I’m about to get much more heavily involved in sports gambling in the coming months ahead. And, I don’t mean solely as a handicapper and bettor.
Yes, my analysis and selections shall continue getting posted here at my website just as I’ve done every football weekend for the past seven years (and 20 years before that at MadJacks, SportsFanRadio, and so forth). I even thought fading out of the gambling scene might be best given how sinisterly mundane corporate casino gambling and all its willful sycophants have become. Poker is painfully uninteresting. But sports gambling remains something else entirely, something new, something tremendously exciting — particularly on the fresh American landscape.
I’ll share more with my readers as the time and opportunity permits. My objective in sharing this semi-confidential personal information with you is to reinforce the perception that sports gambling, especially on American football, is going to be fucking gargantuan in the next five years. Comparatively speaking for those who know their history, we are in 2002 right now when it comes to what we once saw happen in poker. Most other forms of gambling are now dwindling as revenue shares of overall casino profits or are dead already. There’s no future in sucker machines and idiot games, folks. Sportsbetting, even with its obvious challenges and small market share, is going to skyrocket as a manifestation of our insatiable desire to be in action and interact with the dynamism of sports through our collective consciousness. Young people, who will increasingly become the core market, are going to be betting on sports, not playing slot reels and keno.
Bet on it.
I’m teasing my readers, and for this, I do apologize. Over the next few weeks, it’s going to be balls-to-the-wall sports betting, insider stuff, and meetings with the top brass in the industry as the Global Gaming Expo 2019 here in Las Vegas fast approaches. I’m attending now for the 10th consecutive year and will report back here what I learn and what I foresee happening in sports gambling.
That said, are you now ready for some football?
By the way, speaking of that well-known Hank Williams, Jr. lyric, wasn’t Ken Burns’ epic documentary on the history of country music a masterpiece? If you didn’t watch it, I strongly recommend that you do so. Learn something. Expand your horizons. Think outside the box. Be open to ideas — both old and new.
Sounds like good advice for sports betting, as well.
That’s my message today entering NFL Week #4.
Now, let’s “walk the line” and grab some winners.
2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD
Wins — Losses — Pushes 13 — 11 — 0
Starting Bankroll: $ 8,296.
Current Bankroll: $ 8,666. (+ $ 370.)
Last Week’s Results: 5 — 4 — 0 (+ $ 235.)
THIS WEEK’S WAGERS: I’m not as enthusiastic about this week’s card as in the previous weeks. Accordingly, I’m betting slightly less per game. Nothing wrong with caution. There’s a long season still ahead. Wagering $1,470. to win $1,300. on 6 bets.
Philadelphia / Green Bay OVER 47 — Risking $330 to win $300
Note: This wager was posted to Facebook on Thursday (be sure to follow and check there for early plays). The game easily sailed over the total and landed on 61 points. This play will be graded in the final Week #4 results (not yet counted in the results above).
