One of the many things about how sports betting is covered in the media that drives me crazy is the careless use of lazy terminology, including “sharps” and “smart money” and “wiseguys.”
There’s no such thing.
Sure, some bettors are more sophisticated than others. In some cases, they work harder. But the only way to determine if one side is is preferred by so-called sharps is to watch and see if the line moves after a “sharp” leaves the window (or the online app). If the line doesn’t move, the sportsbook doesn’t respect the bettor. Mark that down. It’s that simple. So, the next time you read some bogus article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal about a “sharp bettor” being on one side or the other, you can dismiss it, that is, unless the sportsbook then adjusted the line based on that wager.
And even if the line moves, it still doesn’t mean all that much. I did my homework on this. In fact, some time ago I tracked a decade worth of line moves in all sports and there’s essentially no value at riding or fading the move — more on this another time. When you read a quote about a “respected bettor” or something similar making a large wager on a side or total, you can be assured that’s quote is a fluffer. Big bettors tend to have egos. They like seeing their wagers respected and mega-sized bets being referenced in the media. Most of it is garbage. Meaningless. Fluff intended to keep the dope sucker-hooked to the same book.
The most ridiculous falsehood about sports betting is the mass misperception of big bettors, as though a huge bet equates to wisdom or inside information. A big bet with lots of zeros means absolutely nothing, except that the bettor has a lot more money to gamble with than the rest of us. I’ve known many terrible gamblers who bet $5,000 a game who lose half a million a year and also know some winning handicappers who bet $100 a game. There is no correlation between bet size and smart handicapping. None whatsoever.
For example, last week, it was reported that some clueless idiot bettor here in Las Vegas wagered a whopping $220,000 on a football game about five minutes before kickoff (he took the Buffalo Bills at the worst possible number). His bet ended up winning, but it could have just as easily lost. Anyone betting that kind of money and taking the worst number possible at the last minute, especially when a half-point or full-point was available elsewhere (and earlier in the week) is a moron. Why these big bets get reported in the media is baffling to me. Most of these gamblers are losers no different from the regular betting public.
Here’s a plea: Stop giving these bettors, these worthless articles, and these insider reports any weight. They’re about as meaningful as a drunk millionaire spewing chips and betting roulette numbers. They mean nothing. Here’s an alternative idea: I’d much rather read articles on gamblers who bet wisely, and hammer out 55 percent winners year in and year out. Show me a sports gambler who makes $60,000 a year on average or more, with little or no variance. That’s a winner. Not some dope with some outside source of income who bets two-hundred grand at the last second on an NFL game and gets lucky. Spare me, please. No one fucking cares.
Yeah, this is a pet peeve of mine. Can you tell?
Now, on to NFL Week #15…..
2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD
Wins — Losses — Pushes 47 — 46 — 1
Starting Bankroll: $ 8,398.
Current Bankroll: $7,291. (- $1,107.)
Last Week’s Results (Week #14): 8 — 5 — 0 (+ $615.)**************************************************************
THIS WEEK’S WAGERS: This week, I made 13 wagers. I’m laying $3,227. to win $2,950. Here are the plays (each wager is listed at -110 unless noted otherwise):
Tampa Bay / Detroit OVER 45.5 — Risking $275 to win $250Chicago +4 vs. Green Bay — Risking $275 to win $250New England / Cincinnati UNDER 41 — Risking $275 to win $250Houston + 3 vs. Tennessee — Risking $275 to win $250Denver / Kansas City UNDER 44.5 — Risking $275 to win $250Denver +10 vs. Kansas City (-120) — Risking $300 to win $250First Half: Denver +6 vs. Kansas City — Risking $110 to win $100Miami +3 vs. NY Giants — Risking $275 to win $250First Half: Miami +2.5 vs. NY Giants — Risking $110 to win $100Buffalo +1 vs. Pittsburgh — Risking $275 to win $250Cleveland / Arizona OVER 49 — Risking $275 to win $250Atlanta / San Francisco UNDER 48.5 — Risking $275 to win $250Indianapolis +9 vs. New Orleans — Risking $275 to win $250
THOUGHTS ON EACH GAME:
Tampa Bay -5.5 at Detroit — Total 46
Tampa games tend to be high-volatile outcomes, with the Bucs scoring well above the league total in points, but often giving up more on defense. Indeed, the Bucs have been an OVER machine, eclipsing the total in last 10/11. Currently riding a surprising though meaningless 3-game winning streak, look for the Bucs to continue the ariel assault against an opponent that’s terrible against the pass. This total is the next-to-lowest total of the season for Tampa because there’s little faith in the Lions offense, which has struggled in backup QBs since Matt Stafford’s injury. However, back home again in what will be perceived as a winnable game, look for the Lions to exploit Tampa’s defensive secondary, which ranks 31st in the NFL against the pass. Given these two teams are a combined 18-8 to the OVER this season, it’s a little puzzling as to why this total isn’t just a bit higher. The dome and rubber grass at Ford Field only helps perfect conditions for these offenses. I got this number at OVER 45.5, but it’s risen to 46 in most places.
