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Posted by on Feb 1, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 4 comments

My Super Bowl Picks

 

Read my articles on various Super Bowl props and related topics at onlinegambling.com.

Here are the links:

SUPER BOWL PROPS:  DON’T FALL FOR THESE SUCKER BETS

SUPER BOWL BETTING:  DON’T BE SWAYED BY LOTS OF ZEROS

CAN PATRICK MAHOMES WIN MVP EVEN IF THE CHIEFS LOSE?

 

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2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

80 Wins — 69 Losses — 3 Pushes

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,398.

Current Bankroll:   $9,111.  (+ $713.)

Last Week’s Results (Week #21):   1 — 2 — 0  (- $355.)

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SUPER BOWL BETS 

 

I was wrong about the Super Bowl opening line.  Badly wrong.

Historically, my track record on this thing is pretty solid.  Ups and downs will happen in sports gambling, but a solid handicapper absolutely must be able to correctly forecast point spreads and totals.  If a capper lacks those basic skills, the rest is folly.

My opening line on Super Bowl LIV was San Francisco -2.5 with a betting total of 51.5.

My prediction on the total was within range, opening offshore at 52.  The total has now been bet up as high as 55 — but has since settled at 54.

However, my opening line was terrible — off by a whopping 4 points (although the zero gets crossed).  A few offshore sites had the opening line at PICK ‘EM, and others reacted and installed the Chiefs as -1 to -1.5 points favorites.  I had the wrong team favored.

One can have outlier opinions to some degree, which is sometimes a good thing, but my number was way, way off.  I didn’t predicate my point spread on a game prediction.  Rather, I really thought the market would reflect my perspective and mirror the way I saw both teams.  I was especially mindful of how (I thought) smart money tends to look at these matchups, anticipating there would be a clear divide on “sharps” (betting the 49ers) and “squares” (betting the Chiefs).

Well, I got all this wrong.  So, my analysis begins at ground zero.

I have two options here:

  1.  Admit my early forecast was wrong, and completely re-evaluate the matchup.
  2.  Stick with my minority opinion and fade what I believe to be a gross public misperception about these two teams.

I decided to do both, 1 and 2.  Re-evaluate, and then — if warranted — stick with my opinion the odds are wrong.  Yes, indeed.  I believe the wrong team is favored in this Super Bowl game.

Okay, here are my reasons why.

— I won’t spend much time overstating the obvious:  QB Mahomes is an astounding once-in-a-generation player.  A game-changer.  We could make a long list of the reasons why Mahomes and this Chiefs offense is special.  I’ll save the time and space and simply acknowledge that we are witnessing magic.

— Let’s also remember the Chiefs, at home, fell behind in both playoff games.  Badly so.  Kansas City trailed Houston 24-0 and Tennessee 10-0.  While props go to the Chiefs for the explosive comebacks in both games, that does portend some problem with team preparation.  Kansas City was clearly the better team in both of those matchups.  However, something went very wrong in the first quarter.  I’m counting on this quagmire with early game performance to be a factor once again, particularly against a superior team with a much better defense than the previous two opponents.

— I don’t get sentimental about teams, players, cities, or games (except for the Saints), but the football fan in me is rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs.  I love the fan loyalty.  Clearly, Andy Reid deserves a championship having paid his dues and suffered so many years of disappointment.  The Chiefs play real AFL-style football on natural grass.  There’s a proud tradition in Kansas City despite the 50-year Super Bowl drought.  The anniversary of the 1970 victory would be even more special.  And, the Chiefs are a fun and exciting team to watch.  I mention this because the 49ers in no way appeal to me from a fan perspective.  I believe this same sentiment is driving many of the wagers that came in on the Chiefs.  My heart is with Kansas City.  But my money is on San Francisco.

— The single biggest factor of this matchup is the San Francisco’s speed on defense.  Rarely do we see a team cover the field as well laterally (sideline to sideline) as 49ers do.  Not only is this an outstanding tackling defense (a stat that doesn’t get nearly enough attention), more often than not, ball carriers are swarmed with multiple defenders.  I’m counting on the 49ers defensive dominance to continue for one more week and play at the same level we’ve seen in other big games this season when this unit completely shut down Minnesota and Green Bay in the playoffs.  The Chiefs offense won’t be humiliated like the 49ers’ previous two playoff opponents, but I do foresee this unit being well suited to not let Kansas City light up the scoreboard, as they are so capable of doing.

— The second biggest factor in a 49er’s “upset” win would likely be a solid running game that grinds yardage and the game clock.  If San Francisco averages 6.0 yards-per-carry as they’ve done the first two playoff games, that’s going to be almost insurmountable to overcome.  Running the ball effectively ensures long 49ers drives and keeping Mahomes and Co. on the sidelines.  I like San Francisco’s chances here, especially with three viable backs capable of carrying the load.  A big stat:  Kansas City ranked 26th in the NFL against the run, averaging 4.9 yards-per-carry.  Credit KC for shutting down the Titans’ potent running attack a few weeks ago, which is the NFL’s best, but that also gives SFO coach Shanahan some game film to study and devise a counterstrategy.  I like the odds of the 49ers being successful running the ball.  If that happens, this likely results in a 49ers win/cover.

