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NFL 2019: Week #10

Posted by on Nov 11, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

 

 

This past weekend, we remembered the late great Monte Christensen, a brother to many, who was memorialized in a beautiful ceremony with family and friends in Seattle, which I was fortunate to attend.

I opted to make Monte’s memory my focus these past several days.  Accordingly, there were no plays nor analysis for NFL Week #10.

Then on Sunday night, a faint voice swirled in my head which sounded just like Monte.  “You idiot — you should have bet the Dolphins plus the points,” he said.

I’ll be back next Sunday for Week #11.

R.I.P. Monte Christensen.  Thanks for the winners.

 

 

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Willie Nelson (Concert Review)

Posted by on Nov 5, 2019 in Blog, Las Vegas, Music and Concert Reviews | 2 comments

 

 

Willie Nelson Concert Review (October 25, 2019 at The Venetian, Las Vegas)

 

No one can say for sure how many more Willie Nelson stage performances remain now that he’s weathered and wrinkled in the final twilight of an astounding musical journey that first began in 1956.

So, when the opportunity arose to go see the 86-year-old country music outlaw, I viewed my surprising good fortune at getting last-minute tickets not so much a passive performance but a personal pilgrimage.  This was the chance to revere and pay tribute.

Nelson is indeed on the road again, currently in the midst of his 2019 American Tour.  This latest show was held on Friday, October 25th, the first of a six-night engagement at The Venetian Theatre, in Las Vegas.

First and foremost, Nelson remains a uniquely gifted songwriter.  But he’s just as well known as a singer, guitarist, and stage performer.  And a film star.  And a political activist.  And so much, much more.

At a time when live musical authenticity has become exceedingly rare, it wouldn’t have mattered had Nelson taken the stage, forgotten some lyrics, and missed a few notes during the show which clocked in at a racy-fast one-hour and twenty minutes.  No one in the crowd of perhaps 1,800 witnesses arrived on this night expecting to see Shotgun Willie.  Instead, most of the sold-out crowd came to pay homage.  Many wanted to see Nelson a first, or one last time.

The show began promptly at 8 pm with a warm-up act — Tennessee Jet.  I knew nothing at all of Jet, who played an acoustic guitar solo for about 30 minutes, with no other musical accompaniment whatsoever.  This was a stripped down show to the very extreme, no doubt intended to create a mellow atmosphere for what was to come later.  Jet wasn’t going to be Garth Brooks.  This was a soft-spoken man on a stool, plucking notes, singing songs, and telling stories.  Jet was perfectly fine in this role, and just the right length of time as a warm up.

Following a short intermission and some sound adjustments, Willie Nelson entered from stage left to rousing applause.  He was joined by five other musicians.  Behind Nelson and his band, a giant red, white, and blue Texas State flag the size of an Olympic swimming pool served as the backdrop.  Two large in-house television screens provided excellent visuals for everyone in the house to watch Nelson, who would be the exclusive focal point for the remainder of the evening.

Immediately, Nelson took his guitar and launched into “Whiskey River,” a surprising breakout hit from 1972 when the singer initially transitioned from an awkward-looking, hopelessly out-of-place third-rate performer into a long-haired bandana-wearing hippie who no longer attempted to hide his twangy rough-sounding nasal-driven voice.  The rebellious honky-tonk tune brought the crowd to its feet, proving again that Nelson still has the ability to work a room, even in glitzy Las Vegas.

The tight set list included 17 songs, including a mix of new material, a few familiar hits, and (surprisingly) many songs by other fellow country legends.  Spontaneity wasn’t part of this act.  This was a meticulously-scripted show from start to finish, intended to deliver Nelson not so much as a nostalgia act, but an artist who very much remains at country music’s creative apex of past, present, and future.

“This one’s for Merle,” Nelson said to the audience as he gave a solo rendition of “Reasons to Quit,” the 1983 hit he co-wrote with Haggard who passed away a few years ago.  Nelson also paid tribute to the late Waylon Jennings, his fellow Texas outlaw.  Decked in a cowboy hat during the first third of the show, he also sang the old Hank Williams’ chestnut, “Hey, Hey, Good Lookin’.”

Nelson’s vocals were remarkably strong, especially for an octogenarian.  But it was Nelson supurb guitar work that was most impressive and the biggest stunner for those unfamiliar with Nelson’s pedigree and skills as an artist.  Strumming and plucking “Trigger,” his hopelessly faded and beat up wooden guitar that was the only personal belonging salvaged from a 1970 house fire that marked his final goodbye after struggling for years as a songwriter in Nashville, the braided troubadour proved his can still bend the strings and pick notes.  In fact, Nelson’s guitar work was, there’s no other word for it but — exceptional.  Many musical icons can rely on younger backup stage performers to carry the heavy load and fill in details during a performance.  Not Nelson.  He plucks and picks every single lead melody of the entire set himself, and his finger work on the frets could easily be seen on the giant screens.  This was truly amazing to watch.

Given Nelson’s surprising guitar prowess, one of the evening’s highlights was the show’s only instrumental number, “Stardust,” the title song off of his 1982 best-selling masterpiece that once showed an alternative side to Nelson’s songmanship.  However, Nelson’s finest moment came when he performed the crossover 1970 hit, “Yesterday When I Was Young,” written and sung by Roy Clark off his Shades of Country album.  When Nelson with his heavy nasal vibrato sang the song’s final stanza, one could have heard a pin drop:

There are so many songs in me that won't be sung
I feel the bitter taste of tears upon my tongue
The time has come for me to pay for
Yesterday, when I was young.

To say Nelson’s band was restrained would be an understatement.  His backing accompaniment had no drum kit, only brush sticks with a single snare.  One sideman played harmonica.  Another plucked a stand-up bass.  Someone else in the band played soft acoustics.  A big black grand piano took up much of the stage, but never overwhelmed Nelson, the clear frontman conducting the entire performance from beginning to end.  No doubt, the singer-songwriter who’s composed more than 1,000 tunes himself, including 40 top country hits, and knows a great many more classics committed to memory, took understandable comfort in having a small screen monitor directly beneath his feet teleprompting the lyrics.  However, it appeared Nelson didn’t need the visual crutch very often.   He didn’t miss a note, not a lyric.  May we all be so mentally astute when we reach his age.

For those expecting to see and hear more of Willie the unapologetic political and social activist who participated in countless progressive causes over the years, including the annual Farm Aid concert to help support America’s farmers, that particular silo didn’t make an appearance on this night.  His show was remarkably apolitical.  One suspects Nelson might be determined to keep some would-be critics at bay, by not speaking to the crowd about controversial topics, despite the great political and social divide throughout the country.  Alas, this was a moment of reflection and unity.

Forty minutes into the show, a large American flag was unfurled and replaced the Texas flag as the band’s backdrop.  Was this a statement?  Not sure what the point of this display was, perhaps to self-identify himself with Americana, or just to prove to his audience that pot-smoking liberals can be patriots, too.

The evening’s most amusing moment came in the 16th song of the set when Nelson, an avowed proponent of marijuana use and legalization, sang “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.”  Even though the song might not be as well known as his other hits, most of the crowd could be seen and heard singing the catchy chorus along with Nelson, everyone willing to enjoy the free-spirited celebration.

The show did have some gaps.  One major disappointment was Nelson not performing an encore.  After what turned out to be his final song, “Still Not Dead,” off the 2017 God’s Problem Child album, the band returned to the stage and it seemed Nelson would answer the standing ovation for an obligatory curtain call.  However, the auditorium lights then came on and the show was over.  It’s uncertain whether Nelson was simply fatigued, or the 10 pm hour right on the nose marked a preset termination time.  Given this was the first of six straight nights of shows — probably the former.  Nelson would be justified preserving his energy and voice, and no one in the crowd seemed to mind.  But for $120-a-seat tickets, one final song and a hearty farewell from the country icon would have been the perfect closer.  It was only a small blemish on an otherwise wonderful experience.

Curious to learn more, I discovered that Nelson has been forced to cancel some performances in recent months due to his tireless travel and associated bouts with fatigue.  Performances are likely to be inconsistent, from now on.  But at least a few things are certain:  Willie Nelson can still sing and perform just as well as during anytime in his illustrious career, and there won’t be many more chances again to see a legend of this stature who given us so many wonderful songs for more than 60 years and invented an entire genre of music.

You’d be “crazy” not to go and see Willie Nelson if and when you still can.

 

Note:  Thanks to Dan and Sharon Goldman for the show tickets.

 

 

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NFL 2019: Week #9

Posted by on Nov 3, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

 

 

A few interesting stats worth noting heading into NFL Week #9:

— Road teams are 71-45-2 ATS so far this season.

— Division games have leaned strongly to the UNDER, going 23-12 to the low side of the total.

— In 121 games played, so far, UNDERs have prevailed overall, going 65-55-1.

— UNDERs have also produced a small profit across the board in both the first and second half.  First-halves total have landed 64-56-1 to the UNDER.  Second halves have landed 63-54-4 to the UNDER.

 

************************************************

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          24 — 30 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,296.

Current Bankroll:   $6,631.  (- $1,660.)

Last Week’s Results:         2 — 2 — 0  (+ $160.)

*************************************************

 

THIS WEEK’S WAGERS:  This week, I’ve made three wagers.  I’m laying $1,035. to win $900.  Here are the plays:

Indianapolis / Pittsburgh OVER 40.5 — Risking $330 to win $300

Detroit / Oakland OVER 50.5 — Risking $33o to win $300

Jacksonville +7.5 / Chicago +10.5 — Risking $375 to win $300

Possible Late Additions (see Facebook):  Seattle -5, Green Bay -4, and Dallas -6

 

THOUGHTS ON ALL GAMES:

HOU/JAX — HOU is laying -1.5 to JAX in this week’s London game with the total posted at 46.5.  Rain forecast could muddy the track.  I teased the Jaguars up over a touchdown to +7.5.  Although they’ve played weak competition, CIN and NYJ, the Jaguars have won two straight and eclipsed the 20+ point mark in 5 of last six.  Strength of JAX was supposed to be the defense, and they’ve been in fine form lately, holding opponents to just 13, 17, and 15 points respectively.  At 4-4, this is a critical game for JAX, and I expect they’ll keep this one close.  Meanwhile, HOU has not looked good it’s last two games.  HOU played miserably against IND two weeks ago and might have lost at home to OAK had the officiating been more consistent.  HOU will miss Watt on the defensive line this week, which is certainly an advantage to the underdog.  JAX fields the #2 ranked pass defense in NFL and with #2 WR Fuller out for HOU, that could be problematic.  Not a huge factor, but worth mentioning — HOU has never played in London before.  This is the seventh time JAX has played in London, including last season.  So, JAX could be slightly more in tune with these travel demands.  Previous divisional matchup in HOU between these two teams produced a nail-biting 13-12 finale.  Give me the +7.5.  Also lean strongly to JAX at +1.5

WAS /BUF — WAS playing at BUF getting +10.5.  Total is a season-low, at 36.5.  Wind and some drizzle possible in the forecast, which won’t help either passing game.  Total is too low to bet UNDER so the contrarian in me wants to bet the other way.  But WAS offense is beyond anemic — producing just 36 points in its last five games, with zero TD drives their last 14 possessions.  Hard to bet the Redskins in this spot.  BUF hasn’t played well on the offensive side of the ball either.  Does seems like a great rebound situation for BUF which got beat solidly last week at home to PHI.  This is the third straight at home for BUF, which also helps the favorite.  Can’t lay -10.5 with a team that isn’t moving the ball as well as earlier in the season.  This marks the fifth time WAS has been a dog of 10+.  They’ve covered in three of those contests, including the last two weeks.  WAS starting rookie QB Haskins, which reportedly is a rushed decision (translation:  he’s not ready).  Terrible spot to start a rookie on the road off a loss versus a good Bills defense.  Hard to predict what to expect.  Between the weather, two struggling offenses, and a home team off an embarrassing loss, there are way too many variables to handicap.  So, this is a pass.

TEN/CAR — CAR laying -3.5 to TEN, with total set at 42.  CAR was destroyed at SFO last week, but that blowout might be a bit misleading.  I sensed that CAR seemed to give up after falling behind early, realizing it might be better to stay healthy and prepare for next game.  CAR has won 4/5 with backup QB Allen under center.  CAR also leading NFL in sacks, getting to opposing QB 4.3 times per game.   TEN also allowing heavy sacks last few games with new QB….Tannehill has hit the grass nine times in 10 quarters he’s played this season.  Meanwhile. TEN is notorious as a road team in recent years.  Titans just 11-22 ATS in last 32 games as a road dog.  But most of those contests were with QB bust Mariota, replaced now by the journeyman Tannehill, who has won two straight.  I was tempted to play CAR, but the hook on the -3 and the decent play of Tannehill keeps me off the home favorite.