Philadelphia -6 at Washington — Total 39.5
I’ve lost all faith in the Eagles, which have been a glaring disappointment this season. Four straight non-covers are grounds for skipping these underachievers, especially as divisional road favorites. It’s never good to indiscriminately lay points in division games on the road favorite, and Philadelphia sounds off as an even louder alarm bell. Credit Washington for three straight covers. Some might be tempted to take a generous number of points, but not me. I have some interest in the OVER here since the total is lower than average. Eagles could click for one game and run up the score if everything goes right. If you can capture the win on 40, the OVER looks to be worth a look. But I’m passing for now on an official recommendation.
Chicago at Green Bay -4.5 — Total 40.5
I took the division dog here, much as it pains me to bet on the offensively-inept Bears. This is much more of a fade Green Bay wager, based on some metrics that reveal the Packers are far closer to a mediocre team than their 10-3 record indicates. This is a choppy inconsistent Packers team that’s ranked 23rd offensively in yardage gained and 22nd defensively in yards allowed playing versus a top-10 ranked defense (Chicago). In a game projected to be 15 degrees at kickoff where points could be at a premium, I like the +4 points. Note that I did get a bad number here, since I bet this at +4, under the mindset that the line could drop to +3.5 based on frigid weather. I wish I had +4.5, but still think the Bears are the right side at +4.
New England -10 at Cincinnati — Total 41
This is a betting angle I uncovered from data mining which basically says take the UNDER in games forecasted to be blowouts (double-digit lines) late in the season. I won’t give away all the details, but this has been a solid 58 percent winner over the past 20 years with more than 100 trials. The theory is — the favorite won’t exert any extra offensive energy and facing an outmatched opponent will simply be content with the win, especially on the road where these percentages are higher. New England has struggled offensively the past month, which helps this UNDER play. And the Patriots also field the NFL’s top-ranked defense. Cincy has gone 8-4-1 to the UNDER this season while the Patriots have been an UNDER machine, going 9-4 UNDER the total, which has pushed this total way down to 41. Cincy averages just 15 points a game this season and they’ll probably be lucky to reach that number in this game versus a very motivated New England defense. It’s also time we adjust for the fact this isn’t the same New England team that blows opponents out by five touchdowns. I’ll ride all these factors with the UNDER in this game.
Houston at Tennesee -3 — Total 51.5
The entire NFL handicapping world seems to be on the OVER in this game and I was tempted to join the crowd at 51. Titans have crushed the number for seven straight weeks, going 7-0 to the OVER since Tannehill took control at QB. But the number is up to 51.5 now, and something tells me total — way higher than any Tennessee game this season (average total of Titans games with Tannehill starts has been 44) — is an overreaction. Something else to look at: These two teams will play each other in two of the final three weeks. So, with first place in the division at stake, I expect a more conservative game plan than might be forecast by the number. I’m also taking the Texans plus a field goal for the game because I expect this to be close and go down to the final minute. Note that Houston was humiliated last week in what perhaps was a look-ahead situation (versus Denver), but in every game this season the Texans lost, they came back and won the following week (a perfect 4-0). Hoping to see a lower-scoring close game between two rivals competing for the playoff birth in the division. So give me the dog plus the points and UNDER a very high total.
Seattle -6 at Carolina — Total 49.5
I expect most of the chump money will be on Seattle here and it’s hard to make any case for betting the Panthers who appear to have mailed in their season. But someone scares me about this matchup since the Panthers have scored 20+ points in three straight games and they face an opponent at a serious travel disadvantage. Seattle got thumped last week in LA, in an embarrassing loss. Seahawks have also surrendered an alarming number of points the last eight games — 27, 26, 51, 20, 24, 29, 34, 29, and 40. Those are ugly numbers, very un playoff-like. I want no part of a team that plays an early start across three time zones and can’t seem to stop anybody. If anything, the Panthers are probably the right side here if you decided to bet the game.
