame this on is Matt Nagy’s vanilla play calling in the first half. It seemed like he was playing not to lose and didn’t let QB Mitch Trubisky push the ball down the field. That may have been a mistake given the fact he torched the Eagles in the second half, giving him the most overall passing yards of any QB playing on wild card weekend. It still should have been enough as he led the team down for a very makeable game-winning field goal, but a fingertip re-directed Parkey’s attempt and the play that will forever live in Chicago sports infamy was born.
LOSS: Texans-Colts OVER 48.5 (-110): Colts 21, Texans 7.
This game is really the gift that keeps on giving, huh? When one team scores just seven points, you can be pretty certain you aren’t hitting the over. I expected this to be a much closer game in the mid-20’s hence the pick. I couldn’t have anticipated Houston’s offense stalling out for most of the game. Credit to Indy for jumping out to an early lead and not giving it up, but that game flow really put us in a bind.
Since Indy went up so big so soon, Houston had to go into predictable play calls and that hindered them on offense. Up big, Indy just ran the ball and continued running out the clock. It was the perfect storm to lose us the over pretty quickly.
Okay, this bad betting week behind us, let’s jump to some Super Bowl picks. I’ll give you two Super Bowl values I really like and two I don’t like so much as you look to make a longer term bet in the coming weeks. These are all based on teams’ odds of winning the Super Bowl going into the Divisional Round.
Like: Chargers +1000. Yes, I get that the Chargers now have to take on the Patriots on the road to even advance to the AFC Championship, but this is really good value. A 10-to-1 that I really could see going all the way. Since they were a wild card team, it’s easy to forget they were tied for the best record in the AFC this season.
Saints +250. It’s weird to call the Saints a “value” pick, because they are the favorites to win it all. However, even a 2.5-to-1 payout is great for them and here’s why: they have the path of least resistance to get there. With the Bears eliminated, the NFC is now theirs for the taking and that alone, makes them a good value.
Dislike: Chiefs +400. The Chiefs are the most overrated team in football and it’s because they have the league MVP and the league’s most dynamic offense. However, in the playoffs, when games get tighter, you need a defense to win you games and K.C. has the worst defense remaining in the playoffs. They simply can’t slow down opponents in the passing game and they have a less-than-stellar match up this week with the Colts coming to town. They’re tied for the second-best odds to win it all and that’s just bad value.
Rams +400. I dislike this for many of the same reasons I dislike the value of taking the Chiefs. First of all, the team hit a rough patch in the final quarter of the season. They should beat the Cowboys at home, but that’s not a given. One thing they have over the Chiefs is a game wrecker like Aaron Donald. Even with a subpar overall defense, Donald can change a game with a big strip sack at any time. Overall, though, you just can’t convince me they’re going to march into New Orleans and beat the Saints. They, along with Kansas City, are the second-best odds behind the Saints and I just don’t see value in that.
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.
We made it through 17 weeks of the NFL season and as an added bonus, we're going to give you one more week of picks. Wild Card weekend tends to provide the most interesting matchups of any playoff round, because it often matches up a really hot team with a team that is
We made it through 17 weeks of the NFL season and as an added bonus, we’re going to give you one more week of picks. Wild Card weekend tends to provide the most interesting matchups of any playoff round, because it often matches up a really hot team with a team that is better on paper. The reason for that is simple. Think about it. Whoever gets the No. 6 seed in either conference had to beat out a handful of other teams and has been in playoff mode for weeks. That’s why the Bears and Texans could have their hands full with the Eagles and Colts respectively. Anyway, let’s get to our picks.
Texans -1.5 vs. Colts (-105)
Bettors are loving the Colts, who snuck into the playoffs by beating the Titans in Week 17. There’s plenty of reason to believe in this team, whose offense looks to finally be humming entering the playoffs. I alluded to the fact that a hot No. 6 seed often can go on a deep playoff run, but there are a few reasons I don’t think this is happening this week. First of all, the Texans offense has plenty of weapons (ones the Titans didn’t have in Week 17) to outscore the Colts.
Second of all, the Texans have a very stout defense, which should give Indy some trouble. The same could have been said about the Titans, but their defensive efforts week to week were much less consistent than Houston’s. Let’s not forget the Texans were a win against the Eagles away from having home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They’ve been one of the best teams in the AFC all season long and this one just doesn’t scream upset to me. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.80.
Seahawks to beat the Cowboys (-105)
This game is essentially a pick ’em as the line is only one point and there are negative odds for picking each to win (Seattle at -105, Dallas at -110). I get that this game is on the road and the Seahawks play differently away from home, but they also have a ton of playoff experience. The x-factor here is really Russell Wilson. In what should be a close game, I trust him 10 times more than I trust Dak Prescott in a pressure situation.
Sometimes, in these games, you have to trust the players who have been there, done that and are better equipped to handle the pressure. This is a dangerous game as each team has shown some flaws in recent weeks, but between these two imperfect teams, there is still a ton of talent. Expect a lot of big plays and an exciting finish. If it comes down to the fourth quarter, as playoff games usually do, the edge has to be given to Russ and Co. who have proven they can get it done in crunch time before. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.80.
Chargers-Ravens UNDER 41.5 (-110)
I just can’t bring myself to pick this game against the spread. The Chargers and Ravens are such different teams and this is a toss up for me. Los Angeles is 7-1 on the road this season, but Baltimore runs the exact type of offense that bleeds the clock and keeps opposing teams off the field that the Chargers hate. It gets them out of their rhythm and that could put them in some real trouble if they don’t stop Lamar Jackson.
Again, I can’t for the life of me decide who I think is going to win this game, but I do think we’re going to see a low-scoring game that comes down to the wire. 21-17 or something along those lines certainly isn’t out of the question and that would get us the under. There isn’t a ton of confidence in any bet involved in this game, but to make sure this one was covered, we’ll take the under as the most confident bet associated with it. $3 for total payout of $5.70.
Bears -5.5 vs. Eagles (-110)
This game scares me a lot. Full disclosure: I’m a Bears fan. I very rarely like to pick a team I root for, especially under these circumstances, so I’ll tell you why I’m doing so this week. On paper, the Bears are a much better team than the Eagles, much better. Of course, games aren’t played on paper, but we need to remember the Bears have a lot more talent and if we’re defaulting to something, it has to be that. Let’s not forget, the Bears are the first 12-win NFC team since 2014 to not get a first-round bye. Second of all, for as scared as myself and all Bears fans are for playoff Nick Foles, there is reason to believe he won’t duplicate last year’s success.
Chicago allows the lowest opponent’s quarterback rating in the entire league. Essentially, QB’s have their worst performances when they play against the pass rush and secondary of the Bears. With Pro Bowl safety, Eddie Jackson, set to return to the fold, that Bears defense looks even stronger. For the Bears to win, they need to take care of the football. If they don’t turn it over, Philly stands very little chance. Whether or not they cover comes down to Mitchell Trubisky’s performance in his first career playoff game. All they need is a touchdown margin of victory to cover and we’ll trust the Bears enough to do that. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.
Texans-Colts OVER 48.5 (-110)
For as much as I talked about how Houston’s defense is going to slow the Colts down, this game could still become somewhat of a shootout. 31-24, or something along those lines isn’t out of the question. In my opinion, holding the Colts to 24 would be a victory for the Texans and would also hit the over as long as Houston won the game. Picking over/unders in the playoffs is tricky, because they’re often dictated by the pace set at the very beginning of the game. If one of these teams scores early, players and coaches start to loosen up and the field opens up. In that case, I love the over.
One thing that could hurt us here is if a few defensive stops are made early on and it becomes a field position battle. That’s entirely possible, but I think that’s the less likely of the two scenarios. Each team has offensive playmakers capable of picking up chunks of yards at a time, so as long as both team converts its red zone trips into touchdowns instead of field goals, I feel good about the over in this one. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
These are the last picks of the year, so let’s hope they’re fruitful like the entire regular season has been for us. One final time, we’ll cross our fingers and hope that we can hit on that elusive five-team parlay we’ve been so close to all year long. Based on the picks above, a $20 five-team parlay would pay out $530.16. For the final time this season, good luck, and we’ll have one more recap column to look at how our Wild Card Weekend picks panned out.
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.
We did it, guys. We bet five games in Week 17 and won more than we lost. That's hard to do. On the season, we only had a couple losing weeks all year long. It was a good run, with us going 3-2 this Sunday. With the playoffs looming, we will have one
We did it, guys. We bet five games in Week 17 and won more than we lost. That’s hard to do. On the season, we only had a couple losing weeks all year long. It was a good run, with us going 3-2 this Sunday. With the playoffs looming, we will have one Wild Card Round column to round out the year, but this is just about it. Let’s dive into what went right and what went wrong in Week 17.
LOSS: Redskins +7 vs. Eagles (-115): Eagles 24, Redskins 0.
Washington finally ran out of gas. They’d been playing inspired football while being the most banged up team in the league, but without a sense of direction or identity, they fell apart in Week 17. Philly, with some help from the Bears, somehow sneaks into the playoffs, even though starter Nick Foles hurt his chest and had to leave this game.
This is why picking Week 17 games is so hard: you just never know when one of the teams is going to lose their fight. The Redskins lost theirs sooner than we would’ve hoped, so we have to put this one in the L column. Total payout: $0.
WIN: Texans -6.5 vs. Jaguars (-110): Texans 20, Jaguars 3.
Houston still had to win in order to take care of the division, so you felt like they’d come up with a more inspired effort than the Jaguars, who would probably prefer a higher draft pick. For the first two and a half quarters, that didn’t seem to be the case, but then the Texans turned things on. They started to roll and with Jacksonville looking anemic on offense, we had a good feeling that would be all we needed.
With a stout defense, Houston didn’t let the Jaguars sniff the end zone and dominated the second half. In the final week of the season, you usually go with the team which has more to play for. We didn’t follow that line of thinking in the Redskins pick and it came back to bite us. Total payout: $5.70.
WIN: Chargers -6.5 at Broncos (-110): Chargers 23, Broncos 9.
Just like with the Texans, the Chargers had more to play for (a first-round bye if Kansas City slipped up against the Raiders) Sunday afternoon. They started slow like Houston, but picked up steam in the second half as well. With Denver’s offense looking absolutely atrocious over the past few weeks, we knew we probably only needed a couple scores from L.A. to cover this spread.
The Chargers are going to have a tough match up with the Ravens in the first round of the playoffs, but we of course, don’t care about that. They won us our bet this week and that’s all that matters. Total payout: $7.60.
LOSS: Browns-Ravens UNDER 41 points: Ravens 26, Browns 24.
This turned out to be one of the most exciting games of the day, but it didn’t go in our favor. Both teams started off hot on offense, which was unexpected. Each play good defense and the last time they met, they combined for just 21 points in a 12-9 affair. That didn’t happen this time around. The offenses stalled for most of the third quarter, which left us with a glimmer of hope for an under hit. However, as soon as the Browns showed they were staying in the game, we knew our hopes would be dashed.
Cleveland, even in a loss, ends the season as one of the hottest teams in the league and have some really positive momentum heading into 2019. We sure would’ve liked if they could’ve built some momentum while scoring fewer points, but you can’t win them all. Total payout: $0.
WIN: Colts -3.5 at Titans (-115): Colts 33, Titans 17.
We ended the regular season on a high note. Really, we should never feel nervous about betting against Blaine Gabbert, but things were interesting for a while in Nashville. In the end, though, Indy looked like the much superior team as we figured they might. Needing to win by just four points, I felt pretty confident coming in they had the offensive firepower to do some damage.
Whether or not they stand any chance against the Texans next week remains to be seen, but tonight, they did us a solid and won us our final bet of the season, giving us yet another winning week of picks here in the Ballin’ on a Budget column. Total payout: $9.35
PIGGY BANK: $368.20 (8.3% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 58% (47-34-4)
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.
It's the most dangerous betting week of the NFL season. Week 17 provides so many challenges that a normal week doesn't. Most of the league has already been eliminated from playoff contention. How can we possibly pick games in which we don't know either team's motivation? Better yet, how can we pick any
It’s the most dangerous betting week of the NFL season. Week 17 provides so many challenges that a normal week doesn’t. Most of the league has already been eliminated from playoff contention. How can we possibly pick games in which we don’t know either team’s motivation? Better yet, how can we pick any games in which the normal favorite will likely be resting its starters? It’s a very hard week to pick and to avoid the madness, we’re going to make sure we pick games in which at least one team is guaranteed to have something to play for. Here we go one last time in the regular season as we try to go out with a bang.