CHI/PHI — PHI laying -4 to floundering CHI with total at 41.  CHI on a bad slide, losing three straight.  However, both teams have disappointed this season.  PHI only 3-9 ATS the last 12 home games.  PHI played best game of season last week at BUF, rushing for 200+ yards.  But I expect CHI defense to regroup for this contest with backs to the wall and their season slipping away.  Obviously, CHI offense is a monumental concern for betttors.  But the PHI defense been woefully inconsistent, surrendering 24+ points in 6/8 games this season.  I grabbled CHI +10.5 on the teaser, taking the half point on the key number (10) hoping that’s enough to get the cash.  PHI is currently in the midst of a brutal stretch of opposing defenses, facing MIN, DAL, BUF, CHI, and then NWE next week.  That’s quite an overwhelming task for any offense, especially one that hasn’t been healthy much of the season.  Taking CHI on the teaser to keep the score within single digits.  This teaser side probably won’t be appealing to many bettors, but there are some positive trends that also favor the Bears in this spot.  Teams that come off two straight home losses do tend to focus more and play above market expectation in the next game, on the road.  Lack of respect for Bears now gives some added value.

MIN/KC — Chiefs as home favorites have lost three straight games and now face what might be their toughest opponent yet, MIN coming in red hot on a four-game winning streak.  QB Mahomes listed as doubtful.  If so, Moore has played admirably and now with some experience should be able to guide the offense.  Trouble has been KC’s defense.  I wanted to play MIN in this game, but line offers no value at -4.  Might bite if the number was -3.  So, this rates as a pass.  Total stands at 47, which might be a little high with Mahomes on the sideline.  Something tells me Mahomes might see action this week if Moore doesn’t play well and KC is in the game.  Based on that intangible, I’d probably swing and bet the other way right now, getting +4.  But this isn’t a game I want to bet on at the moment.

NYJ/MIA — MIA has very quietly covered in three straight games.  Now, the Dolphins are getting +3 at home.  All the pressure seems to be on NYJ and especially QB Darnold coming off two awful games.  Head Coach Gase, who took the Jets job after spending three seasons in MIA, is probably on the hot seat, as well.  I don’t see the NYJ as a team that responds well under pressure.  Given MIA has covered the line in three straight, strong lean to Dolphins.  However, I didn’t like what I saw by MIA in second half of the PIT game, where they blew a two-touchdown lead.  Off a short week, hard to say how MIA will perform with so little talent at skill positions.  NYJ aren’t favored often, and we see why — they’re just 1-7 ATS as favorites since 2017.  NYJ also facing some reported dissension in locker room with defensive captain Adams being shopped in a trade possibility.  Jets MLB Mosley is also out for this game.  Lean Dolphins but no wager.

IND/PIT — PIT laying -1 to Colts with total at 40.5.  I like the OVER in this game, which is the lowest of any Steelers game this season by 3 points.  PIT offense has consistently produced points since the QB injury/backup situation, scoring 20+ in six straight games.  Steelers home games 13-6 to the OVER the last three seasons.  Also worth noting that this total is the lowest of any IND game this season, as well.  This is an outlier game for the Colts, who played two at home, visit PIT this week, then go back at home for two more.  Weather looks to be perfect for game day, so I’m a bit surprised this total isn’t at least 42.5 to 43.  I’ll grab some value by catching the key number 41.   Also of note:  IND is a perfect 3-0 ATS on the road this season, but line might have caught up to this fact as they’re a tiny dog.  PIT getting very lucky in turnover margin, at +9 this season.  That good fortune likely won’t continue.

DET/OAK — I like the total to fly OVER the 50.5.  Had the OVER 51.5 in OAK/HOU game last week and missed by a half-point.  But also had DET going OVER, which easily eclipsed the mark.  Both defenses give up chunks of yards, big plays, and points, and two veteran QBs should indicate another shootout.  DET has gone OVER in 5/7.  OAK has gone OVER in 4/7.   This is the Raiders first home game in Week #2.  They play a critical three-game home stretch, against beatable opponents and a chance to get back into the playoff race.  Shocking as this may sound, OAK could be in first place a month from now, if they take care of business.  DET is a perfect opponent for OAK, allowing 30 PPG its last five contests, and has injuries in the defensive secondary.  Lions awful in pass defense, ranking 32nd in the NFL in YPG allowed.  Raiders hardly any better, rank 31st.  Those are dreadful numbers.  OAK ranks fourth in the NFL in YPP (6.2) and is averaging 26 PPG in last four contests, all away from home.  More good news for OAK — offensive line playing well, allowed just 8 sacks all season of QB Carr.  Seems like a reasonable expectation for both teams to put up points.  Playing the OVER 50.5.  Also probably some value on OAK -2.5, which is available in a few spots.

TB/SEA — SEA has been dreadful as a home favorite, losing ATS in all four games this season.  Perhaps that’s why this number is down to SEA -4.5, despite the Seahawks looking very formidable at 6-2 and playing an opponent that’s lost three straight games.  Tempting to lay the chalk here with SEA.  Reason to bet here is fading a really bad defense, which has been slashed for 34 PPG on average its last five contests.  Giving up 32 to the NYG, 37 to CAR, and 27 to TEN doesn’t inspire confidence.  TB has also underperformed to the market, going just 2-5 ATS this season.  I’d like to play OVER this game as well, but total is the week’s highest number at 52.5 and I just can’t bet it, especially given some feeling the SEA defense will rise to the occasion.  SEA promises lots of value at this number.  I might reconsider and make a late play at game time, especially of line inexplicably falls to -4 (which it won’t).  Fifth straight road game for Tampa (one was in London).  Ridiculous for NFL to do this to teams (Tampa and Oakland this season).  Odd fact:  Underdog has covered in ten straight Seattle games.  Probably just a variance tic, but still worth mentioning.

CLE/DEN — Another QB with the last name Allen is starting, as Broncos found an excuse to place Flacco’s statue in the warehouse (reportedly out for the season) and will introduce a new QB who hasn’t ever taken an NFL snap.  Impossible to handicap DEN offensive situation, which looks bleak.  But back at home facing Browns’ defense that hasn’t played well in 2019, this is as good a situation as any for a new QB.  CLE laying -4 which strikes me as a little high, especially given how well DEN defense has played.  Broncos defense has come up strong much of the season, allowing just 18 PPG.  On the other wide, CLE remains one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments.  To be fair to the Browns, they’ve played a murderer’s row of games the last five weeks — LAR, BAL, SFO, SEA, NWE — and now face their softest opponent since facing the NYJ in Week #2.  CLE probably the right side if you bet the game.  Smarter bet might be UNDER 39, since DEN playbook should be abbreviated with a first-time starter and DEN defense playing well above average.

GB/LAC — Talk is this will be a home game for the Packers who will enjoy more fan support than the host.  Very tempting to bet the road favorite here at -4, but it looks almost too easy.  Chargers have been horrid in most games this year, often playing from behind in every game.   Last week, they were down by 11, but rallied late to win.  Game before that, LAC lost at TEN after being down by double digits.  LAC were being shut out at home 24-0 to PIT in previous game.  Then, in game before that, LAC lost at home by 7 to DEN.  Only real “victory” was an easy win at dreadful MIA.  Hard to see how LAC are going to turn things around.  Team appears to be badly coached, unmotivated, no home-field advantage, and aren’t scoring.  Chargers produced average of 17 PPG in last four games.  That number won’t cut it against GB, which can light up a scoreboard.  GB playing third straight AFC West foe and is on a roll, especially on offense.  It’s the Packers or nothing here for me.  Packers perfect on the road at 3-0 ATS.  LAC have failed to cover at home, going 0-4 ATS.  Shouldn’t this line be -6?  Note also that LAC fired offensive coordinator (Whisenhunt).  Head coach Lynn is taking over the play-calling.  I fail to see how that improves the situation for the Chargers.

NWE/BAL — Big game of the week on SNF has BAL getting +3 at home against the dynasty.  I’m tempted to play the Ravens off the bye in what’s clearly a statement game for the team.  But I’d like at least +4, so won’t flesh out any cash.  NWE is cheap here if you like that side.  Offensive stats are down, but the defense has been stellar against very bad competition.  There’s also the point differential, which is one of the best in history.  That’s something that could motivate Belichick and his team in crucial situations where the spread is at stake.  Remarkable Stat:  NWE defense has allowed just 4 opposing TDs scored on its last 96 drives.  That’s unheard of.  No way I can step in front of the GOAT Patriots right now.  I see compelling arguments on both side — Patriots have value at this number and the Ravens are probably a contrarian lean.  No opinion on the total.  However, these are the two top-scoring offenses in the NFL so a lean to the OVER 44.5 seems justified.

DAL/NYG — MNF features DAL in first place visiting Meadowlands again, where they were upset to Jets three weeks ago.  DAL was laying -7 but line has dropped to -6.  Probably some value at this number on Cowboys.  What keeps me off DAL (at this moment) is a general tendency to stay away from road division favorites combined with DAL’s notorious inconsistencies. losing games like this that they should win based on edge in talent.  DAL does come off a bye and played its best game of the season two weeks ago whipping PHI.  There’s no excuse for DAL not to be fully prepared for this matchup.  NYG porous defense should give Cowboys plenty of opportunities to produce yards and points.  NYG allowing nearly 50 percent 3rd down conversion rate to opponents, which is sickening bad.  DAL has won the last three meetings by average of 13 PPG.  QB Prescott playing best of his career at the moment, and get back a healthy WR corps.  Probably will look to Cowboys if line stays at -6.  NYG are an awful 2-9-1 ATS at home since the start of 2018 season (but most of those games were with QB Manning).  Will decide later.

 

CONTEST WINNER ONLY/NO POINTSPREAD [$200 entry fee]

Season Record To-Date:  71-51-1

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]

211. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei (cashed out — paid 10-27-19)
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
100. — Stephen Cohen (payment pending)
51.  — John Reed
51. — George Wattman
51. — Mickdog Patterson
100. — Larry Lubliner
100. — Guy Grizz Berentsen
100. — Edmund Hack
500. — Bob Feduniak
63. — John Reed

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NFL 2019: Week #8

Posted by on Oct 27, 2019 in Blog, Essays | 5 comments

 

 

Last week, I went 5-3 for a net win of $340.

My positive results stemmed largely from the continuation of an unusual phenomenon this season, which is the unusually high percentage of covers by road teams.

Visitors continue to cover at a blistering pace.  In week #7, road teams went 9-5 ATS, which adds to a remarkable 61-41-2 overall ATS mark for the visitors.  Home teams are struggling badly straight up, as well — going just 45-58-1 overall.  I don’t ever recall seeing road teams producing such disproportionate results.  This is a surprise since the home field advantage is generally considered to be worth about 3 points in the NFL.  Not so, this season.

Will we eventually see if things will even out, the statistical certainty commonly referred to as “return to the mean.”  Things do usually average out with more time and/or increased sample size.  Might it be possible for road dogs to continue covering at this rate?  Probably not.  However, although opinions are subjective, I don’t see evidence of oddsmakers (or the betting public) making noteworthy adjustments to how home versus away is weighed into the line.  Consider that this week, 12 of 13 home teams are favored.  Road teams still aren’t getting enough respect, perhaps.

Accordingly, I’m quite tempted to play every road dogs this week.  Not sure why the public hasn’t caught on to this unusual trend.  Perhaps few bettors are aware of the success of road teams or there’s still a consensus that the 62 percent rate of covers (to date) is a statistical abnormality well within the margins of variance.

We’ll see what happens.  But this is something definitely worth considering when handicapping games going forward.

Now, on to Week #8.

 

************************************************

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          22 — 28 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,296.

Current Bankroll:   $6,491.  (- $1,800.)

Last Week’s Results:         5 — 3 — 0  (+ $340.)