I have two wagers on the game:

San Francisco +1 — Risking $550 to win $500

San Francisco Moneyline +105 — Risking $150 to win $157.50

 

Note:  Check back later for my thoughts and bets on props

 

INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons Active]

Investor  —- Amount —- Pct. of Total Fund
Heldar $ 211 2.51%
Watanabe $ 100 1.19%
Peter Lucier $ 1,000 11.91%
Kramer $ 302 3.60%
Finbar O’Mahoney $ 200 2.38%
Howler $ 100 1.19%
Linda Keenan $ 500 5.95%
John Pickels $ 100 1.19%
Patrick Kirwan $ 100 1.19%
Sean McGinnis $ 300 3.57%
Jim Anderson $ 252 3.00%
Chad Holloway $ 200 2.38%
Eric Schneller $ 500 5.95%
Randy Collack $ 351 4.18%
Dave Lawful $ 100 1.19%
Paul Harris $ 1,000 11.91%
Dan Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Sharon Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Ken QB $ 102 1.21%
Chuck Weinstock $ 102 1.21%
Peter Taki Caldes $ 102 1.21%
Kenny Shei $ 51 0.61%
Jeff Deitch $ 51 0.61%
Kevin Un $ 128 1.52%
Becca Kerl $ 22 0.26%
Corey Imsdahl $ 102 1.21%
Don Bingo Rieck $ 102 1.21%
Jeff Siegel $ 1,000 11.91%
Stephen Cohen (payment pending) $ 100 1.19%
John Reed $ 114 1.36%
George Wattman $ 51 0.61%
Mickdog Patterson $ 51 0.61%
Larry Lubliner $ 100 1.19%
Grizz Berentsen $ 100 1.19%
Edmund Hack $ 100 1.19%
Bob Feduniak $ 500 5.95%
David “Quick” Horowitz $ 102 1.21%
TOTAL $ 8,398 100.00%

__________

 

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Posted by on Jan 18, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

2019-2020 NFL Season: Conference Championship Games

 

conference championship games

 

Read my analysis of both conference championship games at onlinegambling.com.

Here are the links:

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:  GREEN BAY AT SAN FRANCISCO

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:  TENNESSEE AT KANSAS CITY

 

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2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          79 — 67 — 3

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,398.

Current Bankroll:   $9,466.  (+ $1,068.)

Last Week’s Results (Week #20):         1 — 4 — 0  (- $850.)

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THIS WEEK’S WAGERS 

This week, I made THREE wagers.  I’m wagering $917.50 to win $750.  Here are my thoughts:

TENNESSEE at KANSAS CITY (-7) — Total 53

Andy Reid-coached teams have a history of folding at this stage of the playoffs. However, this appears to be his most talented team. Certainly, the Chiefs field an explosive offense, which as was proven last week, can put up lots of points quickly. Kansas City stunned just about everyone by overcoming a 24-0 deficit en route to a convincing 51-31 win. They are rightly favored big in this game. However, Tennessee might be the worst possible opponent for the Chiefs in this spot. The red-hot Titans have pulled off three straight road wins, all versus division winners.

The Titans’ defense has been suffocating, holding the Texans, Patriots, and Ravens respectively to 14 points or less each time. The big question is — can the Titans’ power running attack do it one more time? If RB Derrick Henry runs anything like he’s done in the last two months, that does more than help Tennessee move the ball. More important perhaps, success at running the ball keeps the Chiefs’ offense on the sidelines. Tennessee has proven itself capable of upsetting solid teams. They’ve also defeated Kanas City earlier this season and beat Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium in a playoff game two years ago.

While there’s been considerable change in personnel since then, Tennesee looks like a very attractive underdog getting plus-7. At plus-7.5, they are absolutely worth a wager.  But I can’t get that number, so this is a pass.

Betting this total to go over looks way too obvious. Both teams score plenty of points. Both offenses are explosive. Weather doesn’t appear to be a major factor although temperatures will be cold (20 degrees at game time). Temperatures in this range have not impacted scoring, historically speaking. No wind is in the forecast. What the total doesn’t reflect, however, is the recent play of both defenses. Both units have stepped up significantly in recent games. In the seven games since the mid-season loss at Tennesee, Kansas City has posted 5 unders and just 2 overs. The defense has allowed only 16 points-per-game.

Meanwhile, Tennessee’s defensive numbers are equally as impressive, surrendering just 18 points-per-game over their past seven contests. The total at 53 is the highest of any Titans’ game this season. The Chiefs have seen five games with a total at 53 points or higher — producing 2 overs and 3 unders. Given this total is considerably higher than average, especially for a championship game, there are compelling reasons for contrarians (gamblers who like fading the public and popular perception) to bet under.

One other statistic worth noting: QB Tannehill has completed only 15 passes in his two playoff starts this season (both wins). This is a startling stat, especially in the modern pass-crazy NFL. The Titans’ unproven passing game with the pressure gives even more confidence to the under.

Bottom Line:  I expect Tennessee to run the ball heavily, milk the clock, and not commit costly turnovers.  This should play into a lower-scoring game than is projected.

MY WAGER: 

TENN/KC UNDER 53 — Laying $330 to win $300

 

GREEN BAY at SAN FRANCISCO (-7.5) — TOTAL 46.5

Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers has been in plenty of big games before. He’s posted a 10-7 career playoff W-L record. For all the accolades the 49ers so rightly deserve for earning the NFC top seed, Rodgers’ experience should be weighed heavily here when picking a side. Moreover, Green Bay was held to their fewest points of the season (a trash touchdown with a 2-point conversion) in a humiliating 29-point loss at San Francisco in mid-season. We should look for a far better effort this time around.

The Packers’ defense has also carried much of the load en route to a 13-3 season. Green Bay’s defense allowed just 17 points-per-game the last six contests. This is the kind of team that’s traditionally a strong value — experienced QB, solid defense, getting points.

However, San Francisco has demonstrated its ability to completely shut down opponents and looks to be the superior unit. When the 49ers defense plays at peak level, this team looks unbeatable. Offensively, the 49ers have been explosive — eclipsing the 30-point mark in half of their games. They’ve also faced a considerably stronger schedule of opponents. The 49ers are rightly favored, but should they be laying more than a touchdown?

Several factors appear to neutralize each other when weighing the evidence. However, getting the added half-point with the underdog is a tipping point. The Packers are more than capable of winning this game outright. Getting more than a touchdown makes them a compelling team to bet on in this situation.

