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

NFL 2019: Week #5 Picks

 

 

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

NFL 2019: Week #4 Picks

 

 

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.

 

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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.)

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

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

 

 

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

NFL 2019: Week #3 Picks

 

 

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

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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Posted by on Sep 15, 2019 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

NFL 2019: Week #2 Picks

 

 

Last week, the 2019 NFL Regular Season began with a small loss.  I posted 3 wins and 4 losses for a net loss of -$160.  Minimal harm done.  Let’s remember — the 21-week season including the playoffs is a marathon, not a sprint.

My private investment fund (BD /SM) closed with 37 brave souls who put in amounts ranging from just a few dollars up to $1,000 max.  My fund raised nearly $8,300 in all.  Look for the fund’s wagers to become increasingly aggressive once some early season data points have been established.

Once again, if you are involved, please do check your name and status at the end of this report and inform me of any errors.  I expect this will be the final tally on investment figures going forward.

Oh, and in case you missed the boat.  It sailed, man.  It’s cruising.  Go ahead and cap your games out of the newspaper or listen to PTI.  Poor things.  My people are on board.  First-class.  I take care of my people.  Remember this, next time.  You missed the Concorde and are stuck in the middle seat in coach on Spirit.  Hang in there.  I might toss you a lifeline if I feel charitable.  Let me generate some scrub before inviting more players onto my handicapping life raft.

Also, $200 of the fund has been put into a contest where the objective is to simply pick the game-winner (no points).  In Week #1, I went 10-5-1 — which is currently good for a middle-of-the-pack standing.  I’ll update our progress on that investment as the season continues.

Thanks again to each of you who invested in the fund.  Hang in there, it’s a long season ahead.  Hopefully, a profitable season, as well.

Live and learn, people.

Now, let’s move on to Week #2.

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

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          3 — 4 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,296.

Current Bankroll:   $8,136.

Last Week’s Results:         3 — 4 — 0  (- $160.)

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

Wagering $1,925. to win $1,700. on eight bets.

This Week’s Wagers:

First Half:  NY Giants + .5 (-120) vs. Buffalo — Laying $180. to win $150.

Comments:  NY Giants didn’t play a bad game, last week, a 35-17 loss to the Cowboys.  Dallas just might be among the NFC elites, right now.  Now at home facing a beatable opponent, look for the NY Giants give a better effort.  I think this line has over-reacted to last week’s results.  A few weeks ago, this line probably would have been NY Giants favored by 2.  While NY Giants have been a horrid team at home in recent years (both SU and ATS), I expect the opener to inspire a good effort.  Meanwhile, Buffalo had to rally late to win in this same stadium, last week against the hapless Jets.  This is a rare case of back-to-back road games in an away arena.  The Bills defense played exceptionally well, which is a legitimate concern in the game backing the Giants.  However, the Buffalo offense continues to be anemic.  Inconsistent QB Allen looked lost much of the first half and was responsible for four turnovers (two ints. and two fumbles) in the first half alone.  For some reason, Allen has shown a tendency to play much better in the second half.  These factors — Giants at home, getting a half-point with slightly elevated juice, a weak offensive opponent, and perhaps some extra motivation compels me to make a modest-sized wager on the G Men in the first half.  I don’t think the Bills should be laying points on the road to anyone (except perhaps Miami).  Let me put it another way — last week, Buffalo was down 16-3 entering the 4th quarter in this stadium against the lowly Jets, and yet they are laying points?  That’s ridiculous.

Tennessee – 3 (-120) vs. Indianapolis — Laying $300. to win $250.