*************************************************

 

THIS WEEK’S WAGERS:  This week, I’ve made four wagers.  I’m laying $1,130. to win $1,000.  Here are the plays:

NY Giants / Detroit OVER 49 — Laying $330 to win $300

Oakland / Houston OVER 51.5 — Laying $330 to win $300

Teaser:  Tampa Bay +8.5 / Indianapolis +1 — Laying $360 to win $300

NY Jets + 6.5 — Laying $110 to win $100

 

THOUGHTS ON ALL GAMES:

NYG at DET with the home team laying -6.5 with a total of 49 to 49.5.  Indications are this line may close at DET -7 (movement on Saturday night in favor of DET).  I like the OVER given the way both defenses have been surrendering yards and lots of points lately.  DET last four games have produced 51, 64, 55, and 72 points, respectively.  Meanwhile, NYG offense has been average at best, but some lack of production the past month was due to RB injury (Barkley), now resolved.  NYG defense has surrendered 27 or more points in 6 of 7 games this season.  Look for the defensive lapses from both teams to continue.

TEN is laying -2.5 to TB with a total at 45.  This is a ripe number to tease up from +2.5 to +8.5, especially given TEN’s offensive inconsistencies.  TEN starting QB Tannehill this week after benching Mariota prior to last game.  TEN was fortunate to win the game, due to controversial call and a goal-line stand in final seconds.  I feel confident taking the visitor getting more than a touchdown, which has shown plenty of offensive firepower averaging 28 points per game.  Trouble has been the erratic play of QB Winston and a horrid defense.  I expect the bye week will significantly help the Bucs here, at least to keep this within the margins.

Line on LAC-CHI dropped from -4.5 to -3.5.  CHI was badly exposed last week in getting routed at home by NOR (minus Brees) and looked even worse in the loss to OAK )in London).  Bears’ offense seems to have no solution at QB, no matter who starts.  For this reason, it’s tempting to take the dog, especially getting more than a FG.  However, LAC have started their last two games in dreadful fashion, falling behind badly in both games (PIT and TEN).  This reveals serious problems with preparation, in my view.  CHI defense should step up and make a difference.  Total at 41 seems like it could play UNDER.

SEA and ATL field two defenses with serious flaws, especially the Falcons who have been horrific.  Total at 51 looked to be playable as an OVER in the dome, but QB Shaub goes under center this week (latest report Ryan is out) and that creates too many question marks.  SEA lays -8 on the road here to what is proving to be one of the worst 3 or 4 teams in the NFL.  Word is, ATL coach needs a win here heading into the bye week to save his job.  Lots of intangibles, so I’m staying off the game.

NYJ are coming off a terrible MNF loss, getting destroyed at home, but then playing against NWE can do that to teams.  Clearly, NYJ aren’t as bad as that woeful effort since they upset DAL the previous week.  Looking for a rebound, I jumped on NYJ +6.5 expecting the line would move down, perhaps to -6.  But I was wrong since line instead moved to -7 in a few spots.  Not sure what the reasoning is behind betting on JAX, given the rash of defensive injuries they will face in the games — a CB, and two starting LBs.  Defense was supposed to be strength of this team, but they’ve been up and down all year.  JAX QB Minshew has not played well the past few games.  I expect a closer game than the line indicates.

BUF continues to amaze at 5-1 and how hosts PHI laying only -2.  Sign of a good team is having an off week and still winning, which the Bills managed to do last week in a game that was closer than expected.  Home for another week, look for a better effort from BUF here versus an opponent that won’t be taken lightly.  It’s really hard to figure out what’s wrong with the Eagles and understand why they are so poorly prepared in so many games.  PHI wads badly outcoached and outplayed in DAL last week.  A road game against another very good defense doesn’t seem to be the recipe for recovery.  I suspect this total at 41 could be a nice OVER play since Eagles defense simply isn’t played well, giving up 75 points in last two games.  In fact, Eagles are getting roasted, surrendering 24+ in 6 of 7 games this season.  Lean OVER.

The LAR should destroy CIN laying -12.  But I don’t trust the Rams.  Wiping out ATL showed me nothing in the previous game because that’s ATL.  CIN is almost as bad, but there’s a big difference here laying double digits.  I can’t back the Rams until I see more consistency.  Meanwhile, important to remember the awful Bengals are 3-1 ATS on the road this year.  They seem to play much better away than at home.  I’d be very wary of betting the Rams in this spot.

ARZ is the surprise of the league at .500, winners of three straight.  Have to love the job the new regime in doing in Phoenix.  But that Cinderella story should end this week, at least temporarily as NOR will be back to near full strength.  Brees reportedly taking snaps and might start (now listed as probable).  Not that it matters since NOR is playing lights out right now, with defense leading the way.  The Superdome will be a very tough place to play for the visitors.  I won’t lay the -12, but would be wary of taking points.  ARZ defense is certainly vulnerable to being lit up and blown out in the game.  Important Note:  If ARZ falls behind early, they could mail it in and get routed.  Keep in mind ARZ hosts rival SFO on Thursday night next week, so ARZ unlikely to go all out in a game once they realize defeat is likely so as to save themselves for their biggest home game of the season four days from now.

I think points are going to be easy in the OAK-HOU game, with two experienced QBs, playmakers on both offenses, and susceptible defenses.  51.5 is a high number.  But the way this game plays out, I think it’s more likely to go OVER.  OAK playing its fifth straight non-home game (one game was in London).  OAK defense was shredded in GB last week and not gets HOU coming off a loss.  HOU building any kind of lead will force OAK to throw more, and then the fireworks begin.  OAK has played four straight OVERS.  HOU has played three straight OVERS.  Why would the points stop flowing now?  Another point:  OAK offensive line now back to full strength for the first time all season.  Giving QB Carr time will likely help Raiders with points.

SFO laying -4.5 to CAR, as line has moved in Panthers direction.  Two surprise teams.  Best unit on the field is probably the SFO defense which is playing phenomenal, just 10 points given up in last three games.  In fact, 49ers are second only to NWE in points allowed.  Laying -4.5 seems reasonable here, but CAR is also coming off the bye.  With an extra week to prepare and rest, I don’t want to fade a team on a four-game winning streak.  Two teams playing very good football at the moment.  I’ll watch as a spectator rather than as a bettor.

DEN is getting +5.5 at INDY.  Broncos are horrid offensively, so it’s hard to foresee how they’ll fix things in a road game playing back to back at home after beating KC and HOU in previous two games.  Clearly, a step down in class for the Colts here.  There’s some chance the favored Colts take DEN lightly, as they did perhaps in the inexplicable home loss to OAK a month ago.  That glaring inconsistency keeps me off the Colts laying -5.5.  But I do think they are significantly better than the opponent and worth teasing down to +1 (teased with TB).  I can’t see DEN fixing their offensive problems in a week based on watching that team’s sideline the previous game.  There is no leadership from QB Flacco, who is starting yet again this week.  I suppose they’ve invested too much in the acquisition and now must play him longer than his play merits.

NWE, statistically one of the best 7-0 teams in NFL history, is laying -10.5 to CLE coming off a bye, and desperate to reboot their season.  Believers in the Browns will look to this spot as a chance to regain some confidence after a floundering 2-4 start.  One expects CLE to be well focused while this is just another game for NWE coming off a MNF win and a short prep week.  Tempting to play CLE here getting the hook on the 10, but I can’t bet against these Patriots the way they’re steamrolling opponents.  Pass.

GB at KC is one of the more intriguing matchups this week, where the Packers are laying -5 to the host, minus injured QB Mahones.  Line shifted 8 points due to MVP’s injury, which seems about right.  KC is probably the right side here getting points at home and in a circle the wagons game versus opponent not to be taken lightly.  No opinion on the total (47).

MIA at PIT is another wreck of a MNF game, presumably only of interest to bettors.  Not sure PIT deserves to be laying -14 to anyone right now.  MIA showed some spark in last week’s 10-point loss at BUF, which covered.  Probably a play on MIA or nothing here.  Total at 43.5 might be a little high.

 

CONTEST WINNER ONLY/NO POINTSPREAD [$200 entry fee]

Season Record To-Date:  58-49-1

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]

211. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei (cashed out — paid 10-27-19)
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
100. — Stephen Cohen (payment pending)
51.  — John Reed
51. — George Wattman
51. — Mickdog Patterson
100. — Larry Lubliner
100. — Guy Grizz Berentsen
100. — Edmund Hack
500. — Bob Feduniak
63. — John Reed

__________

 

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NFL 2019: Week #7 Picks

Posted by on Oct 19, 2019 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

 

 

Here’s a photo certain to shock a few readers.

Go ahead.  Just call me “Bet Genius.”

Someone snapped this photo a few days ago at the Global Gaming Expo conference here in Las Vegas in front of an online company that provides high-tech sports betting software.

I wish I could claim that some of the things I observed at the four-day conference rubbed off and re-energized my betting prospects.  The fact is, most of my time was spent attending seminars and meeting people in the sports betting industry, including several sportsbook managers.  I did come away with great optimism for the future of sports wagering in America.  We are just seeing the beginnings of what I predict will become a transformative spectator experience with sports, which is destined to be far more interactive.  But that’s not why you’re here, reading this intro.

Unfortunately, I’m in the midst of a dreadful 1-11 run, my worst betting results in seven years.  There’s not much one or anyone else can do other than continue working, reading, handicapping, and trying to make adjustments.

The bad news is — I’m down about 25 percent from my starting bankroll.  The good news is — there are a lot more weeks ahead and opportunities to get back on the winning side.

Obviously, tailing my plays is not recommended unless you’re really sick and love punishment.  But for my faithful group of investors, I will continue to make wagers and then explain my reasoning.  The only way to get out of a slump is to work a little harder and try and look at things that might have been missed earlier.

Now, on to Week #7.

 

************************************************

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          17 — 25 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,296.

Current Bankroll:   $6,151.  (- $2,140.)

Last Week’s Results:         0 — 5 — 0  (- $1,320.)

*************************************************

 

THIS WEEK’S WAGERS:  This week, I’ve made eight wagers.  Each bet is to win $200.  That’s eight wagers — laying $1,780. to win $1,600.

A note about my betting strategy:  Instead of retrofitting arguments in support of each wager, which is often pointless and non-productive, I’m making spot wagers riding a trend I hope will continue.  This season through six weeks underdogs are 36-53-2 SU, but a remarkable 52-36-2 ATS.  Home teams are struggling, going just 40-49-1 SU, and even worse performers ATS, going a horrid 33-55-2.

This brings me to the basis of seven wagers, which is to bet these road dogs to continue having success.

There’s certainly something to be said for “RTTM,” which means “Return to the Mean.”  Things will average out with time and more trials.  Hence, we can probably agree road dogs are not going to cover 60 percent of the games this season.  At some point, lines will adjust and ATS results will show more balanced outcomes.

However, looking at the opening lines and line-moves this week, I’m seeing little or no adjustment in reaction to the strong showing of road dogs.  Lines moves were split 3-3, as in games where the opening line moved, home faves got just as much betting love as road dogs.  So, this tells me the market hasn’t caught on to road teams playing above expectations, so far.

What possibly accounts for road dogs performing so well ATS?  Possible theories include:

— Pure randomness

— Road teams better prepared than in previous seasons

— Home field advantage not as strong as in previous seasons

— Teams with strong home field advantages historically not faring as well in that role, so far (SEA 0-3 ATS; GB 2-2 ATS; KC 1-2 ATS)

— Inconsistent officiating increases variance, perhaps helping underdogs more than favorites

Obviously, we don’t have enough trials to draw any definitive conclusions.  However, as a bettor who generally sides with underdogs and likes taking points when capturing key numbers, I’m certainly willing to gamble this week that the success of these road dogs will continue.

Here are the plays:

Arizona +3 (Even) vs. NY Giants — Risking $200 to win $200

Houston +1 (-110) vs. Indianapolis — Risking $220 to win $200

Miami +17 (-110) vs. Buffalo — Risking $220 to win $200

Oakland +4.5 (-110) vs. Green Bay — Risking $220 to win $200

Baltimore +3 (-110) vs. Seattle — Risking $220 to win $200

New Orleans +4 (-110) vs. Chicago — Risking $220 to win $200

Minnesota / Detroit OVER 43.5 (-110) — Risking $220 to win $200

TEASER:  Detroit +8.5 vs. Minnesota / Philadelphia +8.5 vs. Dallas — Risking $240 to win $200

 

THOUGHTS ON EACH GAME:

Fezzik touted me on NYG -3 this week, and vig is steaming to -120 on the fave.  I get the reasoning for backing the rejuvenated Giants at home, which is just as much a play-against spot against the Cardinals which travel to the East Coast and might suffer a letdown off a two-game winning streak.  No argument on backing the Giants, but I’m with the well-coached, emotionally-high Cardinals getting a FG in a spot as the road dog.