Redskins +7 vs. Eagles (-115)
The Eagles are red hot and I’d be shocked if they lost this game. However, they seemingly only play in close games, so this seven-point spread looks pretty juicy. Also, Jay Gruden has quietly done one of the best jobs in the NFL this season. He has lost three quarterbacks as well as countless other playmakers on both sides of the ball and his team is 7-8. They are not a good football team with Josh Johnson at quarterback, but they’ve shown heart.
This game is also in D.C. With just one game to play, Washington’s season comes down to them getting a chance to knock their rivals out of the playoffs. Of course, if Philly wins and Minnesota loses, the Eagles sneak in. If either of those fails to happen, they don’t. This could randomly turn into a blowout, but I really don’t see it going that way. Philly wins a close one and the Redskins cover the spread. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.61.
Texans -6.5 vs. Jaguars (-110)
Houston is still playing for a first-round bye, something they choked away for the time being against the Eagles last week. Now, they’re tied with New England and the Patriots have the tiebreaker. The danger here is that if the Texans see the Patriots are up big on the Jets at halftime, there’s a very real chance they could rest their starters in the second half. If that happened, it could really throw off this bet.
However, playing at home and with home field on the line, let’s just assume that the Texans, a team far superior to the Jaguars, will come out and dominate in the first half. If that’s the case, hopefully they can hang on by a touchdown in the second half. We have slim pickens this week, folks, so this is one we’re going to roll with and hope for the best. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.
Colts -3.5 vs. Titans (-115)
This one’s for all the marbles. These two AFC South foes are battling it out for the final playoff spot in the AFC. It’s on Sunday Night Football, because it is the only game in which the winner is guaranteed a playoff spot. Both these teams have been so inconsistent this year, it’s torture to pick this game. However, we don’t know how healthy Marcus Mariota’s going to be and the Colts offense can run away from you fast.
Indy hasn’t beaten many good teams this year, but I’m still not convinced the Titans are a good team anyway. It’s in Nashville, but the Colts feel like the more deserving team. That doesn’t always add up to a win and in such an intense match up, the game should be close. That makes a 3.5-point spread seem like a lot. Let’s just say Indy wins by a touchdown in a relatively low scoring game and call it a day. The bet: $5 for total payout of 9.35.
Chargers -6.5 at Broncos (-110)
As it turns out, the Chargers wasted their shot at the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC last week with a loss to the Ravens. Kansas City ended up losing to the Seahawks, so L.A. would control its own destiny this week had they won. However, they have to win and have the Raiders pull off the huge upset of the Chiefs in order for that to happen now. Meanwhile, their opponents, the Broncos, are flat out broken. If you didn’t see them against the Raiders on Monday Night Football, you’re lucky.
They look like a downtrodden team that will have no motivation to finish the season strong for a head coach in Vance Joseph, who will likely be fired Monday. While L.A. might be a long shot to get the top seed in the AFC, they still have a shot and that’s enough to convince me Phillip Rivers and Co. have what it takes to cover a touchdown spread, even if they’re playing on the road. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Ravens-Browns UNDER 41 points (-110)
This is a very interesting game. Baltimore is into the playoffs with a win and will clinch the AFC North division title. Cleveland is mathematically eliminated from the postseason, but is among the hottest teams in football. These are also two of the best defenses in the league. Combine good defense with the Ravens’ new affinity for running the football and this one has the under written all over it.
Even if Baltimore is successful moving the football, they’re likely going to run a lot of clock in the process. It isn’t hard at all to see this game ending 20-17 or somewhere in that neighborhood. In that case, we’d be in the under right where we want to be. The Ravens might not be the most exciting team to watch, but they’re among the most effective and if they run their game plan to perfection, this game is likely to hit the under. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.
In our last week, maybe we will finally get the 5-for-5 week we’ve been looking for all year long. If that happens, we will have a pretty little parlay payout of $486.55. Best of luck in your last week of betting before the real fun starts in the playoffs.
We navigated the treacherous waters of late-season NFL betting and came out okay. After going 2-2-1, the stage is set for the end of our season. Week 17, we will have both our 60 percent pick percentage as well as our 10 percent return on investment goals on the line. Each are on
We navigated the treacherous waters of late-season NFL betting and came out okay. After going 2-2-1, the stage is set for the end of our season. Week 17, we will have both our 60 percent pick percentage as well as our 10 percent return on investment goals on the line. Each are on the line and each is possible with a good week. Following a rough start, this week could have been a lot worse. As it is, we will take the virtual wash and move on to the final week of the season with our heads held high.
LOSS: Dolphins -4 vs. Jaguars (-110): Jaguars 17, Dolphins 7.
We knew better than to bet on the Dolphins in back-to-back weeks. We even talked about it in our pick column. That line against the Jaguars and at home looked too juicy to pass up, though. Just when it matters, Miami folds. That’s how it goes every single year, folks. News flash: this isn’t the year Ryan Tannehill becomes a premiere quarterback. Despite showing flashes, he’s just never becoming that guy.
Jacksonville’s defense decided to show up, which was nice of them when we bet against them. This was just a gross game and the fact we had money on the wrong side of it made it even worse. Ironic, because I’m not sure you could pay me to watch this game otherwise. Total win: $0.
LOSS: Cardinals +14.5 vs. Rams (-110): Rams 31, Cardinals 9.
Well, the streak had to come to an end at some point. This was the fifth time in 2018 that we took a team that was +14 or more. This was the first one we lost. Arizona looked competitive for a half, trailing just 14-9 at one point late in the first, but this one got away from them. The Los Angeles offense got back on track even without Todd Gurley in the lineup, which is an encouraging sign for a team that’s struggled in recent weeks.
Of course, that’s not an encouraging sign for us as we were taking the big home underdogs. At least now the illusion that every +14 or greater underdog is a lock is gone and we can make more calculated decisions about those types of bets in the future. Total win: $0.
WIN: Bears -4 vs. 49ers (-110): Bears 14, 49ers 9.
This was just another methodical win by the Bears, who are still alive for a first-round bye in the NFC going into the final week of the season. Down 9-7 at halftime, they buckled down and shut San Francisco out in the second half. They also were able to put together two long drives, one which ended in a touchdown, another in a near backbreaking fumble. Either way, the offense was moving the ball, despite scoring just 14 points.
These are the types of games the Bears want to play. They want to milk the clock, put up a couple scores and let their defense do the rest. Whether that will work in the playoffs remains to be seen, but it worked on the road today and they just edged out the win for us with a five-point win on a four-point spread. Total win: $9.50.
PUSH: Bengals-Browns OVER 44 points: Browns 26, Bengals 18.
We can all thank Cincinatti’s late comeback for this nice backdoor cover. It just didn’t look like we were going to get there with the Browns defense playing really well, but the Bengals willed it to happen. Late in the game, they scored a touchdown and went for two in order to make it a one-possession game. With that successful conversion, they pushed the total to 44, meaning we then had nothing to lose.
Unfortunately, no more points were scored, so we were stuck with a push, but that was a lot better than what it seemed like we were headed for when Cleveland dominated the first half. We haven’t had a push in a while and they generally feel dissatisfying, but this one feels all right. Total win: $5.
WIN: Steelers +6 at Saints: Saints 31, Steelers 28.
They may have fallen apart down the stretch and allowed the Saints to win on a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter, by gosh darn it, the Steelers covered and that’s all that matters. They now are in desperation mode, needing a win and some help next week to make the playoffs. That’s a real shame for them, but again, they covered for us, so all is right in the world.
After looking shaky on offense recently, the Saints got back to doing their thing at home, a scary prospect for any team that has to pass through there in the playoffs. After this win, that’s everybody, because NOLA locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC with this win. You know what that means: they’re resting their starters next week and we’re not coming anywhere near that game from a betting perspective. Total win: $5.70.
PIGGY BANK: $345.55 (8.0% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 57.9% (44-32-4)
It's hard to believe we only have two weeks left in the NFL regular season. These two weeks will really test our betting mettle, because the last couple weeks of the season are always the hardest to wager on. Who's going to give their starters a little bit of a rest? Which teams
It’s hard to believe we only have two weeks left in the NFL regular season. These two weeks will really test our betting mettle, because the last couple weeks of the season are always the hardest to wager on. Who’s going to give their starters a little bit of a rest? Which teams out of the race will take their feet off the gas in order to grab a higher draft pick? At this stage in the season, there are so many things at play beyond X’s and O’s. As such, we will try to sort through the noise and tip toe around the minefield of games this week and make sure we end the regular season on the right note.
Dolphins -4 vs. Jaguars (-110)
The Dolphins made us look foolish last week when we took them +7 against the Vikings and they lost 41-24, but we’re going to give them another go. Jacksonville has looked marginally better in recent weeks, but not enough to convince me they will give Miami a decent game. This will be played in South Florida, where the Dolphins are really tough to beat. Add to that this is a do-or-die game for Miami and this should add up to at least a touchdown victory.
Of course, that being said, we will all be watching in agony as they squeak by with a three-point win. This is a pretty gross game to pick, but it’s one of the only games of the week where we can theoretically predict the motivation level of both teams. There’s a lot to be said for that this time of year. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.
Arizona Cardinals +14.5 vs. Rams (-110)
Once again, we have ourselves a multi-touchdown underdog and once again, we’re going to jump all over it. We are 4-for-4 this year in such bets and I don’t see it slowing down this week. The Rams are trying to take a step toward locking up home field in the playoffs and they should win this game pretty easily, but the Cardinals defense is no joke. Their offense might not be able to keep up, but if the D can help keep red zone drives to field goals, they’ll cover.
The only worry is if this game gets out of hand from the get go and the Cardinals just can’t keep up while only being able to pass. However, with a steady dose of David Johnson and controlling the clock, Arizona should be able to keep this game a little closer than most people anticipate. Let’s not forget the Rams’ offense has looked broken ever since it was embarrassed by the Bears on Sunday Night Football. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Bears -4 at 49ers (-110)
I get that the 49ers just beat the Seahawks and that they get this game at home, but Seattle is a rival. Chicago still has a shot at getting a first-round bye, and despite the Rams’ cupcake final two games on their schedule, the Bears should be playing like they have a chance at that bye. There’s just no way you can convince me Nick Mullens is going to be able to do anything against a Bears defense allowing the lowest opposing QBR in football this season.
Yes, San Francisco’s at home, and them keeping this game within a field goal is not out of the realm of possibility. However, the Bears are one of the hottest teams in football with plenty of motivation to actually win this game and give themselves a chance at a first-round bye. All of these factors added together make this a pretty good bet. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.
Steelers +6 at Saints (-110)
Given how unpredictable the Steelers have been this season, this is a pretty big risk. However, the Saints have looked human in recent weeks and the Steelers really need this game more than New Orleans. It is in the Big Easy, where opponents often go to die, but this is a chance at a statement win for Pittsburgh. Even if they don’t win, it certainly should be closer than a touchdown.
Where the Saints are simply trying to clinch the top overall seed in the NFC (something they can do with a win in either of the next two weeks), the Steelers are trying to avoid falling into a wild card spot or worse. Will the desperation be enough to fuel them to a straight-up win? That remains to be seen, but I see this being a close, one-score game, which makes +6 look pretty good. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.
Bengals-Browns OVER 44 points (-110)
Here’s our only over/under of the week and it looks like a promising one. Cleveland’s defense has stepped up big time during their recent hot streak, but the Bengals defense is finally starting to click. They’re going to need a big day from Joe Mixon to establish the run and set up the passing game for Jeff Driskel, but that isn’t out of the realm of possibility. On the other side of the ball, Cincinnati’s defense is putrid and Baker Mayfield and Co. should be in for a field day.
We need to hope this game stays close and climbs into the 20’s. That seems likely to happen and with it, it seems more likely than not that these two teams will go over the 44-point mark that has set the over/under. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.
If we’re able to pull a rabbit out of a hat and go 5-for-5 this week, our big winnings on our $20 would be $507.06. There’s only two weeks left for us to pull it off. Here’s to hoping it’ll be this week.
We were off to such a good start, but Sunday really kicked us where it hurt. In our two Saturday games, we began the week 2-0. However, a miserable Sunday, which saw us go 0-3 ensured us one of our only losing weeks of the season. Luckily, one of those two games was
We were off to such a good start, but Sunday really kicked us where it hurt. In our two Saturday games, we began the week 2-0. However, a miserable Sunday, which saw us go 0-3 ensured us one of our only losing weeks of the season. Luckily, one of those two games was our highest confidence pick, so we were able to mitigate our losses to a degree. It’s not going to get any easier in the final two weeks of the season, so let’s take a look at what went right, what went wrong and where we go from here.
WIN: Texans -6.5 vs. Jets (-105): Texans 29, Jets 22.