Miami + 15 vs. LA Chargers — Wagering $220 to win $200
I bet on the woeful Dolphins earlier in the season completely unaware of just how bad they are. Like with most handicappers, I concluded they were an unbettable team, at least until I saw something positive. But this week I’m on the Dolphins again given the situation and what I see as mass overreaction to the perceptions of these two teams. Obviously, Miami is the worst team in the league. However, they’re not going to lose every regular-season game by 15+ points. Such ineptitude doesn’t happen in the NFL. In fact, Miami is likely at some point to have a better day than average and the opponent is capable of suffering a perfectly understandable case of overconfidence. I think that scenario might apply this week. Poor Miami has faced a murderous early schedule, playing BALT, NWE, and DAL, and now they face LAC at home. Hard to believe, but this might be the softest of the four tests, to date. Playing four playoff-caliber teams in a row, the first three games against the best defenses in the league may battle-toughen the Dolphins. Miami’s offense actually moved the ball on Dallas last week and didn’t play badly (229 passing yards / 73 rushing yards). There’s also some mounting evidence that opponents might not take the Dolphins as a serious threat. All NFL teams have athletes capable of making plays, and the LA Chargers look to be given a bit too much credit by oddsmakers. Consider, they’ve played three subpar games, including three non-covers, and are now laying nearly as many points as the NFL’s elite teams (NWE and DAL). What’s been impressive about the Chargers, so far? Certainly not the defense and not the offense either, which remains not at full strength due to injuries/RB holdout (won’t play). LAC have been a notorious road favorite in the Philip Rivers era and given they play and early game here traveling across three time zones, I see nothing which justifies laying this number. Yes, Miami has looked dreadful, especially on offense. But one has to think in terms of direction and value. Miami could not possibly play worse and will certainly improve at some point. This looks to be one of those weeks when the effort should be somewhat improved for the home team that was humiliated in the opener three weeks ago. I wouldn’t touch this game at less than +14, but getting +15 is enough value for me to pull the trigger with a modest-sized wager. [I’m calling this play my “Greg Dinkin Special”]
New England / Buffalo UNDER 42 — Risking $220 to win $200
Admittedly, I got dealt a bad number on this total. I missed the far more attractive opener at 44, still intended to bet the game at 43, and then recognized my error when I reached the sportsbook, called out the bet, and then looked at the ticket later and saw the total had dropped to 42. That’s an amateur mistake on my part. I would have passed on this total at anything less than 43. So, now I have to write something here what compels me to bet under this total. Well, New England’s defense has certainly been stellar. While they’ve faced some lackluster offenses, so far, no doubt this defense is among the league’s best. No touchdowns allowed, dating back to last year’s AFC Championship game. That’s impressive. Buffalo’s defense is also statistically very good, though the Bills have played a creampuff schedule against three very bad teams with weak QBs. We will now see just how good that Buffalo defense really is this week facing the GOAT. Four of the last five games between these two division rivals have gone well under the total, including both games last season (with similar personnel). If anything, both defenses may be better now than before and with more on the line (both teams are a perfect 3-0) we can probably expect less risktaking and more ball control, especially from the Bills. I’m also encouraged by the early line movement, which apparently shows some shared belief the initial send out total was too high. Now, 42 might be the correct number, but I still think we’re on the right side given the recent history and defensive play of these two teams. Note to Self: Pay attention to the ticket, next time.
First Half: New Orleans +.5 vs. Dallas — Risking $220 to win $200
I’m betting the hometown Saints only in the first half, hosting Dallas on Sunday night. New Orleans looked surprisingly strong in a bounce-back effort last week in Seattle (up 27-7 at one point), with replacement QB Bridgewater doing more than enough to win and cover in a hostile stadium. Now at home getting his first start, I expect the Saints offense to continue its success versus team thought to be among the NFC’s best. But — is Dallas really as good as their 3-0 record? The Cowboys have played a woeful slate of opponents, so far — including NYG, WASH, and MIA — not exactly a murderer’s row of talent. The Saints in the Superdome will clearly be a major step up in class. Meanwhile, New Orleans has been battle-tested in three very tough games — HOU, LAR, and SEA, including the last two in the road. The Saints showed last week they can pick up the slack of Brees injury (still out 5-6 more weeks). Getting even a half-point at home strikes me as a gift. Not sure I remember the last time the Saints were home dogs. Tempting as it is to play NOR at +2.5 to +3 on the game line, I am concerned after watching DAL games, they have the type of offense that wears down opponents. The rushing game is very good and appears to improve as the game goes along. I suspect the Cowboys might pull off the win as the better team (minus Brees). But the first 30 minutes are a different ball game and a stand-alone wager for me. Taking the rare home dog Saints in this game for the first half.