INDY seems like the right side with extra rest hosting HOU off a huge road win which must go on the highway again this week.  But HOU is playing exceptional on offense, right now.  I’m happy to take them in the road dog scenario.  Bettors might not be caught on yet to how HOU could eventually be the #2 seed in the AFC.

I told myself no more MIA bets this year, but I have to pull the trigger getting +17.  As solid as BUF is playing, especially on defense, not sure if they show much or go all out here, since they won’t have to do much to win.  First of a three-game homestretch for the Bills, which could end reach midseason at 7-1.  Good sign for MIA they are starting Fitzpatrick at QB, which is probably their best chance to score points.  Getting +16.5 I might pass.  But +17 is enough points to real me in on the division road dog.  Oh, and for all their awfulness, MIA defense isn’t that bad.

Total in the MINN-DET game dropped from 44 to 43 in some spots, and historically these two rivals have played UNDERS.  However, I like OVER at this total based on two upper-third ranked offenses (11th and 13th) combined with two experienced QBs with good wideouts.  DET defense also ranks 29th.  At home on rubber grass I expect enough points to break this total.  Vikings game posted 58 points last week.  Lions have posted 45, 64, and 51 in their last three games.  Also like what I’ve seen from Lions this season, so far as a teaser bet.  Detroit suffered two losses previous two games, losing by a combined total of 5 points to Green Bay and Kansas City.  They should also keep this one close, let’s hope under a touchdown (+8.5).

Oakland is playing its fourth-straight road game (one of those in London).  This seems like a nightmare for the Raiders.  But they’ve also won two straight away from Oakland.  I can’t make a good case for my bad number +4.5 when the opener was +7 very early in the week.  But I’m riding the rested Raiders against a team that probably should have lost its previous home game, except for a few bad calls.  Packers also off short rest and in a “fat and happy” spot, ripe for an upset.

I wish I could bet Cincinnati +4.5 at home, but this defense is decimated with injuries right now.  Not that it matters, perhaps since the Bengals are so bad in every phase of the game.  Something tells me Cincinnati will finally wake up and play a solid game.  Oddly enough, Cincy is 3-1 ATS on the road, but 0-2 ATS at home.  Jacksonville offense should finally wake up, but I can’t see laying points with such an inconsistent offense.  Total dropped and settled on 44, which still looks a little high to me.

Lots of solid bettors on ATL at home catching +3 versus Rams, who are reeling at the moment on a three-game skid.  ATL was +4, and that’s a tempting side.  Wanted to go UNDER 54.5, but hard to pull that trigger as bad as the Falcons have been on defense.  Game could go in many directions.  Hard to figure which of these disappointing teams wakes up and makes a statement.

SFO laying -10 on the road seems like a stretch, especially coming off the huge road win over rival Rams last week.  But I’m now convinced this team is well-coached and the defense is solid.  I can’t possibly bet a Redskins team that barely squeaked by in a non-cover at MIA last week.  Total at 40 seems a little low.  But rain in forecast keeps me off the game.

Two miserable teams face off in the Titans-Chargers matchup.  Hard to say which team is more disappointing.  At least Chargers have some excuse with nagging injuries.  But TENN hasn’t played well either and finally woke up to Mariota being a possible draft bust.  New Titans QB starter this week, which only adds to all the uncertainty.

I really like BAL +3 at SEA, even though I missed the better number early in the week.  BAL is 4-2 SU but has gone just 1-4 ATS in last five games.  SEA is woeful ATS at home, at 0-3.  Despite the less than impressive stats, these are two good teams that should play down to the wire.  So, I like taking the points.  Rain in forecast probably slightly helps BAL since they tend to be a duel threat with rushing QB, although R. Wilson certainly belongs right up there.  SEA probably should have lost it’s last two games, and could be 2-4 at the moment — so I do like the visiting Ravens.  Also, total at 48 might be a little too high.

Understandable why CHI is getting love, with line shooting from -3 to -4 versus NOR.  But let’s remember CHI’s offensive concerns.  Let’s also acknowledge NOR continues being underestimated by the betting markets, yet again dogs to a team with offensive inconsistencies (recall NOR beating JAX las week, while inexplicably getting +2.5).  RB Kamara is out, so that hurts the Saints.  But getting +4 points with a team that’s won and covered in four straight games strikes me as a solid wager.

PHIL is +3 in a few spots, laying -120.  I like that side.  But the better value for me is the teaser up to +8.5.  Dallas has lost three straight games and hasn’t defeated anyone respectable yet.  This will certainly be a game that brings Dallas’ top effort, but the same can be said for the Eagles, also at 3-3.  In a game that should be close, I like the points.

I’m not a believer in the NYJ, even though they pulled off a big upset last week.  NWE is laying -9.5 to -10 on the road here, and it’s easy to fall into the trap and bet the home underdog.  The better play might be UNDER 44, if you can find it.  NWE defense has been suffocating.  Both teams combined at 4-7 to the UNDER this season.

 

CONTEST WINNER ONLY/NO POINTSPREAD [$200 entry fee]

Season Record To-Date:  50-43-1

Week #7 Picks:

Denver over Kansas City

LA Rams over Atlanta

Buffalo over Miami

Cincinnati over Jacksonville

Detroit over Minnesota

Green Bay over Oakland

Houston over Indy

Arizona over NY Giants

San Francisco over Washington

LA Chargers over Tennessee

New Orleans over Chicago

Baltimore over Seattle

Philadelphia over Dallas

New England over NY Jets

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]

211. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
100. — Stephen Cohen (payment pending)
51.  — John Reed
51. — George Wattman
51. — Mickdog Patterson
100. — Larry Lubliner
100. — Guy Grizz Berentsen
100. — Edmund Hack
500. — Bob Feduniak
63. — John Reed

__________

 

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NFL 2019: Week #6 Picks

Posted by on Oct 12, 2019 in Blog, Politics | 5 comments

 

 

Last week I suffered my worst loss in two years.  I went 1-6 for a net minus of $1,195.

So, what exactly does one say or write after posting such disastrous results?

Answer:  You get back to work.  You keep on trying.  You try and learn what might have gone wrong.  Then, you get back in the game.

On to Week #6.

 

************************************************

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          17 — 20 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,296.

Current Bankroll:   $7,471.  (- $820.)

Last Week’s Results:         1 — 6 — 0  (- $1,195.)

*************************************************

 

THIS WEEK’S WAGERS:  This week, I’ve made five wagers.  One wager is sizable, my biggest bet of the season.  The other four wagers are small bets intended to take advantage of something I call a “zig-zag theory.”  This means backing decent teams coming off losses while also betting against teams coming off a win.  Five wagers — laying $1,325. to win $1,200.

LA Rams -3 (-110) vs. San Francisco — Wagering $1,100. to win $1,000.

Rams were thought to be the class of the NFC, but have lost their last two games — an embarrassing blowout loss at home versus Tampa Bay and a 1-point loss at Seattle, when the usually reliable kicker Zuerlein missed the last-second game-winner.  Now, with 10-days to prepared, look for the Rams to make a statement here.  A loss to the 49ers puts the Rams in an insurmountable hole, three games back in the division.  So, the sense of urgency is real.  There’s nothing wrong with the Rams offense, which is scoring 29 PPG.  The problem has been on defense, but those numbers are skewed by the Rams committing multiple turnovers the last two defeats.  The rest should help the Rams here, who are 7-1 ATS under Coach McVay.  Meanwhile, San Francisco is a fat and happy 4-0.  Credit the renewed 49ers for winning every game, but their competition has a combined 5-15 W-L record.  This game is easily the 49ers’ toughest test of the season.  That task won’t be made any easier by suffering a number of injuries, including two OL and their starting FB, one of the best in the league.  San Francisco has also been exceedingly fortunate in the turnover department, forcing 11 takeaways (they had six all of last season).  Given a more experienced team in big games, the home-field advantage, extra rest and prep time, and the added motivation of coming off two losses, we get some rare spread value with the Rams laying only -3.  I think this is a compelling wager all the way up to -5, which was the early send-out number.  Reports are RB Gurley will not play, but the Rams have enough talent to overcome his absence.  Rams have thrown 58 passes per game last two week and racked up lots of yardage.  I expect that will continue against the 49ers.  Another intangible — 49ers kicker Gould has struggled this season, making just 7 of 12 FGs (five misses).

Cleveland +1 (-110) vs. Seattle — Wagering $55. to win $50.

Which Browns team will show up this week, the one that demolished the Ravens on the road at Baltimore or the dreadful bunch that didn’t show up in San Francisco last week?  I suspect that back at home facing a quality opponent, the Browns will put things together in this game and give a solid effort.  Seattle is clearly the better and more consistent team.  But the Seahawks are coming off a huge win at home versus their rival and now must travel and face a desperate team.  The price is right here to take the home dog, getting points.

Jacksonville -2.5 (-110) vs. New Orleans — Wagering $55. to win $50.

Credit the Saints for rattling off three straight wins with QB Bridgewater getting the job done.  But this looks like the possible off week for New Orleans.  RB Kamara is questionable, which now places added pressure on Bridgewater, who has benefited from a solid running game and good defense.  Win over Tampa last week was somewhat misleading as Saints generated only 252 yards of total offense.  Meanwhile, Jacksonville’s defense has cost them their last two games.  I look for a much better effort this week.  Jags offense playing well.  This line looks strange.  But I’m counting on the more desperate team to rise to the occasion at home.

Atlanta – 2.5 (-110) vs. Arizona — Wagering $55. to win $50.

This play is counterintuitive.  Cardinals are the NFL’s most exciting “bad” team, clearly headed in the right direction.  But the Arizona defense is problematic and Atlanta should have enough talent to get the win and cover here in an absolutely desperate situation.  Falcons at 1-4 are close to losing their season and it will take a win here to salvage any shot at making the playoffs.  Hard to imagine the Falcons looking worse than their last three games, but this is their first real soft opponent and I expect Atlanta will finally show up and take care of business.  Total at 51.5 is indicative of a high scoring game, so despite no line value, I don’t think the points will matter.

LA Chargers -6.5 (-11o) vs. Pittsburgh — Wagering $55. to win $50.

I’m laying -6.5 with the host Chargers, which doesn’t make much sense at first glance.  One can’t make a case for laying nearly a touchdown with a team that hasn’t played well at home.  However, coming off the upset loss in Carson last week, look for a much better effort here.  Their task is made considerably easier by Pittsburgh starting a third-string QB (Hodges).  Getting the Chargers who absolutely must have a win here, versus team that’s reeling and has no viable QB threat, and laying less than a TD strikes me as a rare bargain.  Chargers have too much talent to let this game slip away.  Should be an easy double-digit win given the lack of talent at skill positions we’ve seen from Steelers this season.

 

THOUGHTS ON OTHER GAMES:

CAR is laying -2.5 at TB with a total at 47.5. in the early game at London.  Tempting to play the Bucs here, inexplicably getting points.  Carolina is 3-0 since QB Newton went down to injury and the Panthers are very quietly back in the playoff hunt after an 0-2 start.  Still, I think the feisty Buccaneers, who have scored 110 points in their last three games, are the play getting points.

CIN +11 plays at BAL.  The Bengals have been woefully painful to watch, at times, and are coming off a dreadful loss at home to ARZ, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.  Left for dead, I’d probably play the Bengals if forced to pick a side.  Not sure the Ravens should be laying double-digits in a division rivalry game.  But Cincinnati has been way too inconsistent to back with money, and there’s plenty of evidence that this team is among the most poorly coached in the league.

HOU +4.5 at KC with the game total at 55.  Chiefs were uncharacteristically inept on offense in a home loss last week.  It will be interesting to see how they respond.  Houston has gone UNDER in 3/5 while KC showed some defensive strength, last week.  Given these factors and the high total, I lean UNDER here, thinking that possibly KC’s outrageous offensive success the past 20 games will gradually revert to the mean.

MINN -3.5 versus PHILA.  I would normally like the Vikings laying the points against any other opponent  They’re clearly a more dominant team at home.   But PHILA has played very well the past two games and can stop the run.  That will force QB Cousins to throw.  Minnesota has played soft competition at home in the previous two games but gets tougher foe here.  Two 3-2 teams.  Should be close.  The +3.5 is enough to play the Eagles, if you want action on the game.

WASH is laying -4.5 to MIA.  Total is 42.  QB Keenum’s career was thought to be over a few weeks ago, but after the Redskins plugged in two QBs who looked worse, look who’s back under center.  Washington fired Gruden last Monday and new head coaches sometimes inspire a better effort.  But I’m not sure the Redskins merit laying -4.5 on the road, given how bad this team has played the last few weeks.  If forced to play the game, I’d take the Dolphins plus the points.