For the third straight week, the Jets were part of a winning bet for us. For the first time in that span, we weren’t betting on them. Getting Houston for less than a touchdown, even in a battle of two tough defenses, seemed like a pretty good idea. Obviously, it barely worked for us, but the only reason we took it is we knew we could win this bet with a touchdown margin of victory. Still-hot Houston gave us exactly that and started our week on a high note.
Now 10-1 in their last 11 games, the Texans look like a real force to be reckoned with. They control their own fate as far as a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs goes and if Deshaun Watson is healthy with the defense humming like they are right now, look out. Total payout: $9.76.
WIN: Browns +3 at Broncos (-110): Browns 17, Broncos 16.
Like I said in this week’s column, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns won this game straight up. It being played away from home was the only thing keeping me from taking the money line in this one. We took the extra three points of cushion and it’s not a big deal we did so. Cleveland is red hot and rolled right through Denver as they cling to their playoff hopes.
It seems like the Broncos are always playing in close games, so this field goal spread felt relatively safe. Down the stretch, teams like the Browns will be interesting to keep an eye on, because that faint chance of grabbing a playoff spot can be a huge motivator. Total payout: $5.70.
LOSS: Dolphins +7 at Vikings (-110): Vikings 41, Dolphins 17.
The wheels really fell off for Miami, huh? They threatened for a moment in the second half when they cut what was once a 21-0 lead into a 24-17 Vikings advantage, but then they went into hibernation. They can’t even blame the elements, because the game was indoors. Miami allowed Kirk Cousins, who has looked very pedestrian as of late, to be a world beater and he had one of his best games of the season.
I would like to think the Dolphins should have at least earned a push in this game, especially with their playoff fate hanging in the balance, but hey, this is what Miami does every December. They’re just close enough to the playoff race to be interesting, but very rarely actually get there. Minnesota is now an interesting team to follow as they can catch the Seahawks for the No. 5 seed in the NFC.
LOSS: Cowboys over Colts (+130): Colts 23, Cowboys 0.
Yikes. Dallas hasn’t been shutout since 2003 and they looked absolutely horrific. So much for taking them in the upset. Indianapolis has been such a dangerous team to bet this season, because they are so inconsistent. Week to week, you never know what you’re going to get, so we might stay away from them in the future.
As for the Cowboys, I’m not sure what to think. The defense can only do so much and when the offense can’t move the ball, that does them no favors. We should try and forget about this game, because boy, were we off. Total payout: $0.
LOSS: Seahawks -4.5 at 49ers (-110): 49ers 26, Seahawks 23 (OT).
What a fitting end to a horrible Sunday of betting. San Francisco, who has nothing to play for, somehow beats Seattle in overtime, despite the Seahawks needing a win to gain firm control of the No. 5 seed in the NFC. We should give the 49ers some credit as they did actually play the better game, but you always expect to see the more talented team win out. That didn’t happen today.
Russell Wilson and Company fell back down to earth, it’s just unfortunate it happened in a week we bet them. Seattle has been very good against the spread this season and has won us money on numerous occasions, so we can forgive them this one time. Total payout: $0.
PIGGY BANK: $325.35 (8.5% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 58.3% (42-30-3)
With just three weeks left in the season, we have just enough time to hit our goal of 60 percent completion percentage and 10 percent return on investment. This year has been really steady minus a couple weeks as we've given you winning picks consistently. We'll look to keep that going this week
With just three weeks left in the season, we have just enough time to hit our goal of 60 percent completion percentage and 10 percent return on investment. This year has been really steady minus a couple weeks as we’ve given you winning picks consistently. We’ll look to keep that going this week as the playoff race heats up and we have to consider the almighty question of “who wants it more?” You’d be surprised how many times that seems to factor into the outcome of games this late in the season. Since our only losses last week were over/unders, we’re gonna stick with straight spread picks this week.
Texans -6.5 at Jets (-105)
Coming off their first loss in months, the Texans will be out for blood against the Jets. This might be a road game, but New York has no reason to want to win this game. In fact, they’d be better off not winning it in order to get a better draft pick. That doesn’t mean they won’t try, but if they get down early, the game might be over by halftime. Houston’s defense shouldn’t allow more than 17 points to this Jets offense and that means the Texans just would have to put up 24 to cover the spread.
As Houston tries to keep its hopes alive at a first-round bye come playoff time, they’re going to have a sense of urgency in this game. The fact the spread is under a touchdown makes it a must-bet in my eyes as one of these teams has everything to play for and the other really couldn’t care less about the outcome. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.76.
Browns +3 at Broncos (-110)
Cleveland is red hot and the Broncos are coming off a loss to the 49ers, a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft. Still, each of these teams has something to play for with a loss meaning they’re just about mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. With the momentum they have, it actually feels like the Browns might win this game straight up, but we will use those three points as a security blanket in case they lose a close game.
Denver has been so inconsistent this season that it feels dangerous picking any game they’re involved in, but we’re picking this game based on momentum, season-long momentum. Cleveland has a ton of it and Denver has none of it. Loser leaves town in this one and this should actually be one of the better games of the weekend. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.
Dolphins +7 at Vikings (-110)
I just really like road underdogs this week apparently. Miami is coming off their stunning, last-second victory over the Patriots, so you could say they’re primed for a letdown. However, they’re still very much alive in the wild AFC playoff picture. They’re also visiting a Vikings team that is spiraling out of control. Miami could very easily be the team to provide a knockout punch to Minnesota’s championship hopes, especially after the team fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo following their embarrassing showing against the Seahawks.
Minnesota is still very talented on defense, but that offense has really struggled to put anything together lately. Kirk Cousins’ confidence is at an all-time low and in a dome, the warm-weather Dolphins aren’t going to be affected by the elements. Expect Miami to give Minnesota a run for its money while the Vikings, in the end, will be able to do just enough to win a close game, giving us a Dolphins +7 victory. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.
Cowboys over Colts (+130)
It is curious to me how the Cowboys could be underdogs against the Colts, even if Indy did just hand the Texans their first loss in their last 10 games. The Colts offense has been great at times, but it’s been extremely inconsistent. Against a talented and red-hot Cowboys defense, they aren’t going to be able to do a whole lot. Dallas is slowly becoming that team you don’t want to play in the playoffs, simply because their defense is capable of shutting you down for 60 minutes.
They also bleed the clock with Ezekiel Elliott when they need to control time of possession. When they’ve needed to throw the ball over the last month or so, Dak Prescott has actually looked like a competent quarterback too. The Cowboys might find a way to screw up come playoff time, but they’re one of the hottest teams in the league and as three-point underdogs, the value here is to pick them straight up to win. The bet: $5 for total payout of $11.50.
Seahawks -4.5 at 49ers (-110)
I hesitated to pick this game, because these two teams tend to play each other close no matter what. That didn’t happen in their first meeting, but that game was in Seattle. This comes down to, again, which team needs it more, though. San Francisco showed that’s not the greatest strategy for picking games as they upset the Broncos last weekend, but it should hold here. Seattle’s offense struggled against a good Minnesota defense, but the floodgates should open up against the Niners.
I have a hard time believing Nick Mullens will be able to hang with Russell Wilson for four quarters. I don’t expect this to be a blowout, but I do expect the Seahawks to win by a touchdown or so, which gives us plenty of cushion on this 4.5-point spread. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Back to our dream scenario, which we’ve been close to several times this season with 4-1 weeks: if all five of these games hit, on a $20 parlay, we would stand to make $598.44. That would be a good way to start wrapping the season up, huh? Fingers crossed and good luck betting this weekend.
For the second straight week, we won more bets than we lost and we can be happy about that. However, if it weren't for a Chargers strategic blunder, we would've looked even better, going to 4-1 for the second straight week. Nonetheless, it was another week in the black, pushing us ever closer
For the second straight week, we won more bets than we lost and we can be happy about that. However, if it weren’t for a Chargers strategic blunder, we would’ve looked even better, going to 4-1 for the second straight week. Nonetheless, it was another week in the black, pushing us ever closer to our end-of-year goal to have a 60 percent pick percentage and 10 percent return on investment.
WIN: Jets +3.5 at Bills (-115): Jets 27, Bills 23.
New York seemed in big trouble early in this game, but Sam Darnold and the offense turned things around in the second half. We knew this three-and-a-half-point spread was juicy since neither team is very good and it turns out we were right. For the second straight week, the Jets covered for us and this time, they even won the game straight up.
This really goes to pound the point home that if there are two teams you perceive as of equal ability, regardless of one of them being at home, taking 3.5 or more points on a spread is the way to go. Gang Green comes through again. Total payout: $7.48.
LOSS: Patriots-Dolphins UNDER 47 points (-110): Dolphins 34, Patriots 31.
Well, we were way off on this one. We didn’t take into account the weather would be beautiful in Miami and the Patriots struggle historically against the Dolphins in the month of December on the road. Of course, they still would have won if it weren’t for Miami’s miraculous lateral play on their final attempt from scrimmage, but the over/under was gone at half time. Whether you believe in Ryan Tannehill or not, the Dolphins are a different team with him on the field.
Sometimes, with bets like this, which are over before the second half, it’s better to just lick your wounds and move on. That same logic doesn’t hold for our second unsuccessful over/under of the week, which was the biggest heartbreaker you could imagine. Total payout: $0.
LOSS: Chargers-Bengals OVER 47.5 points (-110): Chargers 26, Bengals 21.
So, we lost it by half a point. Oh, by the way, the Bengals screwed up down the stretch. Cincinnati stormed all the way back and was a two-point conversion away from tying the game at 23 after a Joe Mixon one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. They didn’t get it and it kept us from hitting the over. L.A. eventually drove down and drilled a field goal with less than a minute left to extend the lead to five.
Had Cincy made that field goal, this game would have ended 26-23, with the over hitting and all of us going home happy. If it’s any consolation, the Bengals did help us in another department by keeping things close, so we owe them for that. Total payout: $0.
WIN: Bengals +14.5 vs. Chargers (-120): Chargers 26, Bengals 21.
So, we can be mad at the Bengals for not getting that two-point conversion and helping us with the over, but we can’t be mad at their overall effort in this game. We have a proven track record picking with underdogs of 14 points or more this season, but with Jeff Driskell at quarterback for Cincinnati, we were taking a chance. He actually played fairly well and rewarded our confidence in the team.
That now makes us 3-for-3 this season in picking big-time underdogs, so let’s keep an eye out for those down the stretch. That could be tricky with many good teams clinching playoff spots, but with the the race for home field in the AFC and NFC heating up, we should be able to rely on this method for at least the next couple weeks. Total payout: $7.33.
WIN: Lions -2.5 vs. Cardinals (-115): Lions 17, Cardinals 3.
This was a really gross game, but hey, the Lions covered and that’s all we care about. It was 3-0 Lions at halftime and it barely got more entertaining in the second half. Matthew Stafford had one of the worst games of his career, barely managing 100 yards, but his defense got the job done. Arizona, which looked decent against the Packers, wasn’t able to muster anything against Detroit’s D.
If you didn’t watch this game, but bet it and collected your winnings, good for you. You got the best of both worlds. This was not a game worth watching, but the fact we won some money doing it made it just a little bit easier on the eyes. Total payout: $7.48.
PIGGY BANK: $309.89 (10.7% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 59.7% (40-27-3)
We're nearing the finish line as we enter Week 14. There is still plenty to be decided throughout the NFL, but it's betting weeks down the stretch like this that separate the men from the boys. You have to take things like motivation into account this late in the season. When neither team
We’re nearing the finish line as we enter Week 14. There is still plenty to be decided throughout the NFL, but it’s betting weeks down the stretch like this that separate the men from the boys. You have to take things like motivation into account this late in the season. When neither team has anything to play for, how do you properly predict an outcome? We’re mostly staying away from games like that and keeping our tried and true formula of three game picks and two over/unders as we try to build on our 4-1 Week 13 result.
Jets +3.5 at Bills (-115)
Neither of these teams is any good. Buffalo is surging, but the Jets defense is no slouch, so Josh Allen will be challenged. When teams as inept as these two get together, it’s generally a pretty close game. In fact, my money would be on the Bills winning this game by a field goal. Guess what? That means the extra half point on the spread will get us the betting win.
Last week, the Jets came through as 7.5-point underdogs against the Titans. They blew a late lead, but still covered. I’m really liking that extra half point again, because it all but guarantees a betting win as long as this game stays close late. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.48.
Bengals +14.5 at Chargers (-120)
We’re sticking with our tried and true method of picking any team that is favored by more than two touchdowns. We’re 3-for-3 on the season in games like this and now hoping to make it 4-for-4. Make no mistake about it, the Bengals are in free fall and have the worst defense in football. Los Angeles is one of the hottest teams in football, whose offense looked unstoppable against the Steelers in the second half on Sunday Night Football.
