Why I Love “Bad” Football Games — NFL Week #11 Picks
Gamblers should be absolutely elated with this NFL season.
Defenses appear to have improved. Offenses are struggling. Scoring is down. Multiple star quarterbacks have been injured. Plenty of ugly games are played every week. There’s been lots of so-called “bad” football.
I love it.
Casual fans (non-gamblers) prefer to watch unpredictable, high-scoring football games with lots of excitement. They love games where the last team with the ball wins. Fuck that. As a gambler with no other rooting interest in this sport any longer, give me a shitty 13-9 final score played in the worst possible elements. Like a pig flapping in the mud, I’m in paradise.
Because bad football games are much easier to handicap than wild games with great offenses and lots of scoring. Picking sides and totals already tough enough. But it’s almost impossible to predict what will happen in a dome game (ideal passing conditions — 72 degrees and no wind) when two great offenses are playing on rubber grass. For example, the New Orleans-Atlanta rivalry used to be a gambler’s worst nightmare. Both dome teams, with excellent offenses and bad defenses, would throw 60 times each and the final score might land something like 42-17. No one could predict which way. Totals would be in the 50s and would wind down to the final seconds.
Those are fun games to watch but horrible games to handicap. What really matters is reducing the variables. We want fewer instances of unpredictability where we can find them. We want a team that runs the ball up the middle 30 times a game because we can usually predict what will happen on those plays. It’s far easier to project a game line and total played in Cleveland or Buffalo, especially in December where a first down a big deal and field position matters. I also like games where the field goal kicker is a factor. If it’s muddy and the wind is gusting, that’s even better. Toss in two shitty backup quarterbacks, and this becomes the perfect game to try and handicap. Give me 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust, and I’m in hog heaven. Ecstasy.
So, anyone who says these games are “boring” is either just a casual fan or missing out on making money. Screw excitement. Give me dull shitty football.
I love “bad” football games.
2017 NFL REGULAR SEASON RESULTS
STARTING BANKROLL: $10,000.
CURRENT BALANCE: $12,120. (+$2,120)
OVERALL W-L RECORD: 39 wins / 26 loses / 1 push
Week #1 — 3 wins, 4 losses = net -$250
Week #2 — 1 win, 0 losses = net +$350
Week #3 — 7 wins, 2 losses = net +$1,070
Week #4 — 1 win, 1 loss = net -$20
Week #5 — 7 wins, 3 losses = net +$740
Week #6 — 2 wins, 2 losses = net -$40
Week #7 — 3 wins, 4 losses, 1 push = net -$280
Week #8 — 4 wins, 2 losses = net +$360
Week #9 — 2 wins, 2 losses = net -$270
Week #10 — 9 wins, 6 losses = net +$480
TEASER WHEEL UPDATE: Last week’s teaser wheel won me money, though not as much as I hoped. NWE was an easy winner as the hub team. However, several blowouts killed potential middles, preventing a huge day from happening. Nonetheless, I’m happy to take a 9-6 record for the week and a modest $480 in profit. I’ll be looking for future teaser wheel opportunities in weeks ahead.
WINLESS TEAMS UPDATE: The “bet on all the winless teams” angle continues to be a loser for the first time in several seasons. Last week, SFO managed to finally win its first game (and covered the spread). But winless, CLE (now the NFL’s only remaining winless team) continues to be a major drain. The system is now 6-8 for the season. I tailed this for a while but can no longer justify wagering on CLE, hoping for a cover. This betting system was a failure for the season, losing -2.8 units.
On to this week’s games (lines current as of Saturday night). I made 8 wagers:
DETROIT at CHICAGO
Lined at DET -3 and total at 41. Looks like a trap game for DET which crawled back into the playoff race at 5-4 with a couple of recent wins, but now goes on the road as a rare betting favorite. CHI lost a real heartbreaker last week at home to GB. But CHI has been very competitive at home in every game this season — beating PIT and CAR outright and losing close games to ATL and GB. CHI has two things working in its favor this week. (1) A strong running game that’s capable of taking control of any game…..playing a weak team against the run–DET gave up 200 rushing yards to horrible CLE last week. (2) CHI defense is clearly for real….Bears “D” has given up 23 points or less in five straight games. With its second straight home game, I’m looking for CHI running attack and defense to frustrate an opponent that often struggles in the red zone. CHI should give DET similar fits to what we saw in other games when the Bears played tough versus teams at least as good as the Lions. Taking the +3.
KANSAS CITY at NY GIANTS
Lined at KC -10 with total at 46.5. Who else is shocked that Giants coach McAdoo still has a job? At 1-8 and after losing to SFO last week, that would seem to have been the last straw. But NYG front office appears to have made a decision to let this clueless coach continue the remainder of the season. Seems to me NYG players have quit on this coach and no longer believe in his system. McAdoo was supposed to be an offensive guru, but his team has no running game and QB Manning has been erratic, at best. This week, NYG face one of NFL’s best teams coming off a bye which should be extra motivated after a road loss at DAL two weeks ago. In a similar spot at home a few weeks ago, NYG were thrashed by LAR and linesmakers are looking for another blowout here. I refuse to lay double digits on the road — that’s the way to the poorhouse. However, the UNDER might be worth a look. KC could probably play a half-assed game here and still win. No wager for me at this time.