Comments:  Several trends favor the underdog Colts in this game, who have won 6 of the last 7 meetings in Nashville.  However, with the Luck factor gone, all eyes point to replacement QB Brissett who admittedly played very well in last week’s loss (but cover) to the Chargers.  I see a tougher spot here for the visitor, making a second-straight road trip versus division opponent.  It’s also always tough to recover emotionally from OT losses and then have to travel again with less prep time.  Oddsmakers say these teams are rated as roughly equal in talent (home team usually gives -3, which is the game line), but I’m of the opinion the Titans still might be a bit undervalued.  Tennessee destroyed Cleveland last week, although they were certainly helped by a +3 turnover ratio in that game.  Tennessee continues to run the ball well, dating back to midseason 2018.  Titans have been one of the league’s best rushing attacks, led by RB Henry.  I expect they’ll enjoy some success against Colts defense that entered the season with concerns and gave up 30 points in the first week.  Titans will look to make a statement here in the home opener.  They’re 8-5-1 last few seasons at home ATS.  With a win here, Tennessee takes the early driver’s seat in the division.  One added intangible is some concern Indy placekicker Vinatieri is still his old self.  He missed three kicks last week (33, 46, and an XP), which merits a red flag.  Betting on teams with concerns in the kicking game is probably undervalued as a handicapping tool — it really should be taken into more consideration.  I like the Titans, which looks to be a well-rounded team, especially at home, to cover this number.

Cincinnati -1 (-110) vs. San Francisco — Laying $275. to win $250.

Comments:  49ers picked up an ugly false win last week.  They’re frauds.  They were trailing 7-6 at halftime to the Bucs and were outgained in yardage for the game.  The lifeless offense looked weak, even with QB Garoppolo healthy (just 255 yards of total offense).  Tampa’s QB basically gift-wrapped the game with three turnovers, including two interception returns for TDs.  Sorry, but San Franciso isn’t the caliber of a team to go on the road again and get another win, particularly since it appears the Bengals are getting slightly disrespected here.  Also important to note these aren’t close road games.  Both are though three time zones.  Cincy took Seattle down to the wire in a 21-20 loss in Seattle last week.  The big spark was the Bengals’ passing attack, which ran up nearly 400 yards, even with playmaker WR Green sidelined.  49ers will face a motivated team with a new coach in his first home game and won’t find it as easy as trying to defense Jameis Winston.  QB Dalton threw 51 passes last week, so it will be up to San Fran to shut down the receivers.  Betting the Bengals is often an exercise in faith if not futility, but seeing the noble effort last week and laying a very low number (-1) this seems like a gift.  I have to play the Bengals at this price.

Miami / New England UNDER 48.5 — Laying $275. to win $250.

Comments:  Many sharp bettors are on the big home dog Dolphins, and I certainly see that line of reasoning.  But I’m persuaded that the far better wager is the UNDER here, especially at this high number.  Miami, as the undisputed NFL’s worst team at the moment, shows little to no ability to score many points.  That brings to question how motivated the reigning Super Bowl champs will be to run up the score.  Given that new Miami Coach Flores was previously a defensive assistant to Bill Belichick (and was with Pats organization 15 years), it’s hard to see the Patriots running up the score and making a mockery of a division rival.  A hot and humid day, an opponent that’s clearly outclassed, and (oddly enough) Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB for the Dolphins —-who isn’t prone to rookie mistakes leading to easy points off turnovers—- is a perfect recipe for a “boring” low-scoring game.  31-10 looks about right.  But it also wouldn’t surprise me if the Dolphins were shut out in the game given how awesome New England is on the D dating back to last season.

Arizona / Baltimore UNDER 46.5 — Laying $275. to win $250.

Comments:  I have concerns so many handicappers are touting this as one of the best totals on the board.  As a contrarian, I tend to fade public (and even some expert expectation).  But too many factors weigh heavily here to discount the obvious, including a higher-than-average total, which compels us to play the under.  Arizona was horrid offensively for 3 quarters, last week.  Detroit’s defense was gassed by game’s end, and that’s when the home underdogs came to life.  I think some of what we saw in the epic comeback was misleading  That won’t happen here in Baltimore, a much tougher place to play, certainly for the inexperienced Cardinals.  It’s hard to say where Baltimore ranks defensively (yes, they are #1 after shutting down Miami — but that was Miami).  It looks to be another relatively easy task for this defense, facing a rookie QB and new head coach both making their road debut.  So, let’s assume the Cardinals won’t be lighting up the scoreboard.  Meanwhile, Baltimore’s laugher last week should probably be discarded.  This isn’t a 59-point offense.  This is more of a ground attack, short pass dunks, and a ball-control game plan that will be content with the home win.  I look for the Ravens to build a lead, sit on the ball, and walk away with a 26-13 type of win that goes under the number.