DAL is laying -7 at the hapless NYJ, who get the soft QB (Darnold) back as the starter.  Total looks a tad too high at 44.5.  I think DAL will shut down the Jets, who are ranked 32nd in most offensive categories.  But the Jets defense has played well, at times.  This is too many points for a game where one team hasn’t been scoring and the other relies heavily on the run.  Play the UNDER if you need a bet here.

It’s DEN -2 or nothing for me in the game against TENN.  Titans are absolute garbage on the road.  Coming off a terrible showing last week, the Titans inspire no confidence.  Credit Denver for two solid games recently, losing a close home game to Jacksonville before upsetting the Chargers in LA last weekend.  I think that momentum carries over here for the high-altitude Broncos playing the gutless Titans led by a QB who historically seems to struggle in games like this one.

If I could grab +5.5, I’d probably play the visiting Lions on MNF at GB.  But line has dropped to +4.  Lions had two weeks to prepare and have been in all four games this season.  GB’s success is owed largely to their defense, but they’ve allowed 58 points the last two games.  I think Detroit keeps this close, but no wager for me since I’d like just a few more points.

 

CONTEST WINNER ONLY/NO POINTSPREAD [$200 entry fee]

Season Record To-Date:  45-34-1

Week #6 Picks:

New England over NY Giants

Tampa Bay over Carolina

Cleveland over Seattle

Kansas City over Houston

Miami over Washington

Minnesota over Philadelphia

Jacksonville over New Orleans

Baltimore over Cincinnati

LA Rams over San Francisco

Arizona over Atlanta

Denver over Tennessee

Dallas over NY Jets

LA Chargers over Pittsburgh

Green Bay over Detroit

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]

211. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
100. — Stephen Cohen (payment pending)
51.  — John Reed
51. — George Wattman
51. — Mickdog Patterson
100. — Larry Lubliner
100. — Guy Grizz Berentsen
100. — Edmund Hack
500. — Bob Feduniak
63. — John Reed

__________

 

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NFL 2019: Week #5 Picks

Posted by on Oct 5, 2019 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

 

 

We’re a quarter into the NFL regular season and I’m slightly ahead in profit.

As a contrarian bettor, I’m pleased with these results.  Why?  Because I dodged a bullet.  Popular public teams, which I tend to fade, have been covering most weeks (Patriots, Cowboys, Packers, Rams).  And bad teams, which I often bet on, have sucked (Jets, Bengals, Redskins, Dolphins).  So, given the results have somewhat mirrored popular expectations, I’ve avoided what could have been an early-season financial disaster.

The real bright spot has been in totals.  My totals wagering is a perfect 4-0, to date.   I recognize this as a bit of a lucky streak and an admittedly tiny sample size.  A decade ago, I used to bet far more totals than sides.  In fact, totals were more a specialty.  However, totals prediction became much more difficult with more prolific offenses and the NFL’s pass-happy rules.  Variance on totals skyrocketed.  Hence, I began losing and slowed betting totals for a while, figuring the points outcome was often determined by inconsistent officials deciding whether or not to throw a flag for pass interference.  It was all but impossible to predict NFL totals for a certain period of time when scoring increased by nearly a touchdown a game, which was also reflected in higher totals.  Something to keep in mind is — higher scoring games are increasingly more volatile (tougher to predict).  Lasy year, 2018 was the second-highest scoring season in history, averaging about 47 points per game.

But this season through four weeks, scoring is down slightly.  One thing is — we’re seeing more balanced officiating.  By balanced, I mean defenses are being allowed to get away with more.  Let’s also acknowledge some really bad quarterbacking, key injuries, coaching turnover have all contributed to offensive ineptitude.  Admittedly, my perception of officiating could be biased and perhaps even irrelevant.  Perhaps it’s just that the really bad teams of the league are skewing the averages.  The good teams are scoring plenty of points.  But the bad teams are so awful (offensively), they aren’t producing points, even in what’s called garbage time.

Accordingly, I expect to spend more time on totals wagering in the coming weeks.

Last week, I went 3-3.  I also finished dead even in money because of some savvy money management.  The -$100 vig loss was offset by varying wager sizes on the wins versus losses.

I really like the NFL card this week.  I spent considerable time on each game and have concluded with seven wagers.  See my full analysis of every game below.

Also, for those interested in esgo skin betting, this is one of the best sources for information.  Visit csgo skin betting by clicking the link here.  This will tell more about the skin trading system.

 

************************************************

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          16 — 14 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,296.

Current Bankroll:   $ 8,666.  (+ $ 370.)

Last Week’s Results:         3 — 3 — 0  (+/- $ 0.)

*************************************************

 

THIS WEEK’S WAGERS:   Wagering $1,825. to win $1,650. on 7 bets.

 

First Half:  Pittsburgh +3 (-120) vs. Baltimore — Risking $120 to win $100

I jumped on the Steelers here, getting 3 points with elevated -120 vig.  In some sportsbooks, this line has now shifted to Pittsburgh +3 for the (whole) game.  Westgate has the first-half line at Pittsburgh +2.5 — so I’ll grab the tasty value with the Steelers getting the full field goal for the first 30 minutes.  Ravens offensive numbers and high rankings are skewed somewhat by playing at least three bottom tier defenses.  Baltimore was humiliated at home last week against Cleveland which exposed some apparent vulnerabilities.  The Ravens remain too inconsistent to be laying a full FG in the first half versus a division opponent (unless the rival is Cincy, perhaps).  Meanwhile, it still remains to be seen how Steelers backup QB Rudolph will fare the rest of the season.  This is certainly a major test for the post-Roethlisberger era.  Monday Night’s win over dismal Cincinnati is really tough to measure, but the repetitions should give the rebuilding Steelers some added confidence this week.  These two teams and their coaching staffs know each other well and historically play lots of close games.  Accordingly, I expect this game to also go down to the wire.  So, I’ll take points in the most advantageous spot.  Rather than betting Pittsburgh +3 or +3.5 for the game, the far better value to taking the points in the opening two quarters.

 

First Half:  NY Jets +7.5 (-110) vs. Philadelphia — Risking $110 to win $100

NY Jets +15 (-110) vs. Philadelphia — Risking $275 to won $250

I keep telling myself not to bet on bad teams and the Jets appear to be bottom five.  However, the Eagles have underperformed this season. despite coming off the upset at Green Bay.  They have been slow starters from the kickoff in three of four games, down at the half by an average of a touchdown.  I don’t trust the Eagles to roll up big early leads or win by a wide margin.  We simply haven’t seen evidence of this yet.  Let’s also add the Eagles follow this game with a brutal road stretch versus three top opponents, so they won’t want to show much or risk injury, where they are already vulnerable (esp. on defense this week).  It’s hard to make a positive case for the Jets which have been painful offensively.  However, coming off the bye week with extra prep time, it’s reasonable to expect some improvement — and the Eagles’ defense has allowed 24+ points to every opponent.  Let’s also not discount the Jets defense which has played reasonably well given they’ve had no utterly support from the other side of the ball.  NYJ allows fewer yards and less points per game than the Eagles.  If this rested Jets defense plays according to form, the big road dog should be in the game every quarter.  I like the Jets getting the hook on the 7 for the first half and really love capturing the +15 on the game line (most books now list this at +14.  Call me crazy, but I’m betting on a team starting someone named Luke Falk.  If he wins this game and throws a few touchdowns under pressure, anyone wants to guess the NY press will christen him as?  Take a guess.

 

Green Bay / Dallas UNDER 47 (-110) — Risking $330 to win $300

Both defenses have played well, although the Packers are coming off a poor effort in the home loss to PHILA ten days ago.  With the extra prep time and lots of juicy film to watch from how the Saints shut down the Cowboys, I think the Packers will take advantage.  Given improvements in Green Bay secondary, Dallas should rely even more heavily on the run here, wanting to win time-of-possession and keep QB Rodgers on the sidelines.  Cowboys have precisely the kind of offense to do this, which should eat up loads of clock and prevent shootouts as we’ve seen between these teams in the past.  Also of note is key injury to DAL offensive lineman LT Tyron Smith, one of league’s best — I’ve read some cappers grade this as being worth perhaps 1.5 points on the game line.  If Smith’s shoes aren’t filled, the Cowboys might face trouble.  Packers offense has faced two very good defenses earlier (CHI and MINN) and struggled in both games.  No reason to think they don’t also struggle a bit here, especially on the road against a quality opponent coming off a loss.

 

Tennessee – 3 (-110) vs. Buffalo — Risking $330 to win $300

Credit Buffalo for their gutsy play in September, but I don’t see how this team travels on the road after playing so well last week, especially on defense and losing at home to the rival Super Bowl champs.  Add QB Josh Allen likely won’t be at 100 percent, which means his mobility is questioned, and this becomes a far more advantageous situation for the home dog, laying a reasonable number.  It’s very hard to me to make a solid case for the Titans laying points and QB Mariota is a bettor’s version of Russian Roulette, but this is a fade play against Buffalo.  Tennessee put things together in Atlanta last week and have enough talent to win and over this number versus deflated foe.

 

Minnesota -5 (-110) vs. NY Giants — Risking $330 to win $300

Here’s a perfect zig-zag and head-fake game — the Vikings coming off a terrible performance in Chicago and the Giants back at home again after their best showing arguably since 2017.  Don’t be fooled by the Giants, which still field a horrid defense.  Minnesota has enough deep weapons to exploit this unit.  Reports this week had QB Cousins at odds with his receivers.  I’m no fan of Cousins, who often looks weak and indecisive.  But coming off the loss and likely with more focus on the rebound, the Giants should be the perfect bait of a foe.  As for NYG, hard to believe this team is 2-2, but that’s because Tampa missed a chip-shot field goal and they essentially drew a bye against the quarterback-less Redskins.  Big step in class here for the home dogs which will face a motivated well-coached team with a top-ten defense.  Minnesota should have no problem covering this number based on an edge in talent and experience.  Line is probably an overreaction to NYG win and MINN loss last week.  I suspect had both teams games not ended so decisively, the Giants might be grouped close to the bottom of the league and they’d be getting +7 at home.  Down to Minnesota laying just -5, I see value as the contrarian against Daniel Jones being the real deal.

 

Chicago -5.5 (-110) vs. Oakland — Risking $330 to win $300

I took a stale number at -5.5 since there are now some -5 spots available.  Hopefully, the -5 doesn’t come into play.  Hard to figure why some bettors are attracted to the Raiders who are playing their third straight road game, this time in London (though the Raiders are technically the “home” team).  Last week’s upset at Indy was a shocker and credit the Raiders for saving their season with the upset win.  But now at 2-2, this is about as bad a spot as exists, traveling on the cusp for two rough road contests.  Oakland’s task won’t be made easier by the Bears defense, which has absolutely manhandled its last two opponents.  Chicago’s defensive line destroyed Minnesota last week, pressuring the hapless Vikings all day.  Washington looked even worse the week before.  I expect the Bears defense will dictate the pace, will force some errors, and backup QB Chase Daniel (with some quality starts) won’t be asked to win the game by himself.  Let’s be honest here — the dropoff from Trubisky to Daniel isn’t significant and the backup sometimes inspires improved performance from struggling offenses.  One more point:  I wasn’t entirely sold on the Bears defense coming into this season.  But having watched all four games carefully in which virtually every opponent struggled, I’m convinced that frustration should continue for the Raiders this week.  Let’s also remember the Raiders are a woeful 2-8 ATS on the road under retread coach Gruden.

 

THOUGHTS ON OTHER GAMES:

Two winless teams square off in the Cincy-Arizona matchup, where the Bengals are favored by -3.  First-glancers might be tempted to pounce on the Cardinals getting points here.  After all, Arizona showed some spark and clearly is comfortable with how things are progressing, even in defeat.  Meanwhile, watching the Bengals has been painful much of this season, particularly last week in the loss at Pittsburgh.  This team is badly coached and appears to have no leadership.  Taking the points in a toss-up is attractive.  However, having seen quite a few games like this in my many years of capping, this is one of those outliers where the team left for dead suddenly throws caution to the wind, rides emotion, and coasts to a win.  I’m not touching the Bengals given how bad the offensive line is playing and until I see something that mirrors the effort in Week #1 (a 21-20 heartbreaking loss at Seattle).  Let me just put a word of caution about playing the Cardinals as the “obvious” play.  I think that’s a mistake, even though Arizona will probably be a much better team as the season progresses.  Still too early to play them on the road unless they’re getting more points.