The total opened up at 45 and has been bet up to 46.5. Some handicappers think this total could reach 47 by kickoff. However, let’s presume the betting total is 46.5 for the purposes of discussion.

The betting public likes betting overs and these two teams could deliver points. However, both defenses are also capable of domination. If either defense flexes its muscles, the number should fall below the total.

Here are a few significant stats to look at from last week:  QB Jimmy Garopollo was just 11/19 for 131 versus Minnesota, which wasn’t impressive. He’ll have to do much better than that against Green Bay. Second, the 49ers rushed by more than a 2 to 1 margin last week, with 47 rushes and just 19 passes. Assuming a similar game plan carries over, the 49ers stressing the running attack will drain the clock and significantly help under bettors.

This is a very challenging total to handicap. No discernable edge appears to exist. It’s best to pass on the total, in my opinion.

However, Green Bay’s team total is posted at 19.5 (-125). This seems a fraction low, even with the high juice. Green Bay has scored 20-plus points in six straight games. QB Aaron Rodgers has produced 20-plus points in all 17 of his career playoff appearances. Read that again: 17-0 to the “OVER 20.” Based on history, a wager on the Packers team total to go over 19.5 is worth the risk. Note that I got burned on this wager last week with the Vikings, but the Packers are a superior team with a much better QB.

Bottom Line:  I expect Green Bay to stay with San Francisco most, if not all of the game. Rodgers can never be counted out of any playoff matchup, and it’s rare to get so many points with a veteran QB in a championship game. Give me the +7.5 and the Pack to get to 20.

MY WAGERS: 

Game Line:  GB +7.5 vs. SFO — Risking $275 to win $250

Green Bay Game Team Total Over 19.5 (-125) — Risking $312.50 to win $250.

 

 

INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons Active]

Investor  —- Amount —- Pct. of Total Fund
Heldar $ 211 2.51%
Watanabe $ 100 1.19%
Peter Lucier $ 1,000 11.91%
Kramer $ 302 3.60%
Finbar O’Mahoney $ 200 2.38%
Howler $ 100 1.19%
Linda Keenan $ 500 5.95%
John Pickels $ 100 1.19%
Patrick Kirwan $ 100 1.19%
Sean McGinnis $ 300 3.57%
Jim Anderson $ 252 3.00%
Chad Holloway $ 200 2.38%
Eric Schneller $ 500 5.95%
Randy Collack $ 351 4.18%
Dave Lawful $ 100 1.19%
Paul Harris $ 1,000 11.91%
Dan Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Sharon Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Ken QB $ 102 1.21%
Chuck Weinstock $ 102 1.21%
Peter Taki Caldes $ 102 1.21%
Kenny Shei $ 51 0.61%
Jeff Deitch $ 51 0.61%
Kevin Un $ 128 1.52%
Becca Kerl $ 22 0.26%
Corey Imsdahl $ 102 1.21%
Don Bingo Rieck $ 102 1.21%
Jeff Siegel $ 1,000 11.91%
Stephen Cohen (payment pending) $ 100 1.19%
John Reed $ 114 1.36%
George Wattman $ 51 0.61%
Mickdog Patterson $ 51 0.61%
Larry Lubliner $ 100 1.19%
Grizz Berentsen $ 100 1.19%
Edmund Hack $ 100 1.19%
Bob Feduniak $ 500 5.95%
David “Quick” Horowitz $ 102 1.21%
TOTAL $ 8,398 100.00%

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Posted by on Jan 11, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

2019 NFL: Divisional Playoff Round

 

 

Yes, the thought did occur to me.

Take my nearly $2,000 in profit, then wager conservatively over the next three weeks, and lock up a guaranteed profit for the season.  Then, I could boast 5 out of 7 winning years and coast on my laurels heading into next season.

Yeah, the thought did occur to me.

Thing is, I think most of you reading this are going to be in action on every playoff game going forward. It’s probably in our nature. While it’s wise to pass on games that produce no tangible advantages when it comes to the betting numbers, most of us do tempt our fate. Accordingly, I must deal with that reality. That means wagering on situations that look to be contrarian in nature and appear to offer some degree of value.

So — nope, I’m not slowing down.  It’s full steam ahead.

NOTE:  Here’s two articles I posted on SIDES and TOTALS for this week’s games.  Check them out.

 

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2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          78 — 63 — 3

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,398.

Current Bankroll:   $10,316.  (+ $1,918.)

Last Week’s Results (Week #18):         5 — 1 — 1  (+ $975. minus $200 lost in season-long picks contest)

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THIS WEEK’S WAGERS 

This week, I made FIVE bets.  I’m wagering $1,375 to win $1,250.  I’ve wagered on three of the four games.  However, I’ve analyzed all four games.  Here are my thoughts:

SATURDAY GAMES AND ANALYSIS:

Minnesota/San Francisco OVER 44 — Risking $275 to win $250

Minnesota +7 vs. San Francisco — Risking $275 to win $250

Minnesota Team Total OVER 19.5 for Game — Risking $275 to win $250

Comments:  I need the Minnesota Vikings to score points. So, what makes me confident they will do so. Answer — several factors:

— I was mighty impressed with head coach Mike Zimmer’s game plan last week.  He badly outcoached the Saints and I think he can do the same thing here.  Zimmer has significant playoff experience, while this is 49ers’ coach Shanahan’s first playoff game (as head coach).  With the Vikings freerolling here off the big upset last week, I think this team will be loose and confident. Minnesota also enjoys far more playoff experience than the San Francisco players.

— Mike Zimmer’s ATS record is remarkable, and probably the most compelling reason to bet the Vikings in multiple wagers. Zimmer-coached Viking teams are just 18-18 ATS versus divisional opponents.  However, they are an astounding 44-20 ATS versus all other opponents.  That’s better than 70 percent, which is unheard of.  For whatever reason, Zimmer-coached teams perform way above market expectation when out of the division.  Minnesota getting +7 makes this virtually an automatic wager.