Despite all that, we need to remember that at the end of the day, these are two NFL teams and the odds are in our favor that the game will be within two touchdowns. I don’t care if it’s Jeff Driskell starting at QB for Cincinnati, most teams still find a way to keep it closer than two scores. Maybe our time has finally run out on bets like this or maybe the good times keep rolling. I guess we’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.33.
Lions -2.5 at Cardinals (-115)
This point spread is the one that most caught my eye this week. The Lions hung with the Rams for three quarters and now are barely favored against the Cardinals? I know Arizona just went to Lambeau and beat the Packers, but this year’s Pack isn’t your older brother’s Pack. Green Bay just isn’t good this season. Now, neither are the Lions, but they are perfectly capable of going into Phoenix and coming out with a win.
Arizona’s defense is its strong suit, so maybe they pressure Matthew Stafford into some mistakes. If he turns the ball over a few times, the Lions are in trouble. However, Detroit’s offense has shown more consistency and Stafford puts up huge numbers against inferior teams. Look for them to right the ship after a close call against the Rams and easily cover this spread, winning the game by at least a field goal. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.33.
Bengals-Chargers OVER 47.5 (-110)
It is dangerous to bet the point spread and over/under in the same game, because sometimes they work against each other, but in this case, I think it’s worth it. As we said, the Bengals have a terrible defense and the Chargers have a great offense. L.A. is feeling some swagger after a statement win over the Steelers. They’re going to put points on the board, it’s just a matter of if Cincy can hold up it’s end of the bargain.
Let’s imagine a world in which the Bengals cover 14.5 and the over hits. At the minimum it would look something like this: Chargers 31, Bengals 17. That’s a perfectly easy final score to imagine. If the bar for the Bengals is 17 points, I like our chances. It’s a rare move for us to take action twice in the same game, but this seems like a good opportunity to do so. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Patriots-Dolphins UNDER 47 (-110)
This seems like a weird AFC East game where the Patriots let the Dolphins stick around for most of the game only to pull away late. It also seems like in these types of games, there are a lot of field goals. As we know, field goals are the best friend of the under. Again, let’s think about a 30-17 score. Certainly, we could see the Patriots winning by that margin.
However, with Tom Brady less than stellar this season, it might be a little lower scoring than that. New England’s defense has also stepped up in recent weeks, making us believe the Dolphins might struggle to get two touchdowns on the board. New England has been less predictable this year than in past years, but 47 still seems high for a game we expect to be relatively close and relatively low scoring. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
What would be our total payout for this five-team parlay you ask? Well, we’ve come close three times with 4-1 weeks, but have never put together that perfect 5-0 week. If we were to do that this week, we would come away with a cool $467.18.
Our darkest days were followed by our finest hours. After going a disappointing 1-4 a week ago, we got right back on track with a 4-1 showing in Week 13. If it weren't for the Colts literally laying an egg against the Jaguars, we would've hit our big five-team parlay. It's almost like
Our darkest days were followed by our finest hours. After going a disappointing 1-4 a week ago, we got right back on track with a 4-1 showing in Week 13. If it weren’t for the Colts literally laying an egg against the Jaguars, we would’ve hit our big five-team parlay. It’s almost like we can’t trust any AFC South team not named the Texans right now. That started our day off on a sour note, but the rest of the games helped ensure a week back in the black.
LOSS: Colts -5 at Jaguars (-110): Jaguars 6, Colts 0.
What an absolutely disgusting game. Finally, Jacksonville’s defense decided to show up and ended up shutting out one of the hottest offenses in the league. Indy couldn’t get anything going and somehow, Cody Kessler out-dueled Andrew Luck. Perhaps we’re giving Kessler too much credit. Anyway, I hope you didn’t watch this game during the first set of games just because you bet on it. If you did, you missed some other great games.
Everyone but the Texans seems so unpredictable nowadays in the AFC South. Just when you think a red-hot Colts team can beat a Jaguars team riding a seven-game losing streak by a touchdown, you’re proven wrong. As we alluded to, though, this was all we got wrong this week and that’s a good feeling. Total win: $0.
WIN: Raiders +15.5 vs. Chiefs (-110): Chiefs 40, Raiders 33.
Every single time we’ve bet on a team that was an underdog of 14 or more points this season, we have hit. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. It’s just really hard to blow teams out in this league no matter the disparity of talent. Obviously, when we made this pick earlier in the week, we didn’t know Kansas City would be without Kareem Hunt and that certainly helped. Still, Oakland just had a decent showing, especially down the stretch.
Patrick Mahomes continued to do Patrick Mahomes things and threw for another four touchdowns, but the Raiders were able to keep pace on the scoreboard. Down the stretch, we will continue to seriously consider double-digit underdogs, because they’ve already proven this season to be a really wise bet. Total win: $7.60.
WIN: Jets +7.5 vs. Jets (-110): Titans 26, Jets 22.
This was a really tough loss for the Jets as they led nearly the whole way, but we don’t care about that. They covered the spread and that’s what truly great teams do, right? Well, we won’t mentioned the Jets and the word “great” in the same sentence again, but the bottom line is they did enough to cover. It seemed a little ridiculous the Titans were favored by more than a touchdown in the first place and they showed why: their offense is wildly inconsistent.
New York choked down the stretch and Tennessee’s defense clamped down late, so more power to them. They seem to play everyone close (outside of the Patriots) and asking them to win by more than a score proved too hard. We expected as much and will take it to the bank as a result. Total win: $7.60.
WIN: Steelers-Chargers OVER 51.5 points (-110): Chargers 33, Steelers 30.
What a thrilling Sunday Night Football game this was. Things looked very iffy after the first half ended 23-7 Steelers. It looked like it might become a blowout, which always threatens overs. However, the Chargers came out of halftime on fire and rattled off an impressive road win. By early fourth quarter, we already had the over and could just enjoy the final minutes of the game. Both these teams are playoff caliber and it was nice to get a preview of a potential opening round match up.
If a playoff rematch were to be as entertaining as this one, sign me up. Should that happen, I don’t think the floodgates will be as wide open. Scoring tends to go down a bit come playoff time when there’s a chill in the air. Anyway, this over proved to be a really solid bet and it keeps pushing us right along in our mission to get back over the 60 percent pick percentage mark. Total win: $5.70.
WIN: Ravens-Falcons UNDER 48.5 (-110): Ravens 26, Falcons 16.
It’s almost as if we predicted the Falcons would stall out in the red zone and the Ravens wouldn’t blow them out, thus hitting the under. Both those things happened and while it got close at the end, we never really got the feeling the Falcons were going to score again to hit the over. Had they scored a late touchdown, that could’ve made for a really brutal beat, but we avoided that fortunately.
Atlanta is really such a mess right now and with the Steelers losing, Baltimore is right back in the AFC North hunt. When they play again, that will be a big clash of styles and I don’t expect seeing a point spread or over/under that I will feel confident enough in that one. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, though, and for now, rejoice that we are solidly back in the win column. Total win: $9.50.
PIGGY BANK: $287.60 (10.6% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 59.7% (37-25-3)
Following our first bad week since the second week of the season, it's time for us to bounce back. There were a lot of games to like upon first glance in Week 13. Upon further examination, there are five you should really be able to hang your hat on. There's nothing a good
Following our first bad week since the second week of the season, it’s time for us to bounce back. There were a lot of games to like upon first glance in Week 13. Upon further examination, there are five you should really be able to hang your hat on. There’s nothing a good betting week can’t fix and we’re going to do exactly that this Sunday. Let’s get to the picks.
Colts -5 at Jaguars (-110)
You could call this a trap game, but you could also look at what’s plainly apparent: Indy is on the rise and the Jaguars are in free fall. For God’s sake, Jacksonville is starting Cody Kessler at quarterback. He’s going up against Andrew Luck, who’s having a great season behind an incredible offensive line. They’ve kept him upright and he’s gashed opposing defenses.
For some reason, Jacksonville’s defense has been really inconsistent and have been prone to poor performances. The differences in momentum for these two teams should all but seal the deal for the Colts in terms of winning the game. Of course, that doesn’t make them a lock to cover five points, but we’ll rely on them winning by a touchdown to cover the spread. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Raiders +15.5 vs. Chiefs (-110)
We’ve had very good luck betting huge underdogs this year. When we took the Bills +17.5 against the Vikings, they actually won the game. Then, a couple weeks ago, we took the Cardinals +17 against this same Chiefs team and they covered by losing by 12. This isn’t as safe a bet since Oakland is still in the two score realm. Still, though, they just have to cover two touchdowns.
That’s much easier said than done for a Raiders team that has struggled all year long, but at home, they should be able to do just enough to keep the game reasonably close. If the Chiefs offense looks like it did against the Rams, good night. Coming off a bye, that’s perfectly possible. But when a multi-score line is dangled out in front of you like this in the NFL, we’ve learned something this year: you take it. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Jets +7.5 vs. Titans (-110)
I feel iffy taking this, just because the Titans have been so unpredictable this season. One week, their defense looks like world beaters, the next they’re very average. The same can be said for Marcus Mariota who went 22 for 23, 303 yards and 2 TD in a losing effort against the Texans on Monday night. You never know what you’re going to get from them.
For the most part, though, when the Titans win, they win close games. Three of their five wins have come by just a field goal. Yes, their last two wins were by multiple scores, but they’ve also lost their last two games by a collective 45 points, so they’re not exactly riding a hot streak into this game. New York is competent with Josh McCown running the offense and should be able to stay in the game and keep it within a touchdown to cover the spread. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Steelers-Chargers OVER 51.5 points (-110)
Despite L.A. having one of the NFL’s top defenses, this has the makings of a shootout. Phillip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger have been on top of their games in recent weeks and it feels like whoever has the last possession in this one is going to win. As with most over/unders, this will hinge on the flow of the game, which will be established early on. If it becomes a field position battle in the first quarter, we’re doomed. If each team gets a quick score, we’re in good shape.
This is going to be a great playoff atmosphere with each team still alive for a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs (although the Chiefs will have plenty to say on if the Chargers can even win the division). With the Chargers’ penchant for the big play, the over looks mighty fine. It isn’t hard to imagine either side winning this game 30-27 or somewhere in that range. That would get us the over with points to spare. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.
Ravens-Falcons UNDER 48.5 (-110)
This game just screams under. There are a few reasons why this seems like such a solid bet. First of all, the Ravens are very run heavy with Lamar Jackson at quarterback. He runs the ball as much as he passes it, it seems and in the NFL, unlike in college where a first down stops the clock, that means the clock will continue to run. If Baltimore is keeping the ball on the ground, even if they’re running effectively, this over is going to be hard to hit, because there just won’t be enough time.
Add to that the fact the Falcons are incompetent in the red zone and we have the perfect cocktail brewing for the under. As we know, field goals don’t help you hit overs and if the Ravens, the top scoring defense in the NFL, can hold Atlanta to field goals instead of touchdowns, this pick is a lock. There are just too many factors working for the under to ignore. This should be the top pick of the week if you’re only going to take one. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.
As always, we can opine about what it would be like to have a perfect 5-0 week and take home considerable dough. On this particular week, if you take your $20 and parlay these five games, you would walk away with $507.06. I swear, we will get you a perfect week by the end of the season. At the very least, we’re going to get back into the win column this week after our first down week since way back in September. We’ll check in with our winning results after the Sunday games have concluded.
It was bound to happen at some point. We had our worst week in months and were the victim of a number of bad beats this week. We went 1-4, but could have easily gone 3-2. It wasn't pretty, but let's recap exactly what went wrong and how we can learn from it
It was bound to happen at some point. We had our worst week in months and were the victim of a number of bad beats this week. We went 1-4, but could have easily gone 3-2. It wasn’t pretty, but let’s recap exactly what went wrong and how we can learn from it going into the last five weeks of the season.
LOSS: Redskins +7.5 vs. Cowboys (-110): Cowboys 31, Redskins 23.
Our first bad beat of the week came just as Thanksgiving dinner was settling. Despite a poor showing from Colt McCoy, the Redskins actually gave themselves a chance late in this game. If it weren’t for a missed extra point early in the game, they would have lost by just seven points, helping us get the win.
Of course, our luck ran out and we lost the bet by half a point. This really set the stage for the rest of our bets, because boy, was it a rough weekend. Game after game ended in heartbreak, so one terrible game down, three to go. Total payout: $0.
LOSS: Jaguars -3 at Bills (-120): Bills 24, Jaguars 21.