Jacksonville is getting +3.5 at Carolina.  I think the dog is the right side.  Jaguars’ defense remains every bit as solid as hoped when the season first began.  QB Minshew has attracted well-deserved attention for stepping up as the starter, but it’s RB Fournette and the Jags rushing game that has been on a slow roll……averaging 100 YPG this season and a whopping 5.6 YPC.  Carolina plays solid pass defense and leads the NFL in sacks, but that won’t matter much if Jags aren’t forced to throw the ball.  Panthers are also starting a backup (QB Kyle Allen) who has played well.  But this is a much tougher defensive test.  The game total is 40, justified as being low given we should see more rushing than passing in an old-style throwback game to the 1970s.  I like Jacksonville with the points and think there’s some correlation to an UNDER here, as well.  So, betting JAX and UNDER on a parlay is probably the best parlay you can make this week, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Tampa is getting +3 at New Orleans in what looks to be an intriguing game.  I don’t understand why this line isn’t at least -4 and probably -5?  Certainly, QB Bridgewater doesn’t pose the same downfield threat at Brees, but let’s remember his win percentage as a starter.  Saints have played a tough early slate — HOU, LAR, SEA, and DAL.  Now, they face what’s easily their softest defensive opponent, though they’ve clarly improved and are better than expected.  Are oddsmakers really suggesting NOR (minus Brees) and TB are equal in talent, with -3 given for home field?  That’s preposterous.  So, what keeps me off betting the Saints laying such a low number?  Well, Bridgwater’s stats are a real concern, looking closer at the numbers.  He hasn’t completed a pass longer than 29 yards and averages a paltry 6.1 YPA.  Those are not the numbers you want in a game that could become a shootout.  Tampa comes off a shocking victory and 55-point explosion which seems inexplicable.  New Orleans looks too obvious to me.  Something smells about this game.  Darkhorse Prediction:  WR Mike Evans will have a huge game.

Houston lays -4 to Atlanta, the NFL’s most gutless road team.  What’s with this talent and experience often playing so poorly — 3-7 sway since the start of ’18 season?  No way to bet the Falcons under these conditions, especially against a team still searching for consistency but which appears to have big edges in the trenches.  ATL was supposed to revamp the rushing attack this season but it remains one of the league’s worst units.  Hard to see how that improves against the Houston defensive front.  I can’t lay points with Texans who play down to the wire so often.  Tempted to play UNDER 50 here, a total which seems a tad too high.  But Houston games get wild for some reason more than usual, so I’m going to pass on the temptation.

LA Chargers give -5.5 to Denver, which is floundering.  Looks easy to bet the favorites here, but the Chargers haven’t ever rolled up points in Carson, even when playing outclassed opponents.  Why would anyone expect the Chargers to suddenly play above expectations given how often they disappoint in games like this.  On the other hand, Denver is 0-4 and absolutely desperate.  This won’t inspire loads of confidence, but the worst loss was by 11 points.  I can’t bet Denver, but I can’t bet the Carson Chargers, either.  Lean to OVER 44 based on what I think will be desperation mode for Denver, which I think plays into more risk-taking, possible scores, and turnovers.

Kansas City is laying -11 to Indy.  One expects the Chiefs will be miserable hosts to the Colts on SNF.  If the Colts got whacked for 31 against the Raiders at home, what might Mahomes & Co. do in the national spotlight in the confines of Arrowhead?  Indeed, that’s why this line crossed double digits.  Chiefs average 34 PPG but are porous on defense.  This is rightfully the highest total on the board at 56.  I think there might be some value on the UNDER, but I can’t step in front of the train on this game.  Both teams have combined to go OVER in 6 of 8 games, this season.  Pass.

Cleveland is getting +4 to +4.5 at San Francisco.  I’ve been all over the map on this game, so it’s a pass.  I’m coming around to Kyle Shannahan being a good coach.  In fact, I was on the face SFO express from the start of the season and have been wrong every step of the way.  Browns really showed something in pounding the Ravens in Baltimore last week.  Let’s see if they can go on the road again and beat a 3-0 team ion MNF.  Now, that would be proof this is a playoff-bound.  Very interesting game to watch, with two franchises apparently headed in the right direction after a long hiatus.  But it’s a bad game to bet on.  Maybe a slight lean to the OVER if you can still scrap out a total of 46.5 (now 47 most sportsbooks).

 

CONTEST WINNER ONLY/NO POINTSPREAD [$200 entry fee]

Season Record To-Date:  38-25-1

Week #5 Picks:

Seattle over LA Rams

Cincinnati over Arizona

Tennesee over Buffalo

Chicago over Oakland

New Orleans over Tampa Bay

Minnesota over NY Giants

Philadelphia over NY Jets

Pittsburgh over Baltimore

New England over Washington

Jacksonville over Carolina

Houston over Atlanta

LA Chargers over Denver

Green Bay over Dallas

Kansas City over Indianapolis

Cleveland over San Francisco

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]

211. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
100. — Stephen Cohen (payment pending)
51.  — John Reed
51. — George Wattman
51. — Mickdog Patterson
100. — Larry Lubliner
100. — Guy Grizz Berentsen
100. — Edmund Hack
500. — Bob Feduniak
63. — John Reed

__________

 

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NFL 2019: Week #4 Picks

Posted by on Sep 28, 2019 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

 

 

I’m about to get much more heavily involved in sports gambling in the coming months ahead.  And, I don’t mean solely as a handicapper and bettor.

Yes, my analysis and selections shall continue getting posted here at my website just as I’ve done every football weekend for the past seven years (and 20 years before that at MadJacks, SportsFanRadio, and so forth).  I even thought fading out of the gambling scene might be best given how sinisterly mundane corporate casino gambling and all its willful sycophants have become.  Poker is painfully uninteresting.  But sports gambling remains something else entirely, something new, something tremendously exciting — particularly on the fresh American landscape.

I’ll share more with my readers as the time and opportunity permits.  My objective in sharing this semi-confidential personal information with you is to reinforce the perception that sports gambling, especially on American football, is going to be fucking gargantuan in the next five years.  Comparatively speaking for those who know their history, we are in 2002 right now when it comes to what we once saw happen in poker.  Most other forms of gambling are now dwindling as revenue shares of overall casino profits or are dead already.  There’s no future in sucker machines and idiot games, folks.  Sportsbetting, even with its obvious challenges and small market share, is going to skyrocket as a manifestation of our insatiable desire to be in action and interact with the dynamism of sports through our collective consciousness.  Young people, who will increasingly become the core market, are going to be betting on sports, not playing slot reels and keno.

Bet on it.

I’m teasing my readers, and for this, I do apologize.  Over the next few weeks, it’s going to be balls-to-the-wall sports betting, insider stuff, and meetings with the top brass in the industry as the Global Gaming Expo 2019 here in Las Vegas fast approaches.  I’m attending now for the 10th consecutive year and will report back here what I learn and what I foresee happening in sports gambling.

That said, are you now ready for some football?

By the way, speaking of that well-known Hank Williams, Jr. lyric, wasn’t Ken Burns’ epic documentary on the history of country music a masterpiece?  If you didn’t watch it, I strongly recommend that you do so.  Learn something.  Expand your horizons.  Think outside the box.  Be open to ideas — both old and new.

Sounds like good advice for sports betting, as well.

That’s my message today entering NFL Week #4.

Now, let’s “walk the line” and grab some winners.

 

************************************************

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          13 — 11 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,296.

Current Bankroll:   $ 8,666.  (+ $ 370.)

Last Week’s Results:         5 — 4 — 0  (+ $ 235.)

*************************************************

 

THIS WEEK’S WAGERS:  I’m not as enthusiastic about this week’s card as in the previous weeks.   Accordingly, I’m betting slightly less per game.  Nothing wrong with caution.  There’s a long season still ahead.  Wagering $1,470. to win $1,300. on 6 bets.

Philadelphia / Green Bay OVER 47 — Risking $330 to win $300

Note:  This wager was posted to Facebook on Thursday (be sure to follow and check there for early plays).  The game easily sailed over the total and landed on 61 points.  This play will be graded in the final Week #4 results (not yet counted in the results above).

Miami + 15 vs. LA Chargers — Wagering $220 to win $200

I bet on the woeful Dolphins earlier in the season completely unaware of just how bad they are.  Like with most handicappers, I concluded they were an unbettable team, at least until I saw something positive.  But this week I’m on the Dolphins again given the situation and what I see as mass overreaction to the perceptions of these two teams.  Obviously, Miami is the worst team in the league.  However, they’re not going to lose every regular-season game by 15+ points.  Such ineptitude doesn’t happen in the NFL.  In fact, Miami is likely at some point to have a better day than average and the opponent is capable of suffering a perfectly understandable case of overconfidence.  I think that scenario might apply this week.  Poor Miami has faced a murderous early schedule, playing BALT, NWE, and DAL, and now they face LAC at home.  Hard to believe, but this might be the softest of the four tests, to date.  Playing four playoff-caliber teams in a row, the first three games against the best defenses in the league may battle-toughen the Dolphins.  Miami’s offense actually moved the ball on Dallas last week and didn’t play badly (229 passing yards / 73 rushing yards).  There’s also some mounting evidence that opponents might not take the Dolphins as a serious threat.  All NFL teams have athletes capable of making plays, and the LA Chargers look to be given a bit too much credit by oddsmakers.  Consider, they’ve played three subpar games, including three non-covers, and are now laying nearly as many points as the NFL’s elite teams (NWE and DAL).  What’s been impressive about the Chargers, so far?  Certainly not the defense and not the offense either, which remains not at full strength due to injuries/RB holdout (won’t play).  LAC have been a notorious road favorite in the Philip Rivers era and given they play and early game here traveling across three time zones, I see nothing which justifies laying this number.  Yes, Miami has looked dreadful, especially on offense.  But one has to think in terms of direction and value.  Miami could not possibly play worse and will certainly improve at some point.  This looks to be one of those weeks when the effort should be somewhat improved for the home team that was humiliated in the opener three weeks ago.  I wouldn’t touch this game at less than +14, but getting +15 is enough value for me to pull the trigger with a modest-sized wager.  [I’m calling this play my “Greg Dinkin Special”]

New England / Buffalo UNDER 42 — Risking $220 to win $200

Admittedly, I got dealt a bad number on this total.  I missed the far more attractive opener at 44, still intended to bet the game at 43, and then recognized my error when I reached the sportsbook, called out the bet, and then looked at the ticket later and saw the total had dropped to 42.  That’s an amateur mistake on my part.  I would have passed on this total at anything less than 43.  So, now I have to write something here what compels me to bet under this total.  Well, New England’s defense has certainly been stellar.  While they’ve faced some lackluster offenses, so far, no doubt this defense is among the league’s best.  No touchdowns allowed, dating back to last year’s AFC Championship game.  That’s impressive.  Buffalo’s defense is also statistically very good, though the Bills have played a creampuff schedule against three very bad teams with weak QBs.  We will now see just how good that Buffalo defense really is this week facing the GOAT.  Four of the last five games between these two division rivals have gone well under the total, including both games last season (with similar personnel).  If anything, both defenses may be better now than before and with more on the line (both teams are a perfect 3-0) we can probably expect less risktaking and more ball control, especially from the Bills.  I’m also encouraged by the early line movement, which apparently shows some shared belief the initial send out total was too high.  Now, 42 might be the correct number, but I still think we’re on the right side given the recent history and defensive play of these two teams.  Note to Self:  Pay attention to the ticket, next time.

First Half:  New Orleans +.5 vs. Dallas — Risking $220 to win $200

I’m betting the hometown Saints only in the first half, hosting Dallas on Sunday night.  New Orleans looked surprisingly strong in a bounce-back effort last week in Seattle (up 27-7 at one point), with replacement QB Bridgewater doing more than enough to win and cover in a hostile stadium.  Now at home getting his first start, I expect the Saints offense to continue its success versus team thought to be among the NFC’s best.  But — is Dallas really as good as their 3-0 record?  The Cowboys have played a woeful slate of opponents, so far — including NYG, WASH, and MIA — not exactly a murderer’s row of talent.  The Saints in the Superdome will clearly be a major step up in class.  Meanwhile, New Orleans has been battle-tested in three very tough games — HOU, LAR, and SEA, including the last two in the road.  The Saints showed last week they can pick up the slack of Brees injury (still out 5-6 more weeks).  Getting even a half-point at home strikes me as a gift.  Not sure I remember the last time the Saints were home dogs.  Tempting as it is to play NOR at +2.5 to +3 on the game line, I am concerned after watching DAL games, they have the type of offense that wears down opponents.  The rushing game is very good and appears to improve as the game goes along.  I suspect the Cowboys might pull off the win as the better team (minus Brees).  But the first 30 minutes are a different ball game and a stand-alone wager for me.  Taking the rare home dog Saints in this game for the first half.