TAMPA at MIAMI
Lined at PICK with total at 41.5. A replay of Week #1 hurricane game that was postponed. This is one of those beautiful ugly games I wrote about earlier. Both teams are a mess. However, MIA is at home and clearly has the better defense (which got battered in recent weeks when playing night road games–they are a better unit than they showed). Add TB’s possible distractions this week from man-child Winston and if you’re going to make a wager, MIA is probably the correct side (note that QB Ryan Fitzpatrick starting for TB). TAM broke a five-game losing streak last week, which might have taken some of the pressure off. Wierd stat–MIA played five straight UNDERS and now is rising a streak of four straight OVERS. This is a pass for me at the moment, figuring there are better plays on the board than to roll dice with Jay Cutler taking the snaps.
BALTIMORE at GREEN BAY
Ravens favored by -2 and total at 38. Gamblers aren’t supposed to get emotional, nor allow losses be a bother, but I’m not touching any Ravens’ game for a while. BALT is too volatile a team to predict. Embarrassing that $220 million QB Joe Flacco is laying just -2 to a starter who looks like he belongs as a backup in the CFL. BALT doesn’t inspire any confidence whatsoever as a road favorite. But it’s impossible to bet GB in this spot, especially with Ravens coming off the bye. Both teams desperately must have this win, and for that reason I think the game will be close and low scoring. The total at 38 doesn’t give much value. If I had to pick a side it would be BALT because they have the best FG kicker in the NFL and that’s what this game will probably come down to. No action.
LA RAMS at MINNESOTA
Vikings laying -2.5 and total at 46. No one thought this would turn into one of the most anticipated matchups of the season. Lots of experts think MIN defense will overpower LAR offense and it’s easy to understand why since LAR outbursts have occurred versus some really bad teams. Could be a jolt back to reality for LAR here stepping up in class, especially on road versus a team that’s been one of the best at home ATS in recent years. Laying less than a FG makes MIN the right side in this contest. At -3 this would be — no play. But laying the inside of a FG is a reasonable price for a solid defense and offense that’s been a surprise. I will also admit I was dead wrong about QB Kennum earlier in some of my criticism who has found a good offensive system in which to shine. MIN has won five straight. Seven of nine opponents have been held to less than 20 points. Vikings worth the bargain price here, even though LAR are sure a fun team to watch and could be the league’s next powerhouse for years to come. Also like more experienced coach Zimmer here in matchup against NFL’s youngest head coach (at 31). Small factor, but another small tipping point for me in this game. Playing the favorite.
PHOENIX at HOUSTON
Texans -1.5 and total at 38. The line moved across the 0 and HOU is now favored after opening at ARZ -1. I’ll continue riding the fade QB Tom Savage train because it’s been raining money. Mechanics are simply not there. I’ve cashed two weeks straight now, and this time I’m getting points. Last home game with Savage HOU lost to a horrible INDY team as a similar favorite. ARZ could actually be better with ancient Carson Palmer on the bench. I liked what ARZ head coach Arians said about his backup QB Gabbert–something to the effect that Gabbert is a real leader, but he was trapped on some bad teams in the past. I see enough talent on ARZ with its WR corps and RB Peterson still with something to prove to have enough tricks to beat HOU on the road. ARZ is 4-5 and by no means out of the race. I recall some stat a long time ago that said bet on 4-5 teams (or 5-6 teams, etc.) because of the added motivation of getting back to .500 for the chance of a winning season. Change at QB good for ARZ in this spot playing against an absolutely terrible passing game. Wrong team is favored. I’ll take the barking dog. Also–teasing ARZ on the basic strategy teaser up over a touchdown. If HOU wins the game, I don’t think it will be by more than one score.
JACKSONVILLE at CLEVELAND
JAX laying -7.5 and total at 38. Here’s a game I get giggly about. Two pretty good defenses….one awful offense led by a QB who should still be in college….and a winless team that had been on a staggeringly bad run both SU and ATS. I won’t lay more than a TD on a road team, especially with Jaguars shaky past. But JAX looks lovely as a teaser play, bet down from -7.5 to a very reasonable “just win the game” number which is -1.5. Given than JAX, now at 6-3 and likely to win the division, has such a stingy defense, it’s tough to see how CLE will score many points. I don’t like popular bets and teasing JAX is going to be a hot ticket this week. But I just don’t see how we can’t make this wager given the ineptitude of the Browns. JAX, which is already solid enough versus good offenses, should be able to stack the run and make CLE throw. The Browns simply aren’t able to compete here. JAX aslo gets RB Fournette back for this game who should be fresh and hungry for yardage.