Denver at Kansas City -9.5 — Total 45
I have three wagers riding on this game, and I’ll try to explain the reason for each. Admittedly, the Chiefs look like a Super Bowl contender again after rattling off three straight wins, including last week’s statement victory at New England. That’s a major emotional hill to come down from and Kansas City could be in for a flat spot, schedule-wise. Let’s credit Denver here which has covered in 6 of last 7 with the lone misfire at Buffalo, which fields a top defense. No one ranks the Chiefs in the upper echelon of NFL defenses, so I’m looking for Denver to enjoy some success in the time of possession battle, keeping the ball away from QB Mahomes and Co. Broncos’ defense is well above average and should keep them in the game with any effort that matches their season averages. I realize it’s somewhat cherry-picking of data, but the last nine weeks, both of these teams are 5-4 straight up. Getting +10 juiced up to -120 (which I found) looks to be a solid play. I’m also taking the UNDER based on my data angle about games forecasted as blowouts being good UNDER bets late in the season. One final sweetener to the betting trifecta is a small wager on the First Half and Denver at +6. The Broncos are getting too many points here, as evidenced by a better than average first-half performance in games this season, and getting a push on the key number of +6. Weather could help the dog and UNDER here as well — forecast at 26 degrees and foggy.
Miami at NY Giants -3.5 — Total 45.5
NY Giants off the short week and a tough loss at Philadelphia are at a slight disadvantage here, especially versus an opponent that hasn’t given up, covering in two straight, and 7 of their last 9. I also like Miami having played in this stadium last week (a heartbreaking loss to Jets due to getting fucked by a horrendous PI call in the final minute). I have a suspicion Miami can’t wait to take this field again after losing that game 22-21, and facing an opponent that might not be as well-rounded at the Jets. I bet NY Giants last week based on part on Eli Manning returning at QB, but that swan song novelty may wear off quickly here after the rush of a rare MNF appearance. Giants have lost NINE straight game, yet are laying a field goal. That’s probably the correct number based on the perception of Miami. But in a game between two losing teams going nowhere, I like taking the +3, especially given what happened last week to the Dolphins. I’m also taking the underdog for a small wager in the first half based on some motivational edge, getting +2.5.
Buffalo at Pittsburgh -1 — Total 37
All I hear is how great the Steelers defense is — but who have they played? Total crap. Steelers backup QB Hodges will face his toughest foe in weeks facing the Bills, who are 9-4 and on the verge of locking up a Wild Card spot (they could still win the division if New England collapses). Buffalo brings in a more seasoned offense, looks to be well-coached, clearly has at least as solid a defense, and a better W-L record, and is the underdog. I can’t resist the temptation to bet the team with some slight advantages. Buffalo seems to like the highway, as well — going 5-1 this season on the road.
Jacksonville at Oakland -6.5 — Total 46.5
The Jaguars have quit. There’s no other way to put it. I would need double digits to even consider wagering on this team, which might now be the worst lineup in the NFL. They’ve lost each of the last five games (all non-covers) by an average of 20 points. This line does seem a little low, considering the ineptitude of Jacksonville. That said, Oakland has proven to be a fraud. They were 6-4 four weeks ago and appeared to be in playoff contention before getting destroyed each of the last three weeks, nearly as badly as Jacksonville. Some say Oakland will rise to the occasion in their final game ever at the Coliseum, but seriously — if this team couldn’t get up in their previous two home games with something to play for, what makes anyone think they’ll flip a switch this week? I see the argument for betting the Raiders based purely on emotion, but that’s not enough for me to lay nearly a touchdown on these frauds. Pass.
Atlanta at San Francisco -10.5 — Total 48.5
Another in my data-driven UNDER plays based on an out-of-whack line and high total late in the season. It’s scary to bet the UNDER in a Falcons’ game given how porous the defense is, but the 49ers could be licking some wounds and be content with what should be an easy “W” after playing two of the toughest road games of the season back-to-back. San Francisco’s defense should also rebound after a weak effort in New Orleans last week. I’m hoping the 49ers shut down Atlanta and get away with an ugly win that falls under this number.
Cleveland -3 at Arizona — Total 49.5
I got this total at 49 but the number is now climbing. Arizona surrenders the most yards per game and also rank last in pass defense. They have surrendered 21+ points in every game this season. In a game where Cleveland should be looking to build some confidence and the coach’s job could be at risk, one expects the Browns to try and roll up some style points. Meanwhile, gets their softest defensive opponent after a brutal stretch of opponents since early Nov. having to face SFO (twice), NOR, PIT, and LAR. CLE is a major dropoff for an offense looking to get back on track. Also, as my capping friend Stephen Nover pointed out (credit where it’s due): “As a side note, there is bad blood between QB Mayfield and Cardinals head man Kliff Kingsbury stemming from when Mayfield played for Kingsbury at Texas Tech before he transferred to Oklahoma. So both teams will be looking to run up a score with no letdowns.” I’ll play OVER this number with two teams out of the playoff race, but still with lots of motivation to put up points against below-average defenses.