TEASER:  Minnesota +8 / Indianapolis -1 — Risking $240 to win $200

Vikings have proven a solid wager in all three games, so far.  Even their road loss, at Green Bay, was an admirable effort.  Vikings have roared on offense in two home games and will certainly face a much tougher opponent here.  But I’m still not convinced the Bears defense are as good as the stats show — playing DEN and WASH the last two weeks.  Minnesota’s defense has also played solid.  In what’s expected to be a low-scoring game where points will be at a premium, I like these Vikings teased up Wong-style over the key numbers and grabbing +8.  I’m not buying into the fluke 31-point “explosion” from the Bears on offense last week, which the Redskins gift wrapped in a horrendous effort.  Chicago could have slept-walked through that game and won.  The Bears have yet to prove they’re capable of winning by double digits, especially to a tough division foe in a critical battle.  I expect and hope the +8 will come into play here, and thus I’m backing the Vikings in two teasers this week. /////////// In the other matchup on the teaser, I’m betting against Oakland which is now getting exposed as one of the dregs of the NFL.  There’s just not enough talent on this roster combined with some grumbling that the Raiders coaching staff is not suited for this decade.  I’ll take Colts coach Frank Reich as a Jon Gruden ina heartbeat.  Oakland is 1-11 its last 12 road games, scoring just 13 PPG on average.  Those are bottom basement numbers.  Moreover, the Colts have played well-balanced football all three weeks, and appear to have a chip on their shoulders with QB Brissett now fully in command of the offense.  Colts are a perfect 3-0 ATS and 2-0 SU, and if they had a more dependable kicker, they’d be 3-0 SU right now.  This is the softest opponent the Colts have yet faced, and a well-coached team should get the home win.  That’s all we’re asking since we’ve teased well-deserving favorites from -7 down to -1.

TEASER:  Minnesota +8 / Cincinnati +10 — Risking $240 to win $200

See the Minnesota Vikings writeup above ////////// When I first saw the Bengals-Steelers line on MNF, I immediately screamed at myself — DON’T BET CINCINNATI!.  Well, here I am — betting on Cincinnati.  Why?  Ten points seem too much a gift to pass up, especially with two struggling teams utterly desperate for a win playing in primetime (note that the line moved on me, from +4.5 down to +4, but I still think the teased +10 provides enough value).  The Steelers are clearly not the same team now as we are accustomed to, and are likely to struggle the remainder of the season.  While they do merit being small home favorites, remember the Bengals have covered in 2/3 games, including both contests on the road.  Bengals offense has produced lots of passing yards, and they should be able to exploit a vulnerable defensive secondary that’s been torched the first three weeks.  I have no idea as to the outcome of the game, but much like the Miami play above, sometimes you must hold your nose and identify overreactions by the public and seek out the value.  The Bengals should be able to stay in the game and get the cover teased up to +10.

 

THOUGHTS ON OTHER GAMES:

HOU laying -4 to CAR, which looks revamped after last week’s QB change due to injury to Newton.  Tempted to play HOU, especially since CAR comes off a win in a back-to-back road situation.  HOU has played tough in all three games.  I think this line is probably a little low.  If Newton was healthy and starting, HOU would probably be favored by -3.  So, linesmakers are only giving the dog 1 extra point with the backup starting.  I think this line should be at least -5, but I’m passing on the wager due to some worries that the Panthers under coach Rivera sometimes play their best games when its least expected.

BALT is laying -6.5 to -7 to CLEV this week, depending upon where you shop and while the 2-1 Ravens are certainly the better team, the Browns might finally be worth a look after being overrated by bettors in the first three games.  Two rivals with a chance to become the undisputed favorite in the division with a victory probably translates into a close game where getting points will be a factor.  If I can get +7 at -110, Cleveland is definitely worth a wager and even at +6 is the right side, I believe.

NYG and WASH play the yucky game of the week.  All eyes will be on the new Giants rookie QB, who didn’t really look all that solid last week, despite the impressive second-half comeback upset win.  Hard to say if confidence from that win carries over into the game.  Also tough to predict how Redskins will react to an embarrassment on MNF last week.  QB Keenum played about as poorly as is possible for an NFL starter.   Strangely enough, the total is 49, reflecting just how bad the two defenses are.  Passing on everything connected to this game, though WASH getting points in the 1H might be worth a look if you have some sick desire to bet this matchup.  With Giants RB out to injury, a horrid defense, taking points is probably the play.

Fireworks are expected in DET this week where the unbeaten Lions are hosting perfect 3-0 KC.  Line at KC -7 looks a little high.  But this total at 55 means scoring will come easy, so unlike lower-scoring contests where getting a touchdown might matter, that value is diminished in more volatile contests.  It’s DET +7 or nothing here, but who wants to bet against the Chiefs offense, right now?  Not me.  Also some concern about QB Stafford for the Lions and a lingering back injury which flared up this week in practice.  That’s never a good thing.

TENN and ATL are two glaring disappointments.  Both are 1-2 and will need this win to remain serious contenders.  Lots of experience on both sides of the ball.  Titans will certainly try to run the ball here and ATL weaknesses on defense give them an edge, especially when betting at +4.  Most lines show TENN +3.5 right now.  But I can’t bet QB Mariota on the road, who is showing he’s not going to develop into what the Titans hoped, and makes far too many misreads at this stage of his career.  No wager for me on this game.

Who knows what emotional condition the Bucs will be in for this West Coast contest, facing the well-rounded Rams.  I can see LAR absolutely blowing out their mismatched opponents.  I’m quite tempted to lay -9.5 here.  Rare for me to consider a parlay where if the Rams win and cover, they may run up the score and also get lazy on defense, allowing the Bucs to earn some points.  Since you’re still reading and are interested in opinion, let’s call this a 42-24 shootout where the Rams/Over parlay cashes.

Seattle lays -5 to Arizona on the road.  Cardinals were thumped at home last week and face a tougher opponent coming off a loss.  Seahawks might be worth a look given they’ll be motivated to get back in the win-column, but I, as a rule, don’t lay points on the road in divisional games.  For me, it’s a pass.

Jacksonville travels to Denver and gets points.  Which QB do you trust more, Minshew — the new workman under center for the Jags or Flacco — who’s proving not be the answer for the Broncos?  Jacksonville defense is probably the best unit on the field here, and getting a FG, JAX may be worth a look.  Assuming JAX can pressure Flacco, they should win.  But I’m wary of Denver’s early-season home record, which has been impressive for some time.  Hard to believe, but Broncos are one of the NFL’s best September teams (19-8 SU since 20012), especially at home.  No play.

 

PICK THE WINNER CONTEST WINNER ONLY/NO POINTSPREAD [$200 entry fee]

Season Record To-Date:  30-18-1

Week #4 Picks:

Green Bay over Philadelphia — L

Tennessee over Atlanta

New England over Buffalo

Kansas City over Detroit

Indianapolis over Oakland

LA Chargers over Miami

Wahington over NY Giants

Baltimore over Cleveland

Houston over Carolina

LA Rams over Tampa

Seattle over Arizona

Minnesota over Chicago

Jacksonville over Denver

New Orleans over Dallas

Cincinnati over Pittsburgh

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]

211. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
100. — Stephen Cohen (payment pending)
51.  — John Reed
51. — George Wattman
51. — Mickdog Patterson
100. — Larry Lubliner
100. — Guy Grizz Berentsen
100. — Edmund Hack
500. — Bob Feduniak
63. — John Reed

__________

 

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What’s at Stake in the Latest Trump Scandal? Answer: Maybe the Future of American Democracy.

Posted by on Sep 26, 2019 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 1 comment

 

 

Provided you’re paying attention, we’re witnessing the nation’s ultimate test. We are about to find out in the coming weeks and months ahead — does our system work? Does democracy function? Will the constitution save us?

In the past, we’ve survived terrorist attacks, armed invasions, and even a civil war. But we’ve never been subject to a rebellious insurrection from within our own government at the very highest level, where the most powerful person in the country, cheered blindly by millions of loyalists, willingly and deliberately subverts 230 years of democratic tradition and openly trashes so many fundamental tenets of law, civility, and diplomacy.

In 1974, President Nixon came close to posing a similar threat like the one we face now. But Nixon, well trained in the law, highly-experienced in federal politics, and a proud veteran of World War II, had the common decency to save the nation from a grueling legal battle he could not win and resigned. The system *worked.*

I’m reminded of the tense scene from 1976’s “All the President’s Men” when Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee schools two young reporters working the Watergate scandal on what’s at stake in uncovering the crimes of a president.

“Have you seen the results of the latest Gallup Poll?” Bradlee asks Woodward on Berstein on his front lawn. “Half the country’s never heard of Watergate. Nobody gives a shit.”

Bradlee takes a long pause, then dismisses popular opinion and public indifference.

“….nothing’s riding on this — except the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country,” Bradlee says.

Although the scandals, the personalities, and the specifics are different today, Bradlee’s call to arms in defense of truth is a rallying cry every bit as important now as then. It reveals why Democrats MUST continue to investigate, and if warranted, pursue articles of impeachment. They MUST do this not because there are guarantees of success, but rather because the costs of doing nothing are much higher.

If we let this pass, it means our system will have collapsed. It means descending into a murky abyss where law and order no longer matters. It means lies can and will obfuscate the truth. It means an abrupt end to any co-equal branches of government and dissolution of the rightful powers and responsibilities they are granted by the constitution.

The stakes are even higher now than during Watergate because Nixon had no army of sycophants nor foreign confederates nor a slanted media eager and willing to knowingly pollute the minds of millions with his lies.  Indeed, Trump has all off these terrible tools at his disposal and he is using them like a sledgehammer.  He and his army of liars will make square pegs fit into round holes and call his version of the truth — a perfect fit.

If Trump gets away with such a vast panoply of high crimes, be certain that far worse crimes will follow.

Let us see if our system works and the truth shall set us free, once again.

 

 

__________

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NFL 2019: Week #3 Picks

Posted by on Sep 21, 2019 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

 

 

************************************************

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          8 — 7 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,296.

Current Bankroll:   $8,431.  (+ $135.)

Last Week’s Results:         5 — 3 — 0  (+ $295.)

*************************************************

 

This Week’s Wagers:  Wagering $2,220. to win $1,950. on 9 bets.

 

TEASER:  Jacksonville +8 with Minnesota -2.5 — Risking $240. to win $200.

Note:  Jacksonville already covered the first part of the teaser.  The Jacksonville pick was posted on Facebook.  Please check Facebook prior to the Thursday NFL game, since some of my wagers will be posted there.

I’m doing a mini-teaser wheel with Minnesota this week, expecting the Vikings to take care of business at home against visiting Oakland.  I’ve wheeled the Vikings on three teasers (see the other two legs below).  Minnesota is an appealing bet for many reasons.  Most sportsbooks currently list them as -9 point favorites.  However, a few books have them at -8.5 which presents significantly improved teaser possibilities — namely capturing the win and cover on the key number (3).  For those new to betting teasers, we are using Stanford Wong’s methodology first described nearly 20 years ago in “Sharp Sports Betting” to teaser favorites (or sometimes underdogs) over four key betting numbers in the NFL — 3, 4, 6, and 7.  Hence, we reduce a big favorite down to a small favorite.  Minnesota’s superiority over Oakland doesn’t need much evidence.  Although both teams are 1-1, the Vikings bring the much better defense.  Minnesota has been a strong bet at home under head coach Zimmer (covering in nearly 70 percent of home games during his tenure) and in the midst of a tough division and race won’t take Raiders lightly.  Oakland simply lacks the talent to go on the road here without serious help (Minnesota turnovers, etc.), evidenced by losing 15 of their last 17 non-home games where they have gone a dreadful 4-13 ATS in those contests.  Raiders play first road game after two at home, and face Minnesota coming off a tough loss at Green Bay.  Vikings probably worth a look laying -8.5 and teased down to -2.5 they are simply too good a value to pass up as the spoke on the mini-teaser wheel.

 

TEASER:  Green Bay -1.5 with Minnesota -2.5 — Risking $240. to win $200.