This game was weird and that strangeness did not work in our favor. Down 14-0, the Jags battled all the way back and scored to go up 21-14. However, the call on the field was changed, giving Jacksonville the ball on the one-yard line. In the aftermath of that play, there was an all-out brawl in which star running back Leonard Fournette was ejected from the game. Fournette had been running the Bills over and the bet was essentially dead after that.
With first and goal from the one, the Jaguars had a penalty, Blake Bortles took a sack, and then Josh Lambo missed a 26-yard field goal. It was as excruciating as it gets. Just one year removed from the AFC Championship Game, the Jaguars have now lost seven straight games and are 3-8. Just like our betting from this week, they have plenty to fix. Total payout: $0.
LOSS: Patriots-Jets OVER 46 points (-110): Patriots 27, Jets 13.
Oh, yet another gut punch. With the Patriots up 27-13 with two minutes left in the game, the Jets had third and two from the three-yard line. Instead of running the ball, knowing you should probably be able to get two yards in two tries, they had 39-year-old Josh McCown attempt two low-percentage passes to the corner of the end zone. To call the play calling in that situation infuriating would be an understatement.
Of course, a touchdown in that situation would have pushed the game total to 47, giving us the over, but the betting gods didn’t want us to have nice things this week. New England took over and sat on the ball and no more points were scored. Total payout: $0.
WIN: 49ers-Buccaneers UNDER 55 (-110): Buccaneers 27, 49ers 9.
Our only win of the weekend was probably the least exciting game as well. When you’re rooting for the under, sometimes you have to root for a bland game and that’s exactly what we got with Bucs-49ers. There was some scoring early, but San Francisco flatlined by the second quarter. It turns out Nick Mullens may not be the answer at quarterback.
By the fourth, this one was a lock, the Buccaneers already firmly in control. The best thing this game did for us was save us the potential embarrassment of an 0-5 week. In a week where everything went wrong, we’ll take it. Total payout: $5.70.
LOSS: Steelers -3 vs. Broncos (-115): Broncos 24, Steelers 17.
Okay, back to the heartbreak. Denver has been frisky lately, but with the Steelers possessing many more offensive weapons, this seemed like an easy pick. However, Denver made it hard on Big Ben and Co. all day long. Two interceptions helped key the win. First, with Pittsburgh up 17-10, the Broncos picked him off near midfield. Had the Steelers scored on that possession, it would have been the nail in the coffin.
Instead, Denver scored to tie it and then scored again to take the lead. This game seemed destined for overtime with the Steelers looking to punch the ball in from the two-yard line. Instead, Big Ben threw a backbreaking interception that sealed the deal and helped the Broncos to their second straight upset win. Last week, that upset helped us. This week, it hurt us. Total payout: $0.
PIGGY BANK: $257.20 (7.2% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 57.9% (33-24-3)
Our picks continue to hit week after week and we'll try to avoid a slump in Week 12. Thanksgiving unders are always a solid bet, but oddsmakers have been catching up to that in recent years, so we will stay away. As we have in past weeks, we will split our money between
Our picks continue to hit week after week and we’ll try to avoid a slump in Week 12. Thanksgiving unders are always a solid bet, but oddsmakers have been catching up to that in recent years, so we will stay away. As we have in past weeks, we will split our money between point spreads and over/unders. For five weeks in a row, we’ve gone at least 3-2, let’s make it six in a row, what do you say?
Redskins +7.5 at Cowboys (-110)
This is the only pick we will have from Thanksgiving and I think it’s a good one. QB Alex Smith being out for the year is a big loss for Washington and it will likely end their playoff hopes (although they do play in the NFC East after all). However, backup Colt McCoy has the confidence of the coaching staff, because he knows this offense as well as anybody. He doesn’t have the same capability that Smith does, the Washington’s strength is its defense anyway.
In a rivalry game, even with the Redskins starting a backup quarterback, getting more than a touchdown spread is too good to pass up. We’ve had good luck betting both against and on the Redskins, so let’s keep the good times rolling. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Jaguars -3 at Bills (-120)
Have the Jaguars majorly disappointed this season? Of course they have. Are they on the same level as the Bills? No, they are not. Jacksonville’s defense reminded us how good they can be after shutting down the Steelers for most of last week. If they have a similar performance Sunday, Buffalo isn’t going to score more than 10 points.
The Jaguars are in the middle of an identity crisis right now and their offense is completely out of sorts, but they should be able to score enough to cover a three-point spread. This might not be the most fun game to watch, but it’ll be a lot more fun if it wins you this bet. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.17.
Steelers -3 at Broncos (-115)
We bet on the Broncos to cover +7.5 against the Chargers last week and they won straight up. Against a Steelers team that just got a scare from the Jaguars, they’re primed for a letdown game. Pittsburgh is pushing for a first-round bye in the playoffs and is the much more talented team. The Le’Veon Bell saga behind them, now the Steelers can focus on this year’s playoff push.
Big Ben and the offense finally got going at the end of their game last week and should be able to pick back up where they left off. If past Broncos games are any indication, this should be a close game, but it’s one Pittsburgh should be able to take care of business in. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.35.
Patriots-Jets OVER 46 (-110)
While the Patriots might blow New York out, the New England defense isn’t very good either. Something like a 30-17 game would push this game over. Tom Brady and Co. haven’t been as prolific as of late, so this looks like a potential bounce-back game for them. Let’s say it ends up 37-20, or something along those lines; we’d be completely fine as far as the over goes.
This bet definitely only works if the Patriots contribute to most of the point total. If they stall out in the 20’s, we’re in trouble. However, if they go up over the 30-point mark as a team, this over is almost a sure thing. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.
49ers-Buccaneers UNDER 55 (-110)
Yes, both these teams have put up pretty good offensive numbers lately, but neither is very good overall and I just can’t believe they’re going to combine for 56 points or more. I mean, c’mon, Jameis Winston is starting at quarterback for Tampa Bay. He’s going to turn it over in a few key spots. Nick Mullens has been really solid in the first two starts of his career, but will that continue?
We’ll see if he can impress us again, but I’m not buying it. This over would require both teams outplaying projections of where I see them finishing. It should be a competitive game, but it will be in the 20’s, not the 30’s. After going 2-for-2 in over/unders last week, let’s try to duplicate the feat in Week 12. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.
Our dream of a 5-for-5 parlay hit would make us a lot of money on a $20 bet. In fact, it would make us a cool $476.93. Keep daring to dream. We’ll check in on these picks early next week.
Well, for the fifth straight week and for the ninth time in 11 tries this season, we won more than we lost out of our five betting picks. Last week, we had the point spreads down and floundered on game picks. This week, we had it the other way around. Either way, another
Well, for the fifth straight week and for the ninth time in 11 tries this season, we won more than we lost out of our five betting picks. Last week, we had the point spreads down and floundered on game picks. This week, we had it the other way around. Either way, another 3-2 week keeps our pick percentage right around 60 percent.
Unfortunately, the Falcons were our most confident pick this week and they couldn’t come through, so we didn’t build on our recent gains.
WIN: Packers-Seahawks OVER 49.5 (-110): Seahawks 27, Packers 24.
Wow, this one was close. As the over/unders so often are, Vegas was spot on here. The Packers and Seahawks battled into a tie in the 20’s, making this a nailbiter for bettors on both sides of the equation. Luckily for us, Russell Wilson came up with some magic down the stretch and despite Aaron Rodgers’ inability to answer, we were primed for the over to hit at the next score.
When Seattle kicked the go-ahead field goal to win it, that’s what pushed it over the edge. We got it by the slimmest of margins, but we’re certainly not complaining. Total payout: $3.80.
LOSS: Falcons -3 vs. Cowboys (-120): Cowboys 22, Falcons 19.
It continues to amaze me how bad the Falcons can be with as much talent as they have on the offensive side of the ball. Steve Sarkisian’s offense just refuses to get off the ground and this entire game was frustrating to watch. Time and time again, Atlanta’s defense got stops to give the offense a chance. Time and time again, the offense sputtered and either had to settle for a field goal or were kept out of field-goal range entirely.
They made things interesting by tying things up at 19 via a 34-yard strike from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones, but then Dallas drove right down the field in the closing minutes. We had to root for a missed chip shot field goal to send things to overtime and give us a chance, but it wasn’t to be. Atlanta screwed us over, but we can take solace in the fact the loss likely ended their playoff hopes. Total payout: $0.
LOSS: Panthers -4.5 vs. Lions (-110): Lions 20, Panthers 19.
Speaking of frustrating, wow, it was hard to watch how this one went down. Carolina kicker Graham Gano missed an easy field goal and an extra point, which not only cost us four points on the spread, but it ended up guaranteeing we couldn’t win this bet at the end of the game. The Panthers scored with just a minute left and an extra point would have likely sent the game to overtime.
However, with so little faith in their kicker, they sent the offense back out there to go for two and the win. That created a lose-lose situation for us, because the only way for us to win would be Carolina to send it to overtime and have a walk-off touchdown. With this decision, they would either win by one or lose by one, and neither did us any good. Since they didn’t cover, they didn’t deserve to win anyway and Carolina fell to the previously 3-6 Lions to make our day a little worse. Total payout: $0.
WIN: Titans-Colts UNDER 49 (-110): Colts 38, Titans 10.
God almighty, this one was close. When Marcus Mariota went down, it seemed all but locked up until Tennessee’s once feared defense became inept. Andrew Luck and Co. were scoring at will and it got more and more tense as the total approached 49. Indy scored to go up 38-3 and everything still felt pretty good until the Titans found the end zone for the first time, leaving us one fluke play away from losing the bet.
Luckily, with the point total sitting at 48, one below the line, the Titans kicked off to the Colts and they were happy to take knees and run out the clock. This one made us sweat, but in the end, it went our way making us 2-for-2 in over/under picks this week. Total payout: $7.60.
WIN: Broncos +7.5 at Chargers (-120): Broncos 23, Chargers 22.
We should’ve bet the money line! Denver somehow found a way to pull this game out with a field goal as time expired and we would’ve been a lot richer had we had enough confidence in them to win the game outright. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and we won our bet, so we should stop complaining.
While they haven’t been super successful this season, the Broncos have been feisty at times and that’s what we were relying on in this game. They came through and because of that, we finished above .500 for the fifth consecutive week. Total payout: $3.67.
PIGGY BANK: $251.50 (14.3% return on investment)
PICK SELECTION: 61.5% (32-20-3)
We're starting to pick games with some swagger now. Being well in the black is nice, so let's keep the good times rolling. The lines are set pretty well this week, which makes our jobs a little tougher. There aren't a ton of spreads to like, but we picked out the three you
We’re starting to pick games with some swagger now. Being well in the black is nice, so let’s keep the good times rolling. The lines are set pretty well this week, which makes our jobs a little tougher. There aren’t a ton of spreads to like, but we picked out the three you should be able to bank on the most. As far as over/unders, we have one over and one under for you.
Panthers -4.5 at Lions (-110)
Carolina has never burned us before, right? Just kidding, we took them +4 against the Steelers in a game they lost 52-21 last week. That was the only pick we got wrong in Week 10. Even though they’re on the road, there’s plenty of reason to believe they’re a prime bounceback candidate, just like another team we’ll talk about in a minute.
The Panthers have everything to play for with an NFC Wild Card berth well within their grasp. Detroit, meanwhile, has spiraled into free fall and it seems like head coach Matt Patricia may already have lost that locker room. They waved the white flag the moment they traded Golden Tate and there’s no reason to believe they should be competitive. Detroit is 3-6, but two of those wins have come against the Patriots and Packers, so who knows, but the percentages tell us Carolina wins this game handily. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Falcons -3 vs. Cowboys (-120)
This is our biggest lock of the week. Atlanta is another prime bounceback candidate after randomly getting blown out by the Browns last week. They’re in desperation mode and at home. Yes, the Cowboys’ defense presents some issues for the offense, but Dak Prescott simply isn’t going to outgun Matt Ryan on his home field. It’s not happening.
If the Falcons hope to have any prayer of sneaking into the playoffs, they basically need to win every single one from here on out. Unless Dallas comes out with a crazy effort like they did against the Jaguars several weeks ago, it just doesn’t seem plausible for them to grab this road win. If you’re going to bank on any one of these picks this week, make it this one. The bet: $8 for total payout of $14.66.
Broncos +7.5 at Chargers (-120)
Even as I’m typing this, I don’t feel great about this pick, but the Broncos are a competent enough team to cover a multiple-score spread. Of course, that’s what this is. If Denver loses by a touchdown, they cover. The Chargers have been great this season and have flown under the radar, but they generally don’t score points in bunches.
Expect the Broncos to hang around at least for a bit and then we can hope they keep the game within a touchdown. It might be wishful thinking, but it’s our best bet amongst a group of other less promising spreads this week. The bet: $2 for total payout of $3.67.