LA Rams -1.5 at Dallas — Total 48.5
Some bettors might keep drinking Cowboy kool-aid and there’s a reason for the wager on Dallas as a home dog. On practically every metric, Dallas is among the league leaders — yardage gained, point differential, yardage allowed, etc. But the Cowboys haven’t defeated a team with a winning record this season, going a horrific 0-6. What a dichotomy of decisions on the team and game. LA Rams defense is back in top form, allowing 17 or less in 6 of last 7. Wade Phillips will have no problem with motivation for his defensive unit returning to Dallas, where he coached for five seasons. Still, I don’t trust the Rams on offense, which I view as soft. Dallas is in an absolute dogfight here at home and everything should point to a strong effort. The added 10-day rest (Dallas played last Thursday night) also helps the Cowboys. Way too many variables to predict here, although I lean strongly to the UNDER. Cowboys also replaced their kicker this past week, which could be a factor, only adding to the unpredictability.
SNF: Minnesota -1.5 at LA Chargers — Total 45
It’s got to be the Vikings here at a cheap price, which seems the obvious pick at struggling San Diego-Carson-Los Angeles. Prior to last week’s automatic checkbox win over Jacksonville last week, Chargers had lost three straight. No home-field edge. I would need at least +3 to take the Chargers and even think I’d give it a hard reconsideration. Nonetheless, Minnesota remains too inconsistent for my betting tastes at 7-6 ATS. With Packers on deck next week, I’m concerned Minnesota might be in a look ahead situation. No play for me on this game.
MNF: Indianapolis at New Orleans -8.5 — Total 46.5
The Colts have collapsed and are essentially done for the season, but I think that makes them more dangerous now. This remains a well-coached slightly above-average team that is capable of beating anyone (wins versus TEN, KC, and HOU this season — all playoff contenders). Saints will be up emotionally for a home MNF game and certainly could run up the score in a blowout. But they’ve also failed to cover their last three games in the Superdome and have occasionally come up flat, as home struggles versus Carolina and Atlanta showed in the last month. Getting +9 is enough points for me to play the dog in a season that’s been very good to road pups getting points. Saints also face some injuries and with two road games coming up to close the season, I look for Sean Peyton’s team to be content with a “W” here turning the game into a shootout like we saw last week in the 49er thriller.
CONTEST WINNER ONLY/NO POINTSPREAD [$200 entry fee]
Season Record To-Date: 121-87-1
BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons Active]
Investor —- Amount —- Pct. of Total Fund
Heldar $ 211 2.51%
Watanabe $ 100 1.19%
Peter Lucier $ 1,000 11.91%
Kramer $ 302 3.60%
Finbar O’Mahoney $ 200 2.38%
Howler $ 100 1.19%
Linda Keenan $ 500 5.95%
John Pickels $ 100 1.19%
Patrick Kirwan $ 100 1.19%
Sean McGinnis $ 300 3.57%
Jim Anderson $ 252 3.00%
Chad Holloway $ 200 2.38%
Eric Schneller $ 500 5.95%
Randy Collack $ 351 4.18%
Dave Lawful $ 100 1.19%
Paul Harris $ 1,000 11.91%
Dan Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Sharon Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Ken QB $ 102 1.21%
Chuck Weinstock $ 102 1.21%
Peter Taki Caldes $ 102 1.21%
Kenny Shei $ 51 0.61%
Jeff Deitch $ 51 0.61%
Kevin Un $ 128 1.52%
Becca Kerl $ 22 0.26%
Corey Imsdahl $ 102 1.21%
Don Bingo Rieck $ 102 1.21%
Jeff Siegel $ 1,000 11.91%
Stephen Cohen (payment pending) $ 100 1.19%
John Reed $ 114 1.36%
George Wattman $ 51 0.61%
Mickdog Patterson $ 51 0.61%
Larry Lubliner $ 100 1.19%
Grizz Berentsen $ 100 1.19%
Edmund Hack $ 100 1.19%
Bob Feduniak $ 500 5.95%
David “Quick” Horowitz $ 102 1.21%
TOTAL $ 8,398 100.00%
$200 Invested into Pick Contest (see above)