TEASER: Minnesota +8 / Indianapolis -1 — Risking $240 to win $200
Vikings have proven a solid wager in all three games, so far. Even their road loss, at Green Bay, was an admirable effort. Vikings have roared on offense in two home games and will certainly face a much tougher opponent here. But I’m still not convinced the Bears defense are as good as the stats show — playing DEN and WASH the last two weeks. Minnesota’s defense has also played solid. In what’s expected to be a low-scoring game where points will be at a premium, I like these Vikings teased up Wong-style over the key numbers and grabbing +8. I’m not buying into the fluke 31-point “explosion” from the Bears on offense last week, which the Redskins gift wrapped in a horrendous effort. Chicago could have slept-walked through that game and won. The Bears have yet to prove they’re capable of winning by double digits, especially to a tough division foe in a critical battle. I expect and hope the +8 will come into play here, and thus I’m backing the Vikings in two teasers this week. /////////// In the other matchup on the teaser, I’m betting against Oakland which is now getting exposed as one of the dregs of the NFL. There’s just not enough talent on this roster combined with some grumbling that the Raiders coaching staff is not suited for this decade. I’ll take Colts coach Frank Reich as a Jon Gruden ina heartbeat. Oakland is 1-11 its last 12 road games, scoring just 13 PPG on average. Those are bottom basement numbers. Moreover, the Colts have played well-balanced football all three weeks, and appear to have a chip on their shoulders with QB Brissett now fully in command of the offense. Colts are a perfect 3-0 ATS and 2-0 SU, and if they had a more dependable kicker, they’d be 3-0 SU right now. This is the softest opponent the Colts have yet faced, and a well-coached team should get the home win. That’s all we’re asking since we’ve teased well-deserving favorites from -7 down to -1.
TEASER: Minnesota +8 / Cincinnati +10 — Risking $240 to win $200
See the Minnesota Vikings writeup above ////////// When I first saw the Bengals-Steelers line on MNF, I immediately screamed at myself — DON’T BET CINCINNATI!. Well, here I am — betting on Cincinnati. Why? Ten points seem too much a gift to pass up, especially with two struggling teams utterly desperate for a win playing in primetime (note that the line moved on me, from +4.5 down to +4, but I still think the teased +10 provides enough value). The Steelers are clearly not the same team now as we are accustomed to, and are likely to struggle the remainder of the season. While they do merit being small home favorites, remember the Bengals have covered in 2/3 games, including both contests on the road. Bengals offense has produced lots of passing yards, and they should be able to exploit a vulnerable defensive secondary that’s been torched the first three weeks. I have no idea as to the outcome of the game, but much like the Miami play above, sometimes you must hold your nose and identify overreactions by the public and seek out the value. The Bengals should be able to stay in the game and get the cover teased up to +10.
THOUGHTS ON OTHER GAMES:
HOU laying -4 to CAR, which looks revamped after last week’s QB change due to injury to Newton. Tempted to play HOU, especially since CAR comes off a win in a back-to-back road situation. HOU has played tough in all three games. I think this line is probably a little low. If Newton was healthy and starting, HOU would probably be favored by -3. So, linesmakers are only giving the dog 1 extra point with the backup starting. I think this line should be at least -5, but I’m passing on the wager due to some worries that the Panthers under coach Rivera sometimes play their best games when its least expected.
BALT is laying -6.5 to -7 to CLEV this week, depending upon where you shop and while the 2-1 Ravens are certainly the better team, the Browns might finally be worth a look after being overrated by bettors in the first three games. Two rivals with a chance to become the undisputed favorite in the division with a victory probably translates into a close game where getting points will be a factor. If I can get +7 at -110, Cleveland is definitely worth a wager and even at +6 is the right side, I believe.
NYG and WASH play the yucky game of the week. All eyes will be on the new Giants rookie QB, who didn’t really look all that solid last week, despite the impressive second-half comeback upset win. Hard to say if confidence from that win carries over into the game. Also tough to predict how Redskins will react to an embarrassment on MNF last week. QB Keenum played about as poorly as is possible for an NFL starter. Strangely enough, the total is 49, reflecting just how bad the two defenses are. Passing on everything connected to this game, though WASH getting points in the 1H might be worth a look if you have some sick desire to bet this matchup. With Giants RB out to injury, a horrid defense, taking points is probably the play.