Green Bay is another attractive leg of the Wong teaser.  Admittedly, this second consecutive home team for the 2-0 Packers looks like a possible letdown spot.  There’s always such a danger.  But Green Bay’s defense has been stellar the first two games and gets an opponent that shows serious offensive inconsistency.  Denver has scored just 30 points in two games.  QB Flacco has not been anywhere near the Super Bowl-calibre player of six years ago and there’s valid concern he’s not turning this offense around.  Kudos to head coach Vic Fangio for going for the win last week (2-pt conversion) which showed real guts.  But that opening home loss has to be tough to shake given the Broncos now face a much better QB threat, a defense perhaps as good, and a road game where the home-field advantage is certainly a factor.  Packers are very attractive here as the play, teased down and laying less than a FG.

 

TEASER:  Tampa Bay -.5 with Minnestora -2.5 — Risking $240. to win $200.

This is more of an “against” the NY Giants play than a confidence wager on Tampa Bay.  At first glance, the Bucs shouldn’t be laying -6.5 to anyone.  However, they do enter this game with some decided advantages.  First, they get 10-days to prepare and come off a huge confidence-building victory last Thursday night versus a division rival.  Moreover, Bucs defense which was expected to stink this year has played outstanding in the first two games.  Now, Tampa Bay faces an anemic NY Giants offense which just benched longtime-starter Manning.  While that was the correct decision, that sets up the punchless Giants for a bad spot going on the road against a rested and confident foe.  I’m always nervous about backing QB Winston with my money.  Recall he single-handedly gift-wrapped a victory for the opponent in Week #1 with three horrendous turnovers.  Arians and Leftwich will keep Winston on a tighter leash here since it shouldn’t take a herculean effort to beat the floundering Giants.  Bucs allowing an impressive 304 YPG.  Giants defense allowing 445 YPG.  Daniel Jones is a rookie, drafted in April.  The Giants hoped he might be able to ride the bench and learn a few things before being thrown into the fire leading a bad offense with a porous offensive line.  It’s hard to imagine a worse spot for the visitor here.  Accordingly, the Bucs are being teased through some key numbers and laying just -.5 just need to win the game.  I’ll like that prospect.

 

Detroit + 6 vs. Philadelphia — Risking $330. to win $300.

This line looks a little high.  I love what I saw from the Eagles in the loss at Atlanta Sunday night.  Despite the defeat and pointspead loss, Philadelphia showed some real ability to overcome adversity, including several injuries at key positions.  Except for a fluke late 4th down catch and run for a TD by Julio Jones, the Eagles would have won.  So, why am I fading them this week?  Well, those injuries appear to linger and could be a factor this week.  The Eagles have been notoriously slow starters in the first two games, falling behind to Washington (at home!) 0-17 and being down by double-digits to Atlanta.  While QB Wentz has led this team to two impressive second-half rallies, something about the Eagles game preparation appears amiss.  Meanwhile, Detroit should be 2-0 at right now.  Coming off an impressive home dog win against the Chargers, the Lions were up by 18 points in the road opener and settled for a tie.  I’m wary of backing Matt Stafford, who never seems to perform well in these key games, but the Lions do have solid wideouts and can certainly score points.  I expect a close game where the +6 could be a factor.

 

Miami / Dallas Under 47.5 — Risking $330. to win $300.

By the same logic I bet the under in the NWE-MIA game last week, this looks to be a nearly identical situation.  That game should easily gone under the high number (48), but two defensive scores gave us a late scare.  Nonetheless, Miami’s silent offense won’t get any breaks this week playing a road game at Dallas, which also fields one of the league’s better defensive units.  We can’t possibly expect Miami to produce many points given the ineptitude we’ve witnessed in the first two games, which make the Dolphins appear epically bad.   That demands Dallas to score most of the points to make this game go over, which I don’t foresee happening.  Unlike New England, Dallas is more of a rushing team which will keep moving the ball and eat up lots of clock.  The Cowboys comfortably at 2-0 won’t need to get fancy here against an outmatched opponent.  Moreover, with a road game in the New Orleans Superdome next week on Sunday night, Dallas won’t need to show much or take many risks.  I’m looking for a workman’s approach by the Cowboys to this contest, getting the easy home win, and coming out injury-free for a much tougher stretch of games coming up.  Also a slight factor, we get the win on a key number (47).  Key numbers aren’t quite as significant in the last few years with rule changes.  But I still like every little edge.  I’m not a fan of QB Josh Rosen, who has looked completely lost as an NFL QB, dating back to games as a starter with the Cardinals last season.  This is probably a regression from Fitzpatrick, making the Dolphins prospects for points even bleaker.  Under looks like the play.

 

First Half:  Cincinnati + 3.5 vs. Buffalo (at -120) — Risking $180. to win $150.

Taking a small flyer on the painful-to-watch Bengals getting more than a FG on the road against the perfect 2-0 Bills, who I’m not convinced deserve to be laying this much chalk.  Bengals being thoroughly humiliated last week should inspire more focus and a better effort.  Buffalo’s offense isn’t in the class (yet) of a team that deserves to be favored by this number.  In fact, Buffalo could come into this game a little overconfident, in my view.  Cincinnati has lit up the yardage stats with 700 yards passing in two games.  Buffalo had the luxury of facing two of the most inept offenses in football and now arguably make a step up in class (hard to believe I just typed that referring to Cincinnati).  I also think there’s some added pressure on the Bills now that wasn’t there before.  I do like the road dog Bengals to cover the game.  But the even stronger wager is taking these live cats in the first half.

 

First Half:  Cleveland +1 vs. LA Rams — Risking $165. to win $150.

It’s tough for me to step onto the train tracks and bet against the Rams, who I respect in virtually all aspects of coaching and playmakers.  But this looks to be a real down spot for the road favorite.  LA Rams are certainly the superior team on paper.  However, this primetime game (Sunday night) is the first in Cleveland in a decade and following the Browns’ awful home opener, this game becomes a focal point for the franchise.  No doubt, the Browns will be fired up against a top-tier opponent.  They came out of the Jets’ game relatively unscathed.  LA Rams deserve to be favored and will likely win the game.  This offense will wear out any defense.  However, in the first 30 minutes, I expect the Browns to ride a wave of home emotion that keeps them close in this contest.  Getting +1 in the first half is certainly a promising value.

 

Washington +4.5 vs. Chicago — Risking $330. to win $300.

First Half:  Washington +2.5 — Risking $165. to win $150.

I have two wagers in the MNF game.  The Redskins are the play getting points in both the first half and the game.  Despite their 0-2 record, Washington has looked decent in their first two games — both against top-tier opponents (PHIL and DAL).  The offense has moved the ball and scored points.  There’s major concern about Washington’s porous defense, but they get a much softer foe here which has struggled badly to produce yards and points.  QB Trubisky shows no signs of maturing as an NFL starter despite being in his third year.  Reports are the Bears will “open up the playbook” in this game for the struggling QB, but in a road game on MNF that might not mean much.  I think Washington can get to the 20-point mark here, and should also be more aggressive on offense.  I’m not as convinced Chicago will suddenly shake off their offensive cobwebs and suddenly produce points.  I’m taking the dog with the points until I see Trubsiky can produce as a legitimate NFL starter.

 

Other Games and Thoughts:

I lean strongly to INDY -3 hosting ATL.  Frank Reich can flat out coach and Luckless offense led by QB Jacoby Brissett have played two strong games on the road.  They get a softer opponent here who has struggled badly on the road in recent years.  Despite ATL’s big win over PHILA on Sunday night, one could see the cracks in this team.  They simply aren’t very good.  QB Ryan continues making inexplicable downfield throws (recall his mindless int. early in 4th qtr into triple coverage last week that would have iced the victory).  Atlanta isn’t running the ball well, which is the Colts’ defensive weaknesss.  I’ll take a gutsy team overcoming adversity playing its home opener against a soft opponent and laying a reasonable number.  Keep in mind the Colts were projected as a playoff team this season (before Luck’s retirement).  The Falcons were not.  So, the Colts laying -3 still shows that Indy might not be getting the respect they deserve.  However, before boarding the Colts’ train, I want to see them one more week.  I had them in Week #1 and faded them in Week #2.  With more attractive wagers on the board, I’m taking a hard pass on this contest.

KC is laying -6 to -6.5 versus BALT.  That’s the correct line.  Remarkable that BALT is the NFL’s top-ranked offense at the moment, but that’s entirely due to facing a couple of weak defenses (MIA and ARZ).  They should regress some here in a tough environment where the Chiefs will be up for the first home game since last season’s AFC Championship.  Two 2-0 teams with exciting young QBs promises to be the week’s best game and perhaps most intriguing matchup.  I also liked what I saw from QB Jackson in this spot last season, where the Ravens didn’t win or cover but still showed they can bring it on the road against top competition.  Still, the Ravens have not really been tested yet.  KC has won two road games, both covers by double-digits.  This looks like a great game to be a spectator, but not a bettor.  Only lean is to Under 54.5 based on the prospect BALT will try to grind the clock with lots of running.  BALT can’t win a shootout with KC on the road, so they should dictate a slower-paced game.  Then, there’s certainly the prospect that the Ravens defense could slow down the Chiefs.  Under is the only attractive option for me.

NWE gets another softie this week hosting the helpless NYJ who are probably starting Richard Todd at QB.  Laying nearly 20 points with a game total around 43, it’s hard to predict what the Patriots will do.  They could win 55-3 or go through the motions and scrap out an ugly win but non-cover.  Jets have traditionally played Patriots tough, but that’s a bygone era now with new coaches and non-existent QB.  Given the Patriots’ stellar defensive play in first two games, it’s hard to see how NYJ score many points.  But I’ve given up trying to predict what secret motivations exist for head coach Belichick or what will be called from the Patriots’ thick playbook.  These two teams have played five straight unders.  Lean to the under again, but didn’t bet it this week because total declined 5 points from last week’s similar matchup (MIA-NWE).  Too much volatility for me to pull the trigger again, but seriously — how will the Jets score any points?

CAR is was laying -2 to ARZ, then we learned that struggling starting QB Newton is out, which swings the game line in the Cardinals’ favor, now laying -2.  Panthers are 0-2-0 ATS and SU through two games, which includes a -7-point differential.  Meanwhile, ARZ is are 2-0-0 ATS with a +4.0 differential against the spread.  Methinks this line might have adjusted just a little too much.  Panthers with 10-days prep time are a strong lean.  But I sure love the energy and coaching I’ve seen from the Cardinals sideline, so far.  Pass.

NOR is getting +4.5 at SEA.  Terrible spot for the Saints playing two tough opponents on the road, crippled by loss of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees.  Backup Bridgewater is experienced and should perform better this week with more prep time.  But SEA is always a tough place to play and I sure didn’t like seeing the Saints manhandled on both sides of the ball last week.  NOR defense does not look good.  Moreover, NOR is once again starting another season slowly (0-2 ATS).  It’s SEA or nothing here.  No opinion on the total which is now down to 44.5.

LAC are giving -3 to HOU.  Intriguing matchup between two 1-1 teams.  I can’t explain the LAC lifeless offensive effort last week at DET.  HOU also looked flat at home, despite the win over JAX.  Line looks about right.  Hard to see any edge here, although I considered taking Texans in 1H getting points.  Better options exist elsewhere so this is a pass.

Finally, SFO — darlings at 2-0 both ATS and SU face the league’s most disappointing team, which just lost their leader.  Roethlisberger gone for the season for Steelers.  I incorrectly lambasted 49ers as being a fraud last week and the went out and pasted the shit Bengals.  What impresses me most is SFO won two games on the road, which is never easy in the NFL.  I think SFO’s stadium and home field is a joke, but I’m slowly coming around to the 49ers being legit.  I’ll wait another week and watch to see how they respond to a desperate team with a new starter.  A critical must-win game here for PITT.  No bets for me on this one.

 

PICK THE WINNER CONTEST [NO POINTSPREAD] — $200 entry fee

Season Record To-Date:  21-12-1

Week #3 Picks:

CINCY over BUF

DAL over MIA

GREEN BAY over OAK

INDY over ATL

KC over BALT

NWE over NYJ

MINN over OAK

PHILA over DET

CAR over AZ

TB over NYG

HOU over LAC

SFO over PITT

SEA over NOR

CLE over LAR

WASH over CHI

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]

211. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
100. — Stephen Cohen (payment pending)
51.  — John Reed
51. — George Wattman
51. — Mickdog Patterson
100. — Larry Lubliner
100. — Guy Grizz Berentsen
100. — Edmund Hack
500. — Bob Feduniak
63. — John Reed

__________

 

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