—  San Francisco began the first half of the season with a fierce defense that was one of the NFL’s best.  But more recently, the 49ers have looked very average on the defensive side of the ball.  San Francisco has given up 20+ points in 8 of their last 9 games.  Hence, I expect Minnesota can certainly cover the 19.5 team total, which is one of my three wagers.  Inexplicably, bettors have moved the vig towards the under on this total/prop in a few spots, which I can’t understand. Minnesota moved the ball very well in New Orleans last week and should enjoy some success here, as well. WR Thielen is out for the Vikings, which might have been the main factor for a small move, but this team total should still be at least 20, especially given the less-than-impressive performance of the 49ers defense in the second half of the season.

— Minnesota’s offense has scored 20+ points in 8 of its last 9 games.  So, given San Francisco has surrendered 20+ in 8 of last 9 (since midseason), it doesn’t seem like a stretch to expect 20+ from the Vikings in this game.

— So long as Minnesota reaches the 20-point threshold, that sets us up for a possible scoop with all three wagers. San Francisco should get points themselves given their offensive prowess — 28 PPG on average since midseason. Hence, this total at just 44, looks a little low.

— Weather will make for ideal playing conditions, probably an edge to the offenses:  Temperature in the mid-50s. Wind gusts 10-15 mph. Likely, aside from a little wind, these are ideal conditions for football, including both offenses. Edge to the “over.”

— Minnesota has traveled west this season two previous occasions.  The Vikings scored 39 points versus LA Chargers and 30 points versus Seattle.  Both games soared over the total.  Here’s some more data on both teams and totals this season:

  • San Francisco has gone over in seven of its last 10 games
  • San Francisco has gone over in five of its last six home games
  • In nine of the last 13 games played at San Francisco between these two teams, the total has gone over
  • Minnesota has gone over in six of its last nine games
  • Minnesota has gone over in five of its last six road games

The bottom line is — Minnesota appears to have value catching the +7.  This is the more experienced playoff team.  The total looks a bit low given the recent performances of these teams.  Scoring should be helped by ideal playing conditions.  All these factors have inspired me to wager Minnesota +7, the Vikings team total to eclipse 19.5, and the game total to sail over 44.

 

Tennessee/Baltimore UNDER 47 — Risking $275 to win $250

Comments:  Both of these teams should run the ball more than average, and that will keep the clock moving.  Three ball carriers are former Heisman trophy winners.  The added pressure of a playoff game and two offenses with little big-game experience should add to a move conservative game plan by each team.  Weather should also be a factor, at least marginally so.  The weather was expected to be bad earlier in the week when cold rain and high winds were forecasted. But now it looks like the winter storm might come after the game. Nonetheless, winds will be in the 10-15 mph range, gusting up to 20 mph. There is a chance of drizzle. The conditions should favor the under.  I locked in a bet on the under early in the week and caught the very important key number of 47 (this way, a 27-20 final, or similar number combo won’t kill the ticket).  The number moved to 46.5 for a time, but is now back to 47 as the swarms of bettors flood the windows thinking the Titans and Ravens (both strong over teams this season) will get into a shootout.  My contrarian leanings tell me that playoff football in January is a very different type of game, and pressure.  I expect at least one defense to come up big and this point total to fall beneath the posted total of 47.  Note:  One of the odd intangibles I read while researching this game relates to the head referee.  While handicapping referees and totals isn’t the science we see in Major League Baseball, there may be something to some referees speeding up the pace of play (keeping the clock moving on marginal our of bounds plays, for instance) or in the way penalties are called.  Bill Vinovich will be officiating this game.  In his career as an NFL official, his games have gone 57-42 to the under.  No, that’s not a huge factor.  But it’s worth mentioning and just another reason to bet this total to fall lower than 47.  Note: The game total has climbed to 47.5 in some places, as public pounds the over.  I may have taken a bad number. However, I bet this earlier in the week thinking weather might get bad and drive the number down a point or two.

 

SUNDAY’S GAMES AND ANALYSIS:

Houston at Kansas City — No plays

Comments:  I don’t see any value in this game, though I lean slightly to Kansas City laying -9.5  Chiefs defense is playing far better the last five games of the season, and could make for a long day for the Texans offense, which was shut down completely for the first 43 minutes of last week’s home playoff game versus Buffalo.  Texans task will be for tougher this week, facing an explosive and rested offense.  I think if you can get -9.5, Kansas City is probably worth a look.  The Chiefs should be very confident in this spot at home and will face an opponent that was very lucky to win and get to this game, falling behind 16-0 at one point.  Anything resembling that kind of poor effort will result in a blowout here.  What keeps me off the game is Houston beating Kansas City at Arrowhead previously this season.  In fact, the Texans dominated that game.  That was way back in Week #6, but I’m still wary of how that game turned out.  I also don’t like laying lots of points in any game, let alone the playoffs, so that compels me to pass. But I can certainly see why many bettors would be attracted to Kansas City laying less than -10.

 

Seattle at Green Bay UNDER 46.5 — Risking $275 to win $250

Comments:  I tend to like highly-experienced quarterbacks to go over the betting total, especially when playing against each other.  If one QB gets on fire, that sometimes creates a shootout situation.  It would be hard to find two better-suited QBs for these conditions than Rodgers (Green Bay) and Wilson (Seattle).  So, why am I playing the under?  Here are my thoughts:

— Weather could be a factor:  A later start (5:40 pm CST) means temperatures could be even colder than the low-20s forecasted for the high. But Green Bay, notorious for Ice Bowl weather in January, might be spared. Still, this level of cold is unlikely to suit Seattle. Edge to the “under,” though historically, Green Bay scoring totals haven’t been affected much by cold weather.

