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Posted by on Nov 18, 2019 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 1 comment

My Thoughts on the Latest Colin Kaepernick Controversy

 

My Thoughts on the Latest Colin Kaepernick Controversy

Would-Be NFL Player/Activist Fumbles at the Worst Possible Moment

 

I tried. I really tried.

I tried to support and defend Colin Kaepernick, the unemployed multi-millionaire quarterback-turned-activist who was clearly the victim of disproportionate backlash from NFL fans and teams.  Please, mark me down as a supporter and a defender.

Here’s some perspective:  Women-beaters, drug abusers, accused rapists, and dog killers have signed and re-signed with teams. Those clearly guilty of serious crimes are cheered by fans, their despicable acts all but ignored by tribal mobs. But Kaepernick, an activist making a peaceful display of protest against racial injustice in America becomes an outcast and a pariah. Shame on the fans and teams for losing all sense of perspective and for their grotesque hypocrisy. Cheering for women beaters and dog killers while blasting Kaepernick makes you look like a joke.

That said, the NFL held a so-called “workout” this past weekend, which was likely Kaepernick’s one and last chance to prove he belongs in a uniform under contract. Not only did Kaepernick blow this opportunity in the worst way, but he also embarrassed himself and harmed the noble causes he supposedly espouses:

Here’s my perspective:

(1) There are approximately 96 NFL quarterbacks on 32 team rosters, and even more with practice squads and on injured reserve. Question — Is Kaepernick a “top 96” quarterback? The answer is yes, or at least *was* yes. Kaepernick took his last snap three years ago, in 2016. Nonetheless, given the current dregs of NFL quarterbacking (Chicago Bears, are you listening), Kaepernick would likely be, at worst, a capable backup who deserves a chance at playing.

(2) I was never of a fan of Kaepernick’s skill set, even when he was successful as a starter. He’s not the quarterback I’d want to build a team around. However, he was a winner, albeit on a very good team at the time.  Given the older retreads, mostly losing quarterbacks, who continue getting plenty of opportunities (Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel), and even start games (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Schaub), Kaepernick should be on a team somewhere.

(3) Kaepernick handled the initial controversy terribly (back in 2016). Showing up to team practice in socks portraying police officers as pigs was disgraceful and stupid. His public comments about there being no difference between then-candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton showed appalling ignorance. His admission that he didn’t even bother to vote in the 2016 election reveals the downright stupidity of a social influencer and bad example for others to follow.

(4) I, and many others inclined to support Kaepernick, chalked up those dumb comments in 2016 to simple immaturity, and perhaps not understanding the gravity of his actions. Over time, we expected the activist to understand his cause has become much bigger than any individual. Given Kaepernick had three years to learn more, develop better understanding, and explain himself, we thought he’d mature and perhaps even admit he was wrong in the way he handled the scrutiny.

(5) Kaepernick’s opportunity to show his skills and demonstrate he was still in football shape was a unique chance not given to any previous player. He should have agreed essentially to do whatever it took to sign with a team and contribute. Prospective teams were reportedly not looking so much at Kaepernick’s arm or legs of physicality but wanted to see if he really wanted to play. Unfortunately, he answered these questions before the workout by getting into a pointless legal spat about liabilities and waivers, demanding that cameras be allowed onto the field when NFL rules forbid such media attention, and then moved the location at the last minute. Nothing was gained by this idiotic last-minute dispute.

(6) Showing up in a t-shirt with the letters “KUNTA KINTE” on the front of his shirt was football suicide. Anyone, including supporters, who thought Kaepernick would be focused on his game and wouldn’t be a distraction was shown to be foolish. This ridiculous optic of self-comparison to the slave from “Roots,” was mind-bogglingly stupid.

(7) Lest there remain any doubt about Kaepernick’s confusion and mixed intentions over the weekend, he also made a huge deal out of a new line of shoes being released by Nike. This was nothing but a media sideshow intended to cash a paycheck. No one should care what Kaepernick, the prospective NFL player, is wearing or promoting. But he made an embarrassing spectacle of himself in pimping his shoes. This wasn’t the first time Kaepernick has created a sideshow that detracted from his message.

(8) Kaepernick is finished as an NFL quarterback. He will never take another snap. Prior to this weekend, that was the NFL’s fault, in an obvious case of collective bias and collusion. Now, Kaepernick’s fate is his own doing. It’s his own fault, likely shared by some idiotic agents and personal advisors.

My main takeaway from this mess is that we can and should separate the message from the messenger. Indeed, the justice system in this country is biased. Protests are justified. Kneeling for the National Anthem is an act of patriotism. Speaking out for one’s personal beliefs is very American. Kaepernick is not only worth defending *on* the football field. He should be hailed as a hero and a role model.

But “off” the field, Kaepernick has fumbled at the worst possible moment. He turned over any advantage to his haters and detractors with a series of preposterous blunders. He lost the undecided and made a mockery out of those who were adamant in supporting him publically.

Surely, a decade from now, perhaps sooner, there will be an ESPN “30 for 30” when Kaepernick will be celebrated and remembered as a brave person of principle. In some respects, that praise shall be deserved. However, in the meantime, all Kaepernick has done is stupidly waste two opportunities — his chance to play in the NFL again, and our chance to evolve into a nation with a better understanding of social activism and the things worth defending.

Mr. Kaepernick — you’ve got your shoe company money. You got your media attention. Now, please — go away. I don’t want to hear from you again.

__________

 

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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

__________

 

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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

__________

 

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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.)

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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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