Packers-Seahawks OVER 49.5 (-110)
This is a matchup of desperate teams. The Packers are 4-4-1, the Seahawks 4-5. The loser will start to slip out of the playoff picture entirely. Since the game is in Seattle, expect that to level the playing field a bit. These aren’t your older brother’s Seahawks, whose defense struck fear into their opponents. Green Bay’s defense, especially without Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the secondary is vulnerable as well.
When betting over/unders, you essentially need to guess what the game flow is going to be. This certainly seems like it will be a close game that is relatively high scoring. A 30-20 final score would get us our over and that seems perfectly reasonable for how we expect this game to go. It’s not our most confident pick, but it’s a pretty decent bet. The bet: $2 for total payout of $3.80.
Titans-Colts UNDER 49 (-110)
This one is dangerous with the Colts’ offense able to go off at any time, but hey, if the Titans can hold the Patriots defense at bay, they can do the same with the Colts. It’s actually looking more and more like Tennessee has a legit defense, capable of shutting an opponent down. Their offense, while it looked its best all season against New England, is still a work in progress.
All that adds up to a relatively low scoring game, one that keeps us under that 49-point mark. Would anyone be surprised if this game ended 20-17 or somewhere right around there? This over/under seems set really high, so jump on the under in anticipation of a low-scoring game. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
As always, our pipe dream of 5-0 is on the table. We’ve had two 4-1 weeks in our last four, so we’re getting closer. If we nailed all these picks, our parlay payout would be $467.49. We’re going to ride our current hot streak and hope we can get a clean sweep for you this week. Best of luck in Week 11 and we will debrief after the weekend’s action is over.
We are officially rolling. It's been more than a month since we've had a losing week and we are now into the 60 percent pick echelon. That's right, we've picked at the same rate as the pros over a 10-week period, no small sample size. Now that we're rolling, we're well into the
We are officially rolling. It’s been more than a month since we’ve had a losing week and we are now into the 60 percent pick echelon. That’s right, we’ve picked at the same rate as the pros over a 10-week period, no small sample size. Now that we’re rolling, we’re well into the black and will be looking to build on that even more in the coming weeks. Let’s recap our super successful Week 10.
LOSS: Panthers +4 at Steelers (-115): Steelers 52, Panthers 21.
This one got away from us in a hurry on Thursday Night Football. Everyone expected this to be a competitive game between two solid teams, but Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense really took things to another level, especially in the first half. The under was dead by halftime and it was quickly apparent Pittsburgh wasn’t going to give Carolina even a prayer down the stretch.
It happens sometimes and we can’t really predict an offensive performance like we saw Thursday Night. When something like that does happen, you just have to hope it works in your favor. It didn’t this week, but that’s about all that didn’t in an otherwise successful week of picks. Total win: $0.
WIN: Redskins +135 at Buccaneers: Redskins 16, Buccaneers 3.
This line actually somehow moved all the way up to +150 by kick off, but Washington proved why this was another great road underdog pick. Remember, we are now 3-for-3 in picking road underdogs on the money line over the past two weeks. Frankly, this was a gross game; it was 6-3 at half time.
Things got interesting in the second half and honestly, Tampa outplayed Washington for most of the afternoon. Ryan Fitzpatrick and company had more than 400 yards of total offense, but just three points to show for it, because they turned over the ball at the most critical points in the game. After betting against the Redskins successfully last Sunday, we got help from them in the other direction. Total win: $11.75.
WIN: Cardinals +17 at Chiefs (-110): Chiefs 26, Cardinals 14.
This is the second time this season we were handed a three-score spread and took it. I don’t think it’s a coincidence it’s also the second time we’ve won that bet. No matter how bad one team and how good the other, in the NFL 17 points is too much to ignore and Arizona came through for us on Sunday.
If you made this pick like I did, you had a mini heart attack at the end of the game when the Chiefs came up with an interception and started running it the other way. It came very close to turning into a debilitating pick six to push the deficit to 19, but they were pushed out of bounds a couple dozen yards before reaching pay dirt. We’ll thank our lucky stars for that one and move on to the next one. Total win: $7.60.
WIN: Seahawks +10 at Rams (-110): Rams 36, Seahawks 31.
The only dangerous part about this bet was how much worse Seattle plays on the road as opposed to at home. They already lost to L.A. at home, but they were also the more desperate team. Seattle certainly played like it and it put them in a position to be able to win the game. Ultimately, the comeback attempt from Russell Wilson and Co. came up short, but they did their job and covered for us.
It looked like disaster had struck when the Rams strip sacked Wilson, recovered, and then scored a few players later to go up by 12, but Seattle put together a really nice touchdown drive immediately after. They actually got the ball back with time to score, but weren’t able to convert. If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s bet on the Seahawks’ spread, they’ve been great against it. Total win: $7.60.
WIN: Saints-Bengals OVER 54 (-115): Saints 51, Bengals 14.
It sure helps your cause on an over when one team nearly hits the over by themselves. New Orleans was once again possessed on offense on Sunday, leading to a blowout of Cincinnati. Thankfully, each team continued scoring well into the fourth quarter, because even with the Saints’ onslaught, it seemed like scoring might stall out in the third quarter.
At this point, betting a Saints under seems crazy and we were lucky to get on this train before their over/under numbers soar against opponents with strong offenses. This rounds out a really solid week for us and makes us 1-for-1 on over/under picks this week. Total win: $7.40.
PIGGY BANK: $236.43 (18.2% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 61.7% (29-18-3)
Welcome to Week 10 of the NFL season as we have been on a roll with this column lately. Luck never seems to last long in the sports betting world, but we will ride this wave as long as we can. Since we went 3-0 on point spreads/underdog game picks last week, we're
Welcome to Week 10 of the NFL season as we have been on a roll with this column lately. Luck never seems to last long in the sports betting world, but we will ride this wave as long as we can. Since we went 3-0 on point spreads/underdog game picks last week, we’re going back to that well heavily today. We’re going to have four point spread picks with one over/under kicker. There are some interesting lines out there this week, so let’s get to it.
Panthers +4 at Steelers (-115)
Both these teams are red hot and this should be one of the best games of the week. For once, we get a really good Thursday Night game. On a short week, both teams are going to be tired and it might be a little sloppier than we’ve seen from Carolina and Pittsburgh the last several weeks. The nod probably goes to Pittsburgh, because they’re at home, but when it’s two really good teams, you have to take the side getting four points.
We’ll be hoping for a Steelers three-point win or even the Panthers to pull this one out on the road and keep their hot play going. Either of those will win us some money, so we won’t be picky. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.61.
Redskins +135 over Buccaneers
One week after picking against the Redskins when they were home favorites, we’re turning the tables and picking them to win straight up as road dogs this week. Washington was embarrassed by Atlanta in D.C. a week ago and to keep pace with the Eagles, this is a game they have to win. Jameis and Tampa have looked terrible as of late and there’s no reason to think that ends this week.
Look for Washington to get back on track and rather than betting on them +3 with a -115 payout, just go for it and bet them straight up to win at +135 payout. It’s much better value and you have to like their chances of winning outright. The bet: $5 for total payout of $11.75.
Cardinals +17 at Chiefs (-110)
No matter how one-sided the match up, I just can’t bring myself to believe that an NFL team can’t cover a three-score spread. We had this same feeling when we bet the Bills +17 against the Vikings earlier in the season. Somehow, the Bills won that game outright, the biggest upset statistically in a few decades. That ain’t happening with the Cardinals, but Arizona’s defense is nothing to scoff at.
While Kansas City has been blowing most teams out of the water, this feels a lot more like a 10-point game, because the Cardinals are going to try and control the clock and keep the ball out of Patrick Mahomes’ hands. If a team can’t cover a 17-point spread, we deserve to lose the bet anyway, so let’s roll with it. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Seahawks +10 at Rams (-110)
Both these teams lost last week and Seattle is now on the brink of falling out of playoff contention. With L.A. losing home field throughout the playoffs for the time being based on their loss to the Saints, each of these teams is going to be playing desperate. Expect the Rams to win this game, but it should be much closer than the spread indicates.
Certainly, Seattle plays much better at home (where they pushed a +3 spread against the Rams earlier this season), but they’ve shown they can hang offensively when they need to. With two opponents so familiar with each other, it’s hard to bet against the team getting 10 points. Betting with the team getting points seems to be the theme this week, but that’s just how the spreads have played out. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.
Saints-Bengals OVER 54 (-115)
This very well could be an overreaction on my part to the Saints and Rams shattering my under pick last week (it was 60, the teams combined for 80). However, this really does seem like a solid bet. With A.J. Green out, the Bengals offense will be less dynamic, but as long as they get Joe Mixon in space, that will open up passing lanes for Andy Dalton to hit Tyler Boyd and others.
New Orleans should certainly be seen as the favorite in this game and we will be in good shape if they open up an early lead, because that will force Cincinnati to play catch up. That’s what happened to the Rams last week and we saw the end result there. Here’s to righting that wrong and taking the over this week instead of the under when it comes to the Saints. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.40.
As we do every week, let’s calculate our dream scenario where we go 5-for-5. We’ve been on a hot streak, so never say never. In that case, a $20 parlay would make us $598.95. We’ll keep dreaming of that, but I’m sure you’d all be fine going 3-for-5 every week as we’ve been doing all season long. Happy betting and we will check in after this weekend’s games.
Maybe I should stick to straight game picks and ditch the over/unders. We went 3-2 again this week, getting all three game picks right, including two road underdogs. However, we went 0-2 on over/unders and neither of them were particularly close. Luckily, the payouts on those road dog picks are higher, so we
Maybe I should stick to straight game picks and ditch the over/unders. We went 3-2 again this week, getting all three game picks right, including two road underdogs. However, we went 0-2 on over/unders and neither of them were particularly close. Luckily, the payouts on those road dog picks are higher, so we continue to build our stash. Certainly, 3-2 every week ain’t bad, but we’re still waiting for that big payout on a 5-0 week.
LOSS: Dolphins-Jets OVER 45 points (-110): Dolphins 13, Jets 6.
As soon as I read on Sunday morning about these teams being worried about field conditions in Miami, I knew we were in trouble. Poor field conditions never make scoring easier. Sam Darnold threw four interceptions, stopping multiple Jets drives in their tracks. A Dolphins defense that just allowed 42 points to the Texans magically showed up and balled out.
Field goals killed us as they always do with overs, but even if those field goals turned into touchdowns, we would likely still be doomed. There’s no way around it, this one wasn’t even close and that was due to a combination of factors. The win: $0.
LOSS: Saints-Rams UNDER 60 points (-110): Saints 45, Rams 35.
Ouch. Let’s just acknowledge that 60 points is an insane over/under number in NFL betting and the Saints and Rams still shattered it. Despite each team having a high-powered offense, I thought the solid rush defenses for each would limit scoring. Instead, what I said I feared in last week’s column came true: this game became a shootout.
L.A. was down big early and stormed back to tie it before New Orleans scored the last 10 points of the game to seal the win. This was one of, if not the best game of the year so far, it’s just a shame it had to come at our expense. The win: $0.
WIN: Steelers -3 vs. Ravens (-120): Steelers 23, Ravens 16.
Even without Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh is starting to hit its stride. Despite it being a one-score game in the end, the Steelers really controlled this game from the start. The defense is showing signs of life and this is not a team you want to mess with right now. Meanwhile, the Ravens are in a free fall, now losers of three straight games.
We knew getting a line that was under a field goal gave us a chance to win and Pittsburgh went one step further and covered for us. It was just the first of many solid picks we had on point spread and money line this week. The win: $5.50.
WIN: Falcons over Redskins (+110): Falcons 38, Redskins 14.
I was very high on Atlanta going into this match up, but even I did not foresee this flat-out domination by the Falcons. They bullied Washington from the opening kick and did whatever they wanted on offense. We picked this “upset” based on the Falcons having far more talent. That doesn’t always equal a win, but it sure did today.
When the lines came out at the beginning of the week, this one immediately stuck out as one to put some money down on. I’m glad we were wise enough to do it and reap the benefits. Total win: $10.50.
WIN: Texans over Broncos (+120): Texans 19, Broncos 17.
Just barely, Houston was able to hold off Denver for its fifth straight win and it won us some money in the process. The Texans are really starting to roll with the defense and offense seemingly each making strides each week. What should be scary to opposing teams is the fact this Texans team can win different styles of games: low-scoring affairs and shootouts.