— Seattle’s offense is an injury ward.  I won’t get into details, but the Seahawks came out of last week’s Philadelphia road win as a hobbled team.

— Seahawks haven’t exactly lit up the scoreboard lately, averaging just 18 points per game in their last five contests.  They’ve scored just 13, 21, and 17 in their last three contests and now play a road game versus a top defense.  Back-to-back road games, this one in frigid conditions with an injured team isn’t the recipe to turn mediocre offensive numbers around.

— Meanwhile, Green Bay has been sporadic offensively, going under in 4 of their last 5 at home.  Former MVP QB Rodgers isn’t having a great season, despite the Packers’ impressive 13-3 record.  They got to the #2 seed by running the ball and playing solid defense.  Packers since midseason in their last 8 games are averaging just slightly better than 20 points-per-game.  This total might be inflated based on previous years of Packers’ home playoff games when they would often produce big plays and lots of points.  This looks to be a very different team this season.

— Green Bay’s defense is playing terrific.  Their last five games — allowed 13, 15, 13, 10, and 20 points, respectively.  They’re also riding a five-game winning streak, so don’t look for the coaching staff to rock the boat with any significant changes.  The Packers will run the ball and expect their defense to contain the always-dangerous Wilson, who is by far the Seahawks’ best weapon.

— The betting total at 46.5 doesn’t seem to reflect the reality of injuries, weather, and the way these teams have performed in the latter half of the season.  I do see value at this number, and anything higher than 44.  That would be my projected total.

Accordingly, I’ve wagered one unit on the under 46.5 in this game, which hopefully results in another winning weekend.

 

Good luck!

 

INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons Active]

Investor  —- Amount —- Pct. of Total Fund
Heldar $ 211 2.51%
Watanabe $ 100 1.19%
Peter Lucier $ 1,000 11.91%
Kramer $ 302 3.60%
Finbar O’Mahoney $ 200 2.38%
Howler $ 100 1.19%
Linda Keenan $ 500 5.95%
John Pickels $ 100 1.19%
Patrick Kirwan $ 100 1.19%
Sean McGinnis $ 300 3.57%
Jim Anderson $ 252 3.00%
Chad Holloway $ 200 2.38%
Eric Schneller $ 500 5.95%
Randy Collack $ 351 4.18%
Dave Lawful $ 100 1.19%
Paul Harris $ 1,000 11.91%
Dan Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Sharon Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Ken QB $ 102 1.21%
Chuck Weinstock $ 102 1.21%
Peter Taki Caldes $ 102 1.21%
Kenny Shei $ 51 0.61%
Jeff Deitch $ 51 0.61%
Kevin Un $ 128 1.52%
Becca Kerl $ 22 0.26%
Corey Imsdahl $ 102 1.21%
Don Bingo Rieck $ 102 1.21%
Jeff Siegel $ 1,000 11.91%
Stephen Cohen (payment pending) $ 100 1.19%
John Reed $ 114 1.36%
George Wattman $ 51 0.61%
Mickdog Patterson $ 51 0.61%
Larry Lubliner $ 100 1.19%
Grizz Berentsen $ 100 1.19%
Edmund Hack $ 100 1.19%
Bob Feduniak $ 500 5.95%
David “Quick” Horowitz $ 102 1.21%
TOTAL $ 8,398 100.00%

__________

 

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Posted by on Jan 3, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 2 comments

NFL 2019: Wild Card Week (Playoffs — Sunday)

 

 

A few generic thoughts on this week’s wild-card round of playoff games:

  1.  Many bettors step up their bet sizes because playoff games are more meaningful.  This is wrong.  Playoff game odds/numbers are often the worst matchups to handicap and bet on.  I’d much rather bet on two losing teams playing a late-season game than any of the so-called premier matchups.
  2. Unlike regular-season games where motivation, fatigue, internal team disarray, and other intangibles can influence the outcome of a game (and create the basis of a bet), all teams are motivated and ready to play come playoff time.  There really is no “bet against” team, as is the case during the season when teams and players aren’t expected to play at peak level.
  3. None of us gamblers (and certainly not fans) have any inside information as to what will happen in a playoff game.  Any legitimate rumor or betting edge would already move the line (and totals, props, etc.) before it reaches the betting public.  I know nothing more than anyone else, nor does anyone who takes this endeavor seriously.  Anyone who claims to “know something” is lying.

So, why am I wagering on this week’s games?  I’ll explain below in my weekly writeup.

I’m now up for the season about 23 percent ahead of the starting bankroll.  Let’s hope the strong second half of the season continues for four more weeks.

 

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2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          77 — 62 — 3

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,398.

Current Bankroll:   $10,541.  (+ $2,143.)

Last Week’s Results (Week #17):         7 — 5 — 0  (+ $575.)

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THIS WEEK’S WAGERS 

SUNDAY GAMES AND ANALYSIS:

Minnesota at New Orleans

One Wager:  Saints Team Total Over 28.5 (-115) — Risking $287.50 to win $250

Comments:  Let me explain the reasons why there’s more that I *don’t like* betting this game:

— It’s tempting to bet New Orleans on several connected wagers to a Saints victory  (game line, first half, team total over, money line, etc.).  However, I see -400 money line as a bad number.  If these two teams were to play four times under identical conditions, my projection is — the Vikings would win perhaps a quarter of the games.  In other words, I predict they’d go 1-3 in four hypothetical matchups.  Hence, I see this as closer to a -300 lay price and even then, there’s no actual value.  So why not bet the Vikings at +300 (which is the price?).  Again, no value here.  I’d probably bite at +350 or higher.

— Laying -7.5 with the Saints is problematic.  That half-point off touchdown scares me.  At -7, New Orleans is probably a solid bet given the roll they’re on at the moment, but the best price I see comes with -135 vig.  I’m not paying an extra 25 cents to capture the half point-off the 7.  So, that’s a pass.