LA Rams – 2 (-110) vs. New Orleans — Laying $275. to win $250.

Comments:  New Orleans isn’t a good early-season team.  We saw this trend continue last week, as the favored Saints barely escaped with a win in a thrilling game.  Now, off a short prep week, New Orleans must travel west for an NFC title game re-match.  I might like the Saints were this game at home, especially given some revenge motivation after one of the worst non-calls of all time.  But New Orleans isn’t the same flashy high-scoring team when on the road.  We know the Rams can roll up points at home, and have shut down New Orleans in the past (credit Wade Phillips).  Saints lost six of last eight road openers; Rams have won both home openers in McVay era, decisively so — 46-9 and 34-0.  Rams are slightly more balanced in my estimation, especially on defense and with home field against an opponent they won’t take lightly, I look for the favorite to cover, especially given New Orleans history of starting slow early in the season.

Atlanta + 1.5 (-110) vs. Philadelphia — Laying $165. to win $150.

First Half:  Atlanta +.5 (-120) vs. Philadelphia — Laying $180. to win $150.

Comments:  Two wagers on the contest — one for the game and another for the first half.  It’s painful to take real money and bet it on the Falcons, right now.  This team looked horrid in the opener at Minnesota.  I can’t make any case for the Falcons statistically speaking, but this team still has plenty of talented veterans, a coach who knows how to win, and certainly — added motivation this week in the home opener.  Seems like a critical game already for Atlanta.  Meanwhile, Philadelphia looked totally lost for 35 minutes last week (down 0-17 to Washington) before coming to life and nearly covering.  That “win” was rather unimpressive considering how mismatched the opponent was at +10.  The Eagles don’t appear to be anywhere near the elites of the league, just 18 months after their Super Bowl win.  But, they’re still favored here because (I presume) many bettors are overreacting to the Falcons’ really bad performance last week in which they were down 0-28 at one point.  I’m glad to fade this (hopefully mistaken) popular perception.  Moreover, the Eagles defense was ripped last week for several big plays.  One expects a talented Falcons offense at home in the dome to exploit some of those same weaknesses.  Oddly enough, Eagles have been a poor indoor turf team at just 5-9 ATS under HC Peterson.  Also, Atlanta has historically opened up well at home, winning 13 of last 15.  Falcons also 8-2 as a home dog in last ten games, which tells me these veterans rise to the occasion against top competition when in Atlanta  I’ll take the home dog in the game, as well as the half-point in the first half.

 

Other Games and Thoughts:

I was really tempted to play DET plus the points at home hosting the LAC, but a few things kept me off the game.  DET really looked poorly coached and conditioned down the stretch in last week’s tie.  That was an unforgivable collapse, and as tempting as it may be to bet the home dog, Detroit really is outclassed here.  LAC are aware they dodged a bullet last week.  But the Chargers also moved the ball well and should have no problem with this defense.  The play here is probably the OVER 47 if you must bet the game.  Two veteran QBs with good wideouts on the rubber grass.  Game could fly OVER.  But no action for me.

DAL laying -5.5 to WASH is worth a look, but I shy away from laying points on the road in division games.  DAL could come in overconfident, which happens with this inconsistent team under coach Garrett.  Credit K. Moore calling the plays on offense last week (new OC), which makes me think this team might step up.  But when you look at how WASH moved the ball in the loss/cover last week in Philadelphia, it’s certainly possible the ‘Skins give another solid effort.  Too many points to lay.  Should be -3.5. tops.