Sunday afternoon was the former and Houston showed enough grit to pull it out in a very tough road environment. The Texans are starting to emerge as the clear best team in the AFC South and if they win a couple more, they might emerge as one of the best teams in the entire AFC. I wouldn’t bet against the Steelers, Patriots, or Chiefs right now, but we’re not talking about season-long bets here. All we’re talking about is our piggy bank continuing to grow week by week. Total win: $11.
PIGGY BANK: $201.88 (12.2% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 59.5% (25-17-3)
I like some road dogs this week, boys and girls. We’re riding a hot streak over the last several weeks, so let’s take some chances in Week 9. There are a handful of road dogs I like; I’ve boiled it down to the two I like the most along with three other solid
I like some road dogs this week, boys and girls. We’re riding a hot streak over the last several weeks, so let’s take some chances in Week 9. There are a handful of road dogs I like; I’ve boiled it down to the two I like the most along with three other solid picks for the week. Strap in, we’re officially past the halfway point of the season and this is when teams on the fringe start to make their move.
Steelers -3 at Ravens (-120)
Oddsmakers clearly are close to moving this line even lower since we’re getting this at -120 instead of the standard -110. In a game between two rivals, even though the game is in Baltimore, there’s every reason to believe it’s going to be a close game. Typically, that means a field goal deficit. That gives us the breathing room we always talk about that if Pittsburgh does fall by a field goal, we still earn a push.
Both these teams have been hard to figure out as of late and the Ravens have dropped two straight. The Steelers look to be the Steelers of old, but are they really? This game will tell us a lot. It looks like it will be James Conner back at tailback again with Le’Veon Bell not reporting to the team yet. Even so, I really like Pittsburgh getting three points. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.50.
Falcons over Redskins (+110)
Here is our first road dog of the week that I love. Washington is not nearly as good as their 5-2 record would indicate. They have quality wins over the Packers and Panthers, but they allow teams to stay in games. Say what you will about the Falcons this season, but they are the more desperate team coming into this match up. If they lose, they can pretty much kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.
Every game is a playoff game for Atlanta for a while and this should be a good test of Matt Ryan and Co. I tend to put a lot of stock into which team “wants it more” and based on the standings, you have to think that’s the Falcons in this scenario. Atlanta also just has more pure talent. With them being an underdog paying out +110 for a win, this is a must bet this week. The bet: $5 for total payout of $10.50.
Texans over Broncos (+120)
Here’s our second road dog to jump on this week. Yes, Denver is at home, but I can’t imagine how Houston is +120 when they’ve been the better team and hotter team over the last five weeks. Case Keenum and the Broncos have shown me nothing to convince me they might be for real. Deshaun Watson and the Texans on the other hand? They’ve been red hot, winners of five straight games.
Some may tell you they’re due for a letdown game on the road in a tough environment, but I’m just not buying that. They will be without WR Will Fuller V, who tore his ACL in the team’s Week 8 win over the Dolphins, but DeAndre Hopkins is a one-man wrecking crew, plus RB Lamar Miller broke out against Miami, his former team. There’s a lot to like about this Texans team and the same can’t be said for Denver. Especially with a +120 money line, we have to throw money on this one. The bet: $5 for total payout of $11.
Rams-Saints UNDER 60 points (-110)
We move on to some over/unders and this one seems like a really good bet. The Rams and Saints might just be the best two teams in the NFC and they will be playing indoors and on turf at the Superdome, but 60 is a bit outrageous. Think for a second about the fact the Saints have the best rush defense in the league. That should at least hold Todd Gurley III in check by his extremely high standards. Their pass defense? Well, let’s not ruin a good story with facts (they rank 28th out of 32 teams).
L.A.’s pass defense ranks in the top 10, though, so don’t expect Drew Brees to just have his way. As usual with over/unders, this will largely be decided by the complexion the game takes on early. If both teams score early and it becomes a shootout, we’re in trouble. However, if each team is trying to set the tempo, potentially by trying to establish the run, then the clock keeps running and we’re likely to hit this under. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.
Jets-Dolphins OVER 45 points (-110)
AFC East games not involving the Patriots can be pretty unpredictable. This seems to be the case again this weekend with New York and Miami. We just saw Miami give up 42 points to the Texans. No, the Jets don’t have nearly the firepower that Houston does, but they have to be licking their chops after mustering just 10 points against a top 5 defense in the Bears over the weekend.
You would imagine this game would be close, and if it is, that’s how our over is going to hit. If this somehow becomes a blowout one way or the other, we’re probably in some trouble. It’s easy to imagine a 27-20 type game and that puts us right at the over. This might be a bit of a reach, but a lot of the over/unders this week seemed to be spot on, so this is a pretty good option if you’re a fan of those types of bets. The bet: $2 for total payout of $3.80.
As usual, we’ll dare to dream and see what we’d make if we parlay these five games together with our $20 to spend. Since we took two road underdogs this week, the payout will be even higher than we’ve seen in recent weeks. On this five-game parlay, you would make $617.23 on a $20 bet. We’ve been close a few times with ⅘ picks correct, but we’ve yet to have a perfect 5/5 week. Here’s to hoping that changes this week. Happy betting!
We started off so promisingly. Our week began 3-for-3, giving us hope for hitting a big five-team parlay, but the primetime games let us down. First, the Vikings couldn’t defend home field and then the Patriots couldn’t convert field goals into touchdowns. All in all, though, we keep climbing further into the black
We started off so promisingly. Our week began 3-for-3, giving us hope for hitting a big five-team parlay, but the primetime games let us down. First, the Vikings couldn’t defend home field and then the Patriots couldn’t convert field goals into touchdowns. All in all, though, we keep climbing further into the black and we’ll take that as we move our percentage to the magical 60 percent mark.
WIN: Colts -3 at Raiders (-115): Colts 42, Raiders 28.
Like I said in the column this week, the Raiders have given up. Not only are they a bad team, they don’t have anyone buying in anymore. That’s pretty much how it’s going to be the rest of the season. How else do you expect a team to respond after it has traded three of its most valuable assets in a clear move toward a rebuild?
Indy, for their part, came back to life on offense as Andrew Luck showed this team can still contend for the playoffs. At -3, this game was way too hard to pass up and I’m happy we didn’t. The win: $7.48.
WIN: Packers +9 at Rams (-110): Rams 29, Packers 27.
You just can’t bet against Aaron Rodgers as a multiple-score underdog. No matter the deficiencies around him in Green Bay, Rodgers finds a way to keep the Packers in games and he did that in LA against the NFL’s most complete team. He ultimately didn’t get the win, but he kept it close, which is all we needed.
The Rams have been dominant, but they’ve been close in a handful of games this season. Watch out for oddsmakers overestimating them on the point spread just because they have an unblemished record. It will certainly be something to watch as they have teams like the Saints and Chiefs coming up on the schedule soon. The win: $7.64.
LOSS: Vikings -1 vs. Saints (-110): Saints 30, Vikings 20.
I thought the Saints would be flat on the road coming off an improbable win over the Ravens, but I was very wrong. Both teams felt each other out before New Orleans ignited in the second half and ran away with the game. They’ve been dealing with injuries, but this Minnesota defense just hasn’t been as good as expected so far this season.
This game also showed the Saints are right in the top tier of the conference and are a serious contender for a first-round bye in the playoffs. While their pass defense may leave something to be desired, their rush defense is tops in the league and when you group that with their high-powered offense, they start to look very scary. The win: $0.
WIN: Broncos-Chiefs UNDER 55 (-110): Chiefs 30, Broncos 23.
We just barely escaped on this one. Luckily, scoring slowed down in the second half or we would’ve been done for. Denver’s defense clamped down and kept things close and we can thank them for that as it saved this bet. If you bet Broncos +10, you can also thank the defense for helping you win that bet.
Despite the run-and-gun Chiefs’ offense, I thought this might be a week where they slow down slightly. As sad as it is, 30 points is slowing down for Kansas City. Even another field goal for either side would have hit this over, but we got just what we needed and we will certainly take it. The win: $7.64.
LOSS: Patriots-Bills OVER 44 (-110): Patriots 25, Bills 6.
This really wasn’t even as close as the final score would indicate. New England routinely stalled out in the red zone and was forced to kick field goals. As we know, field goals are the best friend of the under and it burned us tonight. If New England could’ve found the end zone a few times instead of settling for field goal tries, we probably woudl’ve gotten the over to hit.
A late pick six made it look close and gave us a shred of hope. However, the Bills offense is just anemic with Josh Allen injured and them scoring six points the entire game did us no favors. Playing at home, I thought they might be able to muster up enough points in a two-score loss that the over would it. As it turns out, I was wrong about that. The win: $0.
PIGGY BANK: $174.88 (9.3% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 59.5% (22-15-3)
We’re finally in the black as promised. That was hard. Now, the hard part is staying there. That starts with Week 8 picks, which seem particularly tough. It looks like odds makers are fine tuning their lines well as the season gets deeper, because it was really hard to find bets to like
We’re finally in the black as promised. That was hard. Now, the hard part is staying there. That starts with Week 8 picks, which seem particularly tough. It looks like odds makers are fine tuning their lines well as the season gets deeper, because it was really hard to find bets to like this week. Still, we have a column to write, so there were five worth writing about.
Since there’s nothing that jumps out at me as a “lock” (there’s no such thing), we’re just going to throw the same amount of money on all these games and hope we at least go 3-2 and keep building up our stacks of cash.
Colts -3 at Raiders (-115)
In case you hadn’t noticed, the Raiders are in complete disarray. The trade of Amari Cooper isn’t going to affect their on-field product through lost production. He had been injured and under performing all year long. However, it is the beginning of a long rebuilding process and nobody wants to deal with that mid-season.
This game might be in Oakland, but with running back Marshawn Lynch headed to the injured reserve, what reason do some of these guys have to be out there? I’m not saying the team is going to completely give up (although they might), but the Colts have more on the line in a mediocre AFC South, so the desperation for the win alone might give them the slight edge. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.48.
Packers +9 at Rams (-110)
It’s just hard to imagine an Aaron Rodgers led team losing by double digits. Yes, they are playing the NFL’s best team on the road and are coming off a near disaster against the 49ers, but it’s still hard to imagine. Green Bay’s pass defense is in the top 10, but it’s run defense is ranked 20th in yards allowed per game. They can’t allow Todd Gurley III to shred them. Easier said than done.
In a game that should take on a playoff-like atmosphere, Rodgers is going to show up. He probably can’t will his injury-riddled team to victory on one leg against football’s best team, but he can certainly keep it within 10 points. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.64.
Vikings -1 vs. Saints (-110)
In a rematch of last year’s classic NFC Divisional Round playoff game, Minnesota and New Orleans square off again, this time with the No. 2 seed in the NFC potentially at stake. That might be getting ahead of ourselves, but this is a big one. The fact it’s in Minnesota makes all the difference. They’ve been rolling and getting this game at home is huge.
The Saints are coming off a lucky 24-23 win in which Justin Tucker missed an extra point that would’ve sent the game into overtime. Rarely, do the football gods let you get away with that unscathed. Expect New Orleans to come crashing back down to earth against another good defense and for Minnesota to hold on late in a potential playoff preview. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.64.
Broncos-Chiefs UNDER 55 (-110)
Divisional games, especially in the AFC West, always seem to be tough. In fact, this very match up already proved to be tough with Denver falling late at home, 27-23. Now, the Broncos are faced with stopping a Kansas City offense that just put up 45 against the Bengals on Sunday Night Football.
While Denver’s defense isn’t nearly as strong as many anticipated it would be, there is reason to believe in this under. One is that Denver’s own offense has really struggled. That opens the door for the under to still hit, even in the case of a blowout. This simply seems like too high an over/under given how these teams have played on defense as of late. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.64.
Patriots-Bills OVER 44 (-110)
If nothing else, bet this over just so you can be entertained watching Derek Anderson try to out duel Tom Brady. Of course, that won’t happen, but the Patriots defense is bad and the Bills should be able to do something on offense. This is likely to be a two-score game, but not 21-7, more like 42-28. We’ve seen it all year long: New England wins shootouts.
Of course, the Bills are depleted on offense, but again, they should put up enough points (grouped with how many points they get gashed by the Patriots for) to easily cover 44 total points. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.64.
No bonus picks this week; there simply aren’t enough good games to give you any more options. Let’s hope the sports betting gods don’t take spite on us for winning two bets on that Justin Tucker missed extra point last week. Those things always seem to have a way of evening themselves out…
THANK YOU, JUSTIN TUCKER. The missed extra point heard ‘round the world saved us from near disaster this week. Everything looked great. We were ready to go 4-1 on the week and then the Ravens decided to complicate things. We’ll talk about all that and more in this week’s results column, but suffice
THANK YOU, JUSTIN TUCKER. The missed extra point heard ‘round the world saved us from near disaster this week. Everything looked great. We were ready to go 4-1 on the week and then the Ravens decided to complicate things. We’ll talk about all that and more in this week’s results column, but suffice it to say we got pretty lucky.