— Minnesota at +7.5 looks tempting.  But I’m seriously concerned with the disparity of playoff experience between these two QBs in the post-season.  Future Hall of Famer Brees is 8-6 SU in the playoffs and generally performs well in games like this, and he’s even stronger in the first round.  Meanwhile, Cousins has made one start in his mediocre career, which was a blowout loss when he was with Washington.  I’m wary about betting unproven starters, especially why they could be badly outmatched.  So, no play on the Vikings plus the points.

— Saints team total looks to have slight value for a number of reasons.  First, New Orleans will be on a delirious high for this contest.  They’ve been waiting for a year to get back to this spot, hosting a playoff game at home.  This could be their final playoff home game given the route they would likely take, even with a victory.  So, the Saints should be ecstatic here and ready to roll, particularly on offense.  New Orleans has been a scoring machine since Brees returned from the early-season hand injury.  Saints have eclipsed the 28.5-point mark in 8 of last 10 games.  Saints have gone 6-2 over that mark in all home games this season.  Bottom line is — New Orleans has proven time and time again they can score.  So, I’m willing to bet over a slightly higher-than-average team total, even with the hook added to four touchdowns (28.5).  One more point:  I don’t see New Orleans slowing down late in the game, even with a lead.  They’ve been burned in playoff games before.  New Orleans was still throwing the ball in late-season games when ahead by big scores.  Hence, this offense is likely to be in gear for 60 full minutes.  Finally, it goes without saying the New Orleans receiving corps may be the best in the league.

— Another factor that sways me to New Orleans scoring points is the impressive sack totals allowed by the Saints.  When Brees has time, the Saints score and win.  It’s that simple.  New Orleans protected Brees very well in second half of the season.  Even though New Orleans throws more passes than average (and is subject to more sacks), they ranked third in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed.  If Brees has time, this spells trouble for the Vikings defense.

— So, why not also bet the game OVER 49.5?  It’s tempting.  If Saints get up on the scoreboard, this game could turn into a shootout.  But that’s the last thing the Vikings want.  Minnesota will aim for a ball-control, milk-the-clock game plan that wins time of possession and keeps the high-octane Saints offense on the sidelines.  If somehow they are successful, this game could fall under.  Let’s credit Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer for being a defensive guru.  Moreover, the Saints defense could make Cousins have a miserable day.  My bottom line opinion is — there’s a better chance New Orleans scores 28.5-plus than this game goes over 49.5.  Of course, both could very well happen.

— Note the 14.5 on the Saints first-half team total.  That half-point is very problematic and keeps me away.  It’s more likely New Orleans breaks the 14-point threshold in the second half, when defense is tired, Minnesota makes offensive mistakes in desperation when playing from behind, etc.  So, even though I’m bullish on the Saints scoring, I see that first-half total as a bad number.

FINAL DECISION:  One wager only, on the Saints to score at least 28.5 points.

 

Seattle at Philadelphia

One Wager:  First Half — Seattle PICK (-110) — Risking $275 to win $250

My first instinct was to pound Seattle at this price (PICK).  Eagles’ injury situation is epic.  While they’re somewhat healthier now, it’s hard to see many strengths on this team, which has struggled repeatedly in multiple games this season, even down the stretch facing outmatched opponents in must-win games.  I don’t see what others are looking at with the Eagles, unless they look at Seattle as a *bet against* team based on some false metrics, including a really porous defense.  The question is — does Philadelphia have the weapons to take advantage of Seattle’s weaknesses?  I’m not so sure they do.  Here are my thoughts on various numbers connected to this matchup:

— Philadelphia has been a very slow starting team in a majority of their games.  The Eagles do tend to adjust at halftime.  But for some reason, this team doesn’t look prepared early on, in the first half.  Hence, I lean to Seattle strongly based on team performances in the first half.  I also suspect the Eagles’ younger players, many with no playoff experience, might need a little time to adjust.

— Let’s also remember, Eagles QB Carson Wentz hasn’t won a playoff game yet.  I’m a fan of this gutsy player, who gives it all on the field.  But that’s a concern if you’re backing the Eagles.  During their Super Bowl season a few years ago, Nick Foles, the backup took all the snaps.  Wentz is also 0-3 in his career against Seattle, including a 17-9 loss earlier this season.

— Russell Wilson.  Enough said.

— Let’s keep in mind that Seattle was 11-5 this season while Philadelphia went 9-7.  Seahawks went 5-0 this season on the road in the East time zone, so I’m not sure there’s ANY concern with Seattle as the road team here.  A perfect 5-0 record, both SU and ATS for any West Coast team traveling three time zones is impressive.  However, I see this as Seattle being proven as a battle-tested road team.

— I’m very concerned about Seahawks losing 3 of their last four games.  However, those were to division rivals.  The other two Seattle losses were to New Orleans and Baltimore, and there’s no shame in those defeats.

— The total at 45 was tempting as a contrarian over play for me.  Total opened at 45.5 and dropped and I might have bit into the apple at 44.5 and certainly 44.  But, it’s gone back up again to 45.5.  So, this rates as a pass.  Some handicappers are pushing the under really hard here, and I see some basis for that wager based on playoff games being a little more conservative offensively, combined with some reason for optimism the Eagles’ defense might rise to the occasion.  The bottom line for me is — mixed information will keep me from betting this total, either way.

— Team totals care about where they should be.  I see no value on any of those numbers.  22.5 is team total on both for the game.  Slightly lean to at least one of these teams reaching the 23-point mark.  But not strong enough to bet it.  Interesting numbers at 10.5  both teams in the first half, with some higher juice leaning to the under.  Wish I could capture a 1o, in which case I’d probably bet either team over that number.

