Pages Menu
TwitterFacebooklogin
Categories Menu

Posted by on Nov 11, 2019 in Blog | 1 comment

NFL 2019: Week #10

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

__________

 

Read More

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

Willie Nelson (Concert Review)

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

__________

 

Read More

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

NFL 2019: Week #9

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          24 — 30 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,296.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

THOUGHTS ON ALL GAMES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Season Record To-Date:  71-51-1

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]

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

__________

 

Read More

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

NFL 2019: Week #8

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, on to Week #8.

 

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

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          22 — 28 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,296.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

THOUGHTS ON ALL GAMES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Season Record To-Date:  58-49-1

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]

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

__________

 

Read More

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

NFL 2019: Week #7 Picks

 

 

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

Go ahead.  Just call me “Bet Genius.”

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

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

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

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

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

Now, on to Week #7.

 

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

2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          17 — 25 — 0

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,296.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Pure randomness

— Road teams better prepared than in previous seasons

— Home field advantage not as strong as in previous seasons

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

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

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

Here are the plays:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THOUGHTS ON EACH GAME:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Season Record To-Date:  50-43-1

Week #7 Picks:

Denver over Kansas City

LA Rams over Atlanta

Buffalo over Miami

Cincinnati over Jacksonville

Detroit over Minnesota

Green Bay over Oakland

Houston over Indy

Arizona over NY Giants

San Francisco over Washington

LA Chargers over Tennessee

New Orleans over Chicago

Baltimore over Seattle

Philadelphia over Dallas

New England over NY Jets

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]

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

__________

 

Read More
css.php