Fireworks are expected in DET this week where the unbeaten Lions are hosting perfect 3-0 KC. Line at KC -7 looks a little high. But this total at 55 means scoring will come easy, so unlike lower-scoring contests where getting a touchdown might matter, that value is diminished in more volatile contests. It’s DET +7 or nothing here, but who wants to bet against the Chiefs offense, right now? Not me. Also some concern about QB Stafford for the Lions and a lingering back injury which flared up this week in practice. That’s never a good thing.
TENN and ATL are two glaring disappointments. Both are 1-2 and will need this win to remain serious contenders. Lots of experience on both sides of the ball. Titans will certainly try to run the ball here and ATL weaknesses on defense give them an edge, especially when betting at +4. Most lines show TENN +3.5 right now. But I can’t bet QB Mariota on the road, who is showing he’s not going to develop into what the Titans hoped, and makes far too many misreads at this stage of his career. No wager for me on this game.
Who knows what emotional condition the Bucs will be in for this West Coast contest, facing the well-rounded Rams. I can see LAR absolutely blowing out their mismatched opponents. I’m quite tempted to lay -9.5 here. Rare for me to consider a parlay where if the Rams win and cover, they may run up the score and also get lazy on defense, allowing the Bucs to earn some points. Since you’re still reading and are interested in opinion, let’s call this a 42-24 shootout where the Rams/Over parlay cashes.
Seattle lays -5 to Arizona on the road. Cardinals were thumped at home last week and face a tougher opponent coming off a loss. Seahawks might be worth a look given they’ll be motivated to get back in the win-column, but I, as a rule, don’t lay points on the road in divisional games. For me, it’s a pass.
Jacksonville travels to Denver and gets points. Which QB do you trust more, Minshew — the new workman under center for the Jags or Flacco — who’s proving not be the answer for the Broncos? Jacksonville defense is probably the best unit on the field here, and getting a FG, JAX may be worth a look. Assuming JAX can pressure Flacco, they should win. But I’m wary of Denver’s early-season home record, which has been impressive for some time. Hard to believe, but Broncos are one of the NFL’s best September teams (19-8 SU since 20012), especially at home. No play.
PICK THE WINNER CONTEST WINNER ONLY/NO POINTSPREAD [$200 entry fee]
Season Record To-Date: 30-18-1
Week #4 Picks:
Green Bay over Philadelphia — L
Tennessee over Atlanta
New England over Buffalo
Kansas City over Detroit
Indianapolis over Oakland
LA Chargers over Miami
Wahington over NY Giants
Baltimore over Cleveland
Houston over Carolina
LA Rams over Tampa
Seattle over Arizona
Minnesota over Chicago
Jacksonville over Denver
New Orleans over Dallas
Cincinnati over Pittsburgh
BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons]
211. — David Heldar
100. — Steve Watanabe
1,000. — Peter Lucier
302. — Bruce Kramer
200. — Finbarr O’Mahony
100. — Howler
500. — Linda Keenan
100. — John Pickels
100. — Patrick Kirwan
300. — Sean McGuiness
252. — Jim Anderson
200. — Chad Holloway
500. — Eric Schneller
351. — Randy Collack
100. — David Lawless Lawful
1,000. — Paul Harris
51. — Dan Goldman
51. — Sharon Goldman
102. — Ken QB
102. — Chuck Weinstock
102. — Peter Taki Caldes
51. — Kenny Shei
51. — Jeff Dietch
128. — Kevin Un
22. — Becca
102. — Corey Imsdahl
102. — Don Bingo Reick
1,000. — Jeff Siegel (payment pending)
100. — Stephen Cohen (payment pending)
51. — John Reed
51. — George Wattman
51. — Mickdog Patterson
100. — Larry Lubliner
100. — Guy Grizz Berentsen
100. — Edmund Hack
500. — Bob Feduniak
63. — John Reed