— As stated previously, it’s tempting to play Seattle for the game as a pick ’em.  However, given the Eagles’ slow starts this season and some concerns this injury-depleted team could make mistakes early on, I think the optimal wager is betting Seattle in the first half.  Note that there is one place in Las Vegas (MGM) which lists Seahawks minus .5 in the first half at +120 but also has Eagles at -1 and -105 for the game.  That’s one of the more unusual number combinations I’ve seen for any playoff game.  But it also tells me the Eagles slow starts but solid halftime adjustments in previous games are being factored into the spreads.

FINAL DECISION:  One wager only, which is Seattle in the first half, at pick’ em.

 

SATURDAY:  In the Saturday games, I risked a total of $1,492.50 to win $1,250.  The 4-0-1 result is posted in the updated figures above.  Here were the plays, with comments:

 

GAME:  BUFFALO +3 vs. HOUSTON — Risking $275 to win $250

FIRST HALF:  BUFFALO +1 — Risking $275 to win $250

FIRST HALF:  BUFFALO TEAM TOTAL OVER 8.5 POINTS (-130) — Risking $325 to win $250  

Comments:  Since 2003, underdogs have covered in 55.6 percent of all playoff games.  That’s enough to make me look mostly at dogs, and then pounce on one when the team look optimal conditioned to pull off an outright upset.  I think that’s the case with the Buffalo Bills here, playing at Houston Texans in the early Saturday game.  First and foremost, the Bills field the better defense.  Come playoff time, I like betting on superior defenses.  We are also getting points, in both the first half and for the game.  Initially, I was planning to wager Buffalo +1 for the first half only.  However, I saw several books move the game line to +2.5 and I was still able to get the +3 at the old price of -110.  So, unless the line moves back to +3 by game time, I’m getting line value.  On paper, these teams look pretty evenly matched.  Both are 10-6.  Both rested starters in the final week of the season and appear reasonably healthy.  Neither starting QB has playoff experience.  What tips me towards Buffalo is [1] the clear advantage on defense, [2] a suspicion Houston offense is a bit overrated (in Texans last 10 contests they didn’t score more than 28 points in any game), [3] getting the key number +3 with the dog (and +1 in first-half which is significant), [4] strong performance historically of underdogs in playoff games, and finally [5] the record of road dogs in 2019, which are covering 60 percent of the time in all games, which is historically unprecedented, which also tells me home-field edge might not be what it used to be.  I also like Buffalo to cover the low number in the first half on a team total.  It’s important to capture the 9 and 10, and 8.5 gives us a win on those two numbers:  14, 17, 0, 31, 3, 10, 14 were the first-half points allowed in each game by Texans since their mid-season bye.  So, I have three wagers in all, each connected to the Bills as the live dog.

 

FIRST HALF:  TENNESEE +3 at NEW ENGLAND — Risking $275 to win $250

FIRST HALF:  TENNESSEE TEAM TOTAL OVER 8.5 — Risking $325 to win $250 

Comments:  I see some respected handicappers on New England, citing “line value” on the dynasty team laying just -5.5.  That sounds reasonable and history is certainly on the Patriots side given their extraordinary success in the post-season.  However, Tennesee might be the worst possible team the Patriots could face at this point — a solid rushing team that doesn’t make many mistakes nor turn the ball over, an offense led by a veteran QB with lots of experience playing in Foxboro, and perhaps most shockingly ….. an offense that is scoring a ton of points:  35, 28, 21, 42, 31, 42, 35, 20, 27, and 23 since QB Ryan Tannehill became the starter.  While New England fields the #1 defense in the NFL in several categories, they did seem to draw opponents when they were struggling at their worst, namely the Jets, Dolphins, Redskins, Giants, Browns, Cowboys, Bengals, and a heap of other trash.  So, I see those numbers as being slightly inflated.  Also, consider New England’s collapse in the previous game, where they blew the chance to get a bye.  That’s not just an outlier of a loss to shrug off.  That wouldn’t have happened to Belichick-coached teams of the past.  Patriots in last four home games — lost to Miami, had to stave off a last-second scoring chance by Buffalo to win by 7, lost to Kansas City, and barely beat Dallas 13-9.  That’s four less-than-stellar performances by the Patriots at home.  So, I can’t lay -5.5 with this team.  It seems obvious the Titans should be the play here getting generous points, but I’m going to skip the strong temptation to take the +5 and +5.5 in some places.  Note that +6 is probably a wager for me.  Instead, I do see strong value with Tennessee +3 in the first half.  If the Titans are to win the game, they likely have to avoid falling behind early.  With a solid rushing attack, I expect this will be just the right formula to make that happen.  And, in a similar wager with identical justification to the team total (Titans over 8.5), I do see value on the team that’s been scoring like crazy the last nine weeks of the season to eclipse what seems like a low number.  Weather is forecast with drizzle and 40 degrees.  I don’t think this hurts the run-heavy Titans as much as possible the Patriots so slippery conditions could actually work in our favor.  Two wagers on this game, both on the dog Titans in the first half.

 

INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons Active]

Investor  —- Amount —- Pct. of Total Fund
Heldar $ 211 2.51%
Watanabe $ 100 1.19%
Peter Lucier $ 1,000 11.91%
Kramer $ 302 3.60%
Finbar O’Mahoney $ 200 2.38%
Howler $ 100 1.19%
Linda Keenan $ 500 5.95%
John Pickels $ 100 1.19%
Patrick Kirwan $ 100 1.19%
Sean McGinnis $ 300 3.57%
Jim Anderson $ 252 3.00%
Chad Holloway $ 200 2.38%
Eric Schneller $ 500 5.95%
Randy Collack $ 351 4.18%
Dave Lawful $ 100 1.19%
Paul Harris $ 1,000 11.91%
Dan Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Sharon Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Ken QB $ 102 1.21%
Chuck Weinstock $ 102 1.21%
Peter Taki Caldes $ 102 1.21%
Kenny Shei $ 51 0.61%
Jeff Deitch $ 51 0.61%
Kevin Un $ 128 1.52%
Becca Kerl $ 22 0.26%
Corey Imsdahl $ 102 1.21%
Don Bingo Rieck $ 102 1.21%
Jeff Siegel $ 1,000 11.91%
Stephen Cohen (payment pending) $ 100 1.19%
John Reed $ 114 1.36%
George Wattman $ 51 0.61%
Mickdog Patterson $ 51 0.61%
Larry Lubliner $ 100 1.19%
Grizz Berentsen $ 100 1.19%
Edmund Hack $ 100 1.19%
Bob Feduniak $ 500 5.95%
David “Quick” Horowitz $ 102 1.21%
TOTAL $ 8,398 100.00%