WIN: Vikings -4 vs. Jets (-110): Vikings 37, Jets 17.
There were a few points where the Jets made this bet seem like it could finish close, but ultimately, the Vikings were just too much. We thought the -4 line looked too good to be true, but it turns out it wasn’t. We got good Kirk Cousins Sunday, which all but guaranteed we were in the clear.
Minnesota looks to be rolling right now and we will see if the oddsmakers catch up to that in future weeks when they’re setting lines. The win: $5.70.
WIN: Texans +5 vs. Jaguars (-105): Texans 20, Jaguars 7.
The Jaguars are a mess right now and boy, did we benefit from that mess. In hindsight, it would’ve been great to bet the Texans’ money line since they ended up winning the game outright. Even as it is, we got good value at -105, meaning oddsmakers really thought this was going to be a touchdown game.
Blake Bortles forgot how to play football and was replaced by Cody Kessler in the second half, but that didn’t help the Jaguars enough to get them back into the game. After starting 0-3, Houston is now in first place in the AFC South and after winning us our bet, we should be happy about that. Total win: $7.81.
LOSS: Panthers-Eagles OVER 45.5 (-110): Panthers 21, Eagles 17.
We looked doomed from the start until the two teams made things very interesting near the end of the game. Philly was driving before their drive stalled late. Had they scored and made it 24-21, we could’ve rooted for a Panther field goal to push us over and send things to overtime. As it happens, it wasn’t meant to be.
It turns out the betting gods really were on our side Sunday, though, as we will talk about in a minute. That being said, we can’t complain too much about not getting this backdoor cover, because it was our only blemish on the day. Total win: $0.
WIN: Saints over Ravens (+120): Saints 24, Ravens 23.
This was our upset pick of the week and it hit. Of course, this should have gone to overtime, but we will take it. It was a truly wild game with the Ravens seemingly tying the game before Justin Tucker missed his first extra point in 223 career tries. Baltimore looked like they were going to completely screw us over, but we somehow managed to escape.
Had Tucker drilled the extra point, we likely would have seen overtime, which would have made it impossible to win our Saints bet as well as our under bet. We’ll count our blessings as well as our winnings. The win: $6.60.
WIN: Saints-Ravens UNDER 49.5: Saints 24, Ravens 23.
This seemed like a mortal lock as the score sat at 3-0 Ravens six minutes before the half, but we very nearly had our hearts broken. A spurt of offense down the stretch almost pushed this thing over. As we mentioned, though, the Tucker missed extra point saved the day on both fronts.
Had he made it, the game would have been tied at 24. This was our biggest bet of the day and the only way to win it would have been a 24-24 tie. Thank goodness we didn’t have to root for that and narrowly escaped with both our bets in tact from this game. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you, Justin Tucker for finally putting us into the green on the season. Total win: $15.20.
PIGGY BANK: $152.12 (8.7% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 59.4% (19-13-3)
We’re back for Week 7 picks and there’s actually plenty to like, at least on paper. When I sat down and wrote which games I would consider betting this week, I came up with nine. That’s much higher than what I normally come up with. For the sake of the column, I’ve whittled
We’re back for Week 7 picks and there’s actually plenty to like, at least on paper. When I sat down and wrote which games I would consider betting this week, I came up with nine. That’s much higher than what I normally come up with. For the sake of the column, I’ve whittled it down to the five I’m most confident in.
Just like last week, we’re gonna put much more money on the highest confidence pick than the others. That’s the only way we’re going to start making considerable money (unless, of course, we run the table and go 5 for 5). For the first time all year, that high confidence is in an over/under.
Vikings -4 at Jets (-110)
The Jets offense looked revived against the Colts last Sunday, but Indy is also the most injured team in football. New York may be a little better than we gave them credit for, but the Vikings are hitting their stride too and their ceiling is much higher than the Jets. Kirk Cousins’ weird dance in the end zone against the Cardinals doesn’t do them any favors in the style points department, but he’s really starting to gain command of that offense.
It looks like Dalvin Cook should finally be back for this game as well. Even if he’s limited, having the two-headed monster of Cook and Latavius Murray should open up Minnesota’s passing game even more. It’s always scary betting a team that’s over a touchdown favorite, but I’m confident enough in the fact the Vikings have now found their groove that I’m comfortable giving those points even on the road. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.
Texans +5 at Jaguars (-105)
Yes, the Jaguars defense is (or maybe “was” is a more accurate term) the best defense in football, but the Texans are red hot. Jacksonville is coming off allowing 37 points to the anemic Cowboys offense. Deshaun Watson and Co. have been close in every game. They’ve lost their three games this season by a combined 15 points. That means even if the Jags get some of their mojo back, Houston should keep things interesting.
It’s hard to say whether or not the Jaguars offense is completely broken, but it’s certainly been hampered without RB Leonard Fournette in the lineup. Houston’s defense is tough as well and in a game that should be low scoring, five points is too much for us to pass up. Texans cover on the road. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.81.
Saints over Ravens (+120)
Here’s an upset pick for you. New Orleans has been bouncing between a 2 and 2.5-point underdog against Baltimore this week. Yes, they are coming off an emotional game in which Drew Brees broke the passing record, so they’re primed for a letdown. However, expect this one to come down to the final possession. The Saints’ high-powered offense against the Ravens’ high-powered defense will create an interesting dynamic.
I could see this one going either way, so I’m going to go where the value lies and that’s with the Saints being +120 straight up to win. As a general rule, whenever a team is +2.5 or lower as an underdog, I will just bet them to win. There isn’t a ton of value in getting those points, because very rarely is a game decided by 1 or 2 points. The bet: $3 for total payout of $6.60.
Panthers-Eagles OVER 45.5 (-110)
The Panthers are coming off a letdown game against the Redskins and the Eagles will have had 11 days to prepare for this matchup. With Carson Wentz starting to look good in this offense again, Philly should be able to hold their own on offense. After a slow start last Sunday, Cam Newton and his offensive weapons should be able to put up some points as well. Greg Olsen being in the lineup makes a huge difference.
This game will be dictated by tempo and early field position, so if we can get some points on the board early, we should be in good shape. Worst-case scenario for us would be a field position battle in the first half. We need a close shootout, so that both teams are still taking shots downfield late into the game. The bet: $2 for total payout of $3.70.
Saints-Ravens UNDER 49.5 (-110)
I LOVE this pick. This is the big one this week. Do you know how many points Baltimore has allowed over their last two games combined? I’ll save you the 10-second Google search: the answer is 12. They’ve given up just 12 points over the last two games. Granted, that was against the Browns and Titans and they lost one of those games, but those are still NFL teams they’re shutting down.
Drew Brees and New Orleans will be a different beast, but do we expect this game to finish 30-20? Even then, that would hit the over by just half a point. Who knows, it could develop into a shootout, but I certainly don’t see it. As long as Baltimore can avoid giving up the big play that New Orleans is known for, this under should be safe. Especially with the Ravens having to settle for so many field goals this season (eight combined between Weeks 4 & 5), the under should be safe. The bet: $8 for total payout of $15.20.
BONUS PICKS: For the first time in weeks, I’m going to give you some bonus picks, because there’s a lot to love this Sunday. We aren’t going to go one-by-one and explain them all, but there are a handful of promising spreads and picks this week. The picks: Bucs -3 vs. Browns, Bills +7.5 vs. Colts, Titans-Chargers OVER 45, Vikings-Jets UNDER 47.
As always, we will calculate our pipe dream of going 5 for 5 this week, by letting you know the parlay payout for our main bets this week. If all five of them hit, we’d be in the green to the tune of $597.52. Let’s hope for that, but if all else fails, we really need that Saints-Ravens UNDER to hit. Happy betting and we’ll check back in early next week.
The Patriots came so close to putting us very much in the green, but their inability to hold a double-digit halftime lead put our dreams on hold. Still, as it was, we had a very good week, going 3-1-1, making it our fifth week out of six where we avoided going under .500.
The Patriots came so close to putting us very much in the green, but their inability to hold a double-digit halftime lead put our dreams on hold. Still, as it was, we had a very good week, going 3-1-1, making it our fifth week out of six where we avoided going under .500. Unfortunately, we took a shot with $10 of our $20 budget on the Patriots, so that game was where all the money was this week.
That being said, we still grabbed a return on investment of about 25 percent this week and have pulled almost exactly even on the season. Our pick percentage is also sitting at 56 percent, meaning that if it creeps a little bit higher in the coming weeks, we’ll be close to the professional standard of 60 percent.
LOSS: Panthers over Redskins (EVEN): Redskins 23, Panthers 17.
Oh, so close. Like I said, we had every reason to think the Panthers would drop this one, but their talent should have won out. Washington went up 17-0 and I gave up on Carolina. However, they climbed back into the game and were in the red zone when they failed to convert on fourth and 5 to end the game.
Cam Newton and Co. got hot just a little too late and they fell on the road to a Washington team that looked terrible a week ago. That’s just the NFL sometimes. The fact the Panthers even made this close at the end made this one exciting. Unfortunately, they couldn’t come through in the end. Total win: $0.
WIN: Seahawks -3 vs. Raiders (EVEN): Seahawks 27, Raiders 3.
They say the Seahawks are a different team away from home. They were REALLY far from home this week as this game was played in London, but it didn’t seem to affect Seattle. Russell Wilson and his talented receiving corps picked apart the Raiders secondary and dominated from the jump. Even more importantly for the Seahawks, the defense balled out as well, forcing turnover after turnover.
By the end of the first half, this one wasn’t in doubt and it felt good knowing we were going to have a game in the win column early in the day. We should also keep in mind that Seattle has been great against the spread this season, losing against it only once. Total win: $6.
WIN: Ravens -3 at Titans (-110): Ravens 21, Titans 0.
This game wasn’t the prettiest to watch, but Baltimore easily covered and that’s all we really care about. That defense is scary, now allowing just 12 total points over their last two games. They also found more ways to get Lamar Jackson involved in the offense and he provided a spark. We’ll keep this in mind for potential unders to bet in the future, although you can guess oddsmakers are probably already catching onto this defensive trend.
Tennessee has been feisty this season, ruining several spreads including when they came back and beat the Eagles in overtime to lose us a bet. They showed very little fight today, though, and just like Seattle, Baltimore provided us with plenty of breathing room and the confidence that we were in for a good week. Total win: $5.70.
WIN: Jaguars-Cowboys OVER 40.5 points: Cowboys 40, Jaguars 7.
I certainly can’t claim to have foreseen this outcome, but hey, it won us our bet. Nobody or their moms thought Dallas would put up 40 points on the Jaguars’ defense. It just doesn’t make sense. One of the NFL’s most anemic offenses simply torched the league’s best defense. Blake Bortles also looked terrible for the second week in a row. They have to get something figured out with him or they aren’t winning the division again.
After Dallas hopped out to a 24-0 lead, this seemed like a sure win since Jacksonville would be playing catch up, but it actually ended up being close. The Jags were never able to get anything going offensively, so thank goodness the Cowboys added another touchdown of insurance or this game would’ve ended at 33-7, good enough to break our hearts by half a point. Total win: $3.80.
PUSH: Patriots -3 vs. Chiefs (-110): Patriots 43, Chiefs 40.
We can’t ever have nice things, can we? We would have had a phenomenal day if the Patriots could have better protected their 15-point halftime lead, but I suppose we will settle for a push. New England looked unstoppable in the first half and Kansas City had to keep settling for field goals. In the second half, those field goals turned into trouble and allowed the Chiefs to take the lead at one point late.
It really would have been nice to chalk this one up in the win column and be way up for the season, but as it is, we’re moving on up and that pick percentage continues to rise as well. As we look ahead to next week, it again will be all about picking how much to put on each game. Our only problem this season has been putting small money on our winning picks. Let’s keep reversing that trend into Week 7. Total win: $10.
PIGGY BANK: $116.81 (-2.7% return on investment)
PICK PERCENTAGE: 56% (15-12-3)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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)
- Pittsburgh Steelers – +1.05 (7-3-0 overall)
- New England Patriots – +1.05 (7-2-1 overall)
- Atlanta Falcons – +0.95 (6-4-0 overall)
- Arizona Cardinals – +0.95 (6-3-1 overall)
- Carolina Panthers – +0.8 (5-5-0 overall)
- Minnesota Vikings – +0.6 (6-3-1 overall)
- Baltimore Ravens – +0.55 (5-3-2 overall)
- Denver Broncos – +0.45 (7-2-1 overall)
- 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.