Hard to figure what state of mind HOU will be in after the crushing defeat in New Orleans Monday night.  But they face a team that should be shut down, with a backup QB (who looked fabulous statistically, 22/25 last week in loss to Kansas City).  Highly-coveted free agent signee QB Foles is out.  So. it’s doubtful JAX can produce enough offense to stay with HOU, but I’m not laying -9.5 points with any team that’s as inconsistent as HOU.  Let’s also remember JAX brings in a top defense.  KC rolls up points against everybody, so look for a better rebound effort.  It’s taking the dog or nothing here, for me.

PITT is laying -3.5 to SEA, which almost lost to Cincy at home last week.  PITT looked horrendous in loss to the Patriots.  There’s valid concern about these Steelers, who missed playoffs last season, might be taking a step downward.  So, this game should tell us a lot.  Many serious cappers are on PITT, but I think that faith is grounded too heavily on history.  I don’t see any spot where PITT enjoys definitive advantages, so I don’t want to lay points, especially since SEA is one of those teams capable of beating anybody.  Some analysts insist SEA defensive secondary could get shredded here (which game up 400 to Anthony Dalton in Week 1).  I’m just not convinced PITT has the talent anymore to flip a switch and beat well-coached opponents, especially given QB Russell’s skill set.  Pass.  But I do lean to OVER 47.

GB is laying -2.5 to -3 to rivals MINN.  Line looks about right.  I don’t have a good read on GB defense (was the opener just an aberration?) nor MINN offense, which uncharacteristically threw just 10 passes last week in domination over Atlanta.  The total at 43 does seem a little low, given QB Rodgers’ impressive numbers historically at home.  But that’s just a slight lean.

Many pro cappers are taking OAK this week, getting +7 in a divisional matchup against KC.  Horrible spot for Chiefs here, with the cross-country back-to-back games.  My guess is — OAK is the right side.  But I can’t step in front of the roaring KC money train right now.  Total at 53.5 seems a little high.  But given what we see from KC week in and out, this game could fly OVER.  Too much volatility for me to bet this one.

DEN is getting +1.5 to +2 at home hosting CHI.  Both offenses were steaming piles of puppy shit last week, so I’m tempted to play any side getting points.  But I’m going pass this temptation and invest my money elsewhere.  I suppose CHI with 3 extra days (played last Thursday) to prepare should enjoy some advantages.  Whichever offense struggles, you can pretty much say it’s — season over.  If Flacco bombs, he and Elway should get a 2 for 1 bus ticket out of Denver.

CLE is laying a whopping -6.5 points to NYJ, which lost another softie USC QB draftee (to mono, this week).  Poor NYJ played pretty well on defense last week, and that could keep them in the game.  Seems ridiculous for CLE to be laying this high number on road, after getting bounced like clowns at home in the humiliation of an opener.  I was tempted to play the home dog, but something tells me DC Gregg Williams is going to pay a price in this game for some off-the-field controversy regarding (now) Browns’ WR Beckham.  He’s been an overrated injury-prone act for a while, but could be the difference in a CLE win and over.  Normally, I don’t weigh these personality issues, but those of you who have followed the issue know it’s very volatile as a betting prop.  It’s probably NYJ and an UNDER here, but that’s an arm-twister.  Skipping this game for greener pastures elsewhere.  And since you are still reading, CLE is a sucker play here.  You drank Koolaid last week and got poisoned.  Why on earth would you do that again?  Sucker play = Cleveland.

 

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

Season Record To-Date:  10-5-1

Week #2 Picks:

CAR over TB

CINCY over SFO

SDI over DET

GB over MIN

TEN over INDY

NWE over MIA

NYG over BUF

PIT over SEA

DAL over WASH

BAL over PHX

HOU over JAX

KC over OAK

CHI over DEN

LAR over NOR

ATL over PHIL

CLE over NYJ

 

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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