WASHINGTON at NEW ORLEANS
Saints by -7.5 and total at 52. NOR winners of seven straight games. Who wants to step in front of this roaring freight train? Not me. WASH is probably the right side in normal circumstances getting more than a TD. I was impressed as hell with their effort (and coaching) in a very similar spot two weeks ago when the injury-riddled Redskins went into SEA and pulled a shocking upset. WASH capable of just about anything here, from an outright win to losing by 30. NOR gets too much respect after the ass kicking they laid on BUFF last week. But also recall NOR struggled against CHI a few weeks ago here at home. NOR defense is a surprise, but I also like WASH passing game in dome situation. Feisty Redskins are not a team I want to give points to, and I really do want to take them. Schedule maker did them no favors scheduling SEA, MIN, and NOR in three straight games, which is brutal. +8 might make me pull the trigger for a small wager. Right now, this is a pass. I realize my emotions are all over the map here but I just have a feeling this could be the upset of the day.
BUFFALO at SAN DIEGO
Chargers are now favored by -6 with betting total at 41.5. QB status for both Bills and Chargers moved this line 2 points. Hard to believe LAC with all their turmoil is the favorite here. QB Rivers was questionable but will start. BUF yanked Ty Taylor and will start the TEN rookie who’s thrown 11 NFL passes during his career. LAC are as good a 3-6 team as you will ever see–winners of three straight before losing their last two games (close) versus two very solid opponents (NWE and JAX). Seems that LAC should tee off on the rookie QB which was exposed as a fraud last week. I might lay -4, but certainly not -6. Betting the UNDER looks like an enticement.
CINCINNATI at DENVER
Denver -2 and total at 39. More garbage football. CIN reeling after looking dreadful in recent weeks and also playing third straight and 4/5 road game, which is a very tough situation for even a good team. Thing is, CIN is a bad team. DEN inspires little confidence but playing again at home and facing a team that’s a huge step down in class from the previous week (loss to NWE) should finally break the Broncos’ losing streak. Defense still has plenty of talent. DEN WR’s are among the game’s best. If Osweiler can just play a mistake-free game, DEN should get the win and cover. CIN running game is non-existent. QB Dalton is regressing. Most variables favor DEN in this spot and line looks like it’s not taking the road weariness of Bengals enough. DEN 3-2 at home this season. They should be laying -3.5 in this spot. I’ll make this a play.
NEW ENGLAND / OAKLAND (at Mexico City)
Patriots laying -7.5 and total at 55. NWE clicking on all cylinders right now. Widely reported that NWE stayed in Colorado after Denver game to get accustomed to high altitude of MEX DF (at 7,000 feet). NWE had no issues last week in a similar spot and look like they can’t be stopped. Meanwhile, OAK simply hasn’t been the team many were expecting to compete for a Super Bowl run. Defense has been average. Running game has been inconsistent. QB Carr not as effective this season as last. If OAK wins this game, it will be because NWE makes lots of errors. That doesn’t happen very often. For this season, I’m willing to jump on the popular public favorite and tease the Patriots across the Wong numbers. NWE gets my money on a teaser from -7.5 down to -1.5. NWE winners of like 11 straight on the road. This team likes the highway. Tom and Bill — Just win baby. By the way, here’s a staggering statistic: It’s Week #11 and Oakland Raiders have ZERO intercpetions this season. ZERO. That’s not the kind of pass defense that stops Tom Brady.
PHILADELPHIA at DALLAS
Eagles by 5.5 with total at 48.5. I don’t lay this kind of points in divisional games, especially since DAL is the far more desperate team. PHI not much to play for with division basically locked up (I know, home field advantage). PHI looks like a steamroller at the moment. But I don’t think DAL will get embarrassed two weeks in a row (I mean on the field–Jerry Jones is a different matter). DAL has had a game now to adjust to RB Elliot suspension. Some adjustments will be made (tougher admittedly since top OL is out with injury). Also some minor concern that PHIL hasn’t played a road game in more than a month. Lots of conflicting arrows here pointing in different directions. However, I do think the UNDER is worth a ticket since I expect at least one defense will step up. DAL likely has to take some risks on defense to slow down QB Wentz passing attack and PHI defense can smother anyone. Total looks just a little high here. Playing the UNDER.
ATLANTA at SEATTLE
SEA favored by -2 and total at 45. I might be tempted to play SEA laying less than a FG, but I don’t trust Seahawks which is 1-3 against the spread at home, despite playing against four complete outmatched opponents. Not laying points with these Seabags. Noted from previous reports, I still think ATL has problems with its offense. It’s just not the same team as last season. Credit ATL defense which looks better each game. Lean to the UNDER, but no wager for me at the moment.
THIS WEEK’S WAGERS (8 wagers):
Chicago +3 (Risking $220 to win $200)
Minnesota -2.5 (Risking $220 to win $200)
Arizona +1.5 (Risking $220 to win $200)
Teaser: Jacksonville -1.5 with Arizona +7.5 (Risking $220 to win $200)
Denver -2 (Risking $220 to win $200)
Teaser: New England -1.5 with Arizona +7.5 (Risking $220 to win $200)
Teaser: New England -1.5 with Jacksonville -1.5 (Risking $220 to win $200)
Philadelphia / Dallas UNDER 48.5 (Risking $220 to win $200)
NOTE: Check back for updates and possible added plays.