$200 Invested into Pick Contest (outcome pending)

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Posted by on Dec 28, 2019 in Blog, Essays | 1 comment

NFL 2019: Week #17

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Kansas City Chiefs victory in Super Bowl IV. Remember the Chiefs’ unusual “choir huddle?” This year’s team likely promises to be their best chance in decades to get back to the championship game.  I’m backing the Chiefs big in the final week of the NFL season.  Hoping to sing “Hallelujah!” Here’s my Week #17 write up.

1969 Kansas City Chiefs

 

I’m glad to be in the profit column for the year after suffering through a brutal mid-season slump.  Let’s now close out the regular season strongly with this final slate of wagers and (hopefully) winners.

By the way, I’ve begun contributing original content for an online gambling website, which (appropriately enough) is onlinegambling.com.  Please check it out.

Those of you who like data, trends, and various aspects of handicapping methodology may be interested in these three new articles which I wrote up and posted in the last two days:

KEY BETTING TRENDS FOR NFL WEEK 17

TOTALS ANGLE SUGGESTS FOUR POSSIBLE UNDER WAGERS

HOW TO HANDICAP THE FINAL WEEK OF THE REGULAR SEASON

If you want to know my reasoning for this week’s wagers, much of the content in these articles (links above) will explain.  I’m particularly proud of my work on the UNDER trends, as this took considerable research on my part and (to my knowledge) hasn’t been discovered until now.

 

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2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD

Wins — Losses — Pushes          66 — 57 — 2

Starting Bankroll:   $ 8,398.

Current Bankroll:   $8,966.  (+ $568.)

Last Week’s Results (Week #15):         13 — 4 — 1  (+ $2,050.)

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THIS WEEK’S WAGERS 

This week, I made 12 wagers.

There are 6 teaser bets.  The hub team is the Kansas City Chiefs at -2.5.

There is 1 money line bet.  The Kansas City Chiefs are -380 favorites versus the LA Chargers.

There are also 5 totals bets.  Four bets are “under” based on my research.  One bet is an “over” based on opinion the total is simply too low.

I’m laying a total of $5,125.  Here are all the plays (each teaser is listed at -120 unless noted otherwise/each total is listed at -110 unless noted otherwise):

GREEN BAY / DETROIT UNDER 44 — Risking $275 to win $250

MIAMI / NEW ENGLAND UNDER 45 — Risking $275 to win $250

NEW ORLEANS / CAROLINA UNDER 45 — Risking $275 to win $250

WASHINGTON / DALLAS UNDER 45.5 — Risking $275 to win $250

ATLANTA / TAMPA BAY OVER 47.5 — Risking $275 to win $250

KANSAS CITY (MONEY LINE TO WIN) — Risking $1,950 to win $500

TEASER:  DALLAS -4.5 / KANSAS CITY -2.5 — Risking $300 to win $250

TEASER:  NEW ORLEANS -7 / KANSAS CITY -2.5 — Risking $300 to win $250

TEASER:  NEW ENGLAND -10 / KANSAS CITY -2.5 — Risking $300 to win $250

TEASER:  GREEN BAY -6 / KANSAS CITY -2.5 — Risking $300 to win $250

TEASER:  CINCINNATI +8.5 / KANSAS CITY -2.5 — Risking $300 to win $250

TEASER:  NY JETS +7.5 / KANSAS CITY -2.5 — Risking $300 to win $250

 

BD /SM INVESTMENT GROUP [37 persons Active]

Investor  —- Amount —- Pct. of Total Fund
Heldar $ 211 2.51%
Watanabe $ 100 1.19%
Peter Lucier $ 1,000 11.91%
Kramer $ 302 3.60%
Finbar O’Mahoney $ 200 2.38%
Howler $ 100 1.19%
Linda Keenan $ 500 5.95%
John Pickels $ 100 1.19%
Patrick Kirwan $ 100 1.19%
Sean McGinnis $ 300 3.57%
Jim Anderson $ 252 3.00%
Chad Holloway $ 200 2.38%
Eric Schneller $ 500 5.95%
Randy Collack $ 351 4.18%
Dave Lawful $ 100 1.19%
Paul Harris $ 1,000 11.91%
Dan Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Sharon Goldman $ 51 0.61%
Ken QB $ 102 1.21%
Chuck Weinstock $ 102 1.21%
Peter Taki Caldes $ 102 1.21%
Kenny Shei $ 51 0.61%
Jeff Deitch $ 51 0.61%
Kevin Un $ 128 1.52%
Becca Kerl $ 22 0.26%
Corey Imsdahl $ 102 1.21%
Don Bingo Rieck $ 102 1.21%
Jeff Siegel $ 1,000 11.91%
Stephen Cohen (payment pending) $ 100 1.19%
John Reed $ 114 1.36%
George Wattman $ 51 0.61%
Mickdog Patterson $ 51 0.61%
Larry Lubliner $ 100 1.19%
Grizz Berentsen $ 100 1.19%
Edmund Hack $ 100 1.19%
Bob Feduniak $ 500 5.95%
David “Quick” Horowitz $ 102 1.21%
TOTAL $ 8,398 100.00%

$200 Invested into Pick Contest (outcome pending)

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