Every week, I am picking NFL games against the spread. And making bets that I think are profitable. The first few weeks, I tried to be a tough guy and make millions of bets. I lost lots of dollars. I started limiting myself and have been quite profitable ever since. I plan to continue this for eternity.
Here are my NFL Week 9 picks and bets.
Realize: betting NFL is really hard. These picks are meant to hopefully help you out a bit, but mainly to entertain you. They AREN’T meant to be followed blindly. Listen, and hopefully be entertained by my childish jokes. Or at least say something mean about me so I can get a good cry in.
I will make a pick for every game. But if I don’t specifically recommend a bet, I’m just throwing darts. Don’t listen to my advice. The pick is there so I can have a record for picking every game, one that will undoubtedly suck. And then you can make fun of me. I’m a man of the people. As always, I hope you argue with me on Twitter.
For the actual bets, I will keep track of my record and profits/losses. Unlike my NHL/NBA “how not to lose your money gamblin’ “ series, a normal bet will be to win $100, for tracking purposes, because I’m a hypothetical high-roller, and you are too. There will be occasional double, triple, quadruple, and probably even quintuple bets.
The past two weeks, I have tried to teach you lessons on the gambler’s fallacy (through a story on me losing all of my dollars playing roulette) and on recency bias (through a tragic story about nachos). I will spare you these extra words this week, because I’m on vacation and I want one more beer. Pick$: commen$e.
Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) over Miami Dolphins*
These two teams are identical, except that Cincinnati is significantly better at everything. The Dolphins’ used to have the advantage of Ryan Tannehill being the middle-class man’s, non-ginger Andy Dalton, but then Miami’s offensive line realized its lack of potential and Andy Dalton morphed into the Human Torch and now: Dalton >>>> Tannehill.
Ipso facto, Bengals >>>> Dolphins.
There is literally no reason to like Miami. Seriously, can you find one? The only thing I thought of was “ANDY DALTON ON THE ROAD!” But then I looked up the stats, and it turns out Andy Dalton is weirdly pretty-damn-good on the road. And despite my status as a bitter Jets fan whose team was just lit on fire by this newly-lit Human Torch, I love the Bengals here.
I’m a little surprised this hasn’t moved to -3 yet. I bet this moves to -3 by the time I publish this.
(Note: I was right! And I’d still take this at -3. Get it now in case it climbs to -3.5, which would be a huge, unfortunate jump.)
Bet: Bengals -2.5 (-110), $165 to win $150
Buffalo Bills* (+3.5) over Kansas City Chiefs
There are three possible reactions to this line:
Average fan: Does Vegas even know the Chiefs are undefeated? I love it when i find dumb lines like this! What a joke! your Kidding me vegas! (You ever notice how dumb people capitalize random words? It Pisses me Of.)
The UNDEFEATED Chiefs are the best team in the NFL, cuz their record is the best, and you PLAY TO WIN THE GAME, and they’ve done that the most, so they’re THE BEST ALRIGHT? … and are only favored by 3.5? What a joke! Bet the house on the Chiefs! I’m laughing so much because this was clearly intended as a joke!
Smartass: The Bills are garbage, I’m smarter than you, I’m such a sharp bettor, I’m betting my house on the Chiefs.
Rational human: The Chiefs probably are overrated. Their run defense hasn’t had to prove much yet; the Bills might test them. But, Thad Lewis is gonna get annihilated by the Chiefs and their league-leading 11.46% sack percentage. The Bills have a solid run-d. They can contain Jamaal Charles. This should be a low-scoring game. This line is very stern and fair. I am not a smartass, nor am I a moron; I won’t pretend to have an idea of who will cover.
San Diego Chargers (-1) over Washington Humans*
These bets make me the most uneasy, where I go, “OVER, OBVIOUSLY,” then I see that the total is 51, which, sure, is high, but, what am I missing? How is it not higher? I thought the same thing last week with Broncos/Humans, and though that turned out to almost lose, a late-game outburst made it hit.
Regardless, HOW DOES THIS MAKE SENSE?
Average points per game allowed by Humans: 32.7. Average times per game I get confused at how Philip Rivers woke up out of his Bad QB Coma: 65.9 (otherwise known as the Chargers’ offensive plays per game — 15th in NFL).
The Humans play fast. Their offense hasn’t been great, but they’ve given up lots of points and scored a solid amount in garbage time. Phil Rivers will torch them. Many points should be scored. As long as Robert Gimpin’ the Third can play passably against the 30th-ranked pass defense in DVOA, this should go over.
OVER 51 (-110), $55 to win $50
Carolina Panthers* (-7.5) over Atlanta Falcons
At first glance, this has to be the winner for Line Most-Off From Preseason. What would you have guessed this line would be if this was played Week 1? Probably Atlanta -2.5, I’d say. So, a 10-point swing. And I’m not sure Carolina is much better-perceived now than then. This is pretty much all Atlanta injuries and sucktitude.
That said, I think this line is fair. Matt Ryan is keeping the Falcons’ offense passable and near Panthers-level, but their defense is putrid, the Panthers’ is good, and there’s no reason to think the Panthers lose. This is perfect teaser material, and a sneaky-good survivor pick.
I also like the over a wee bit. I wouldn’t blame you if you took it, or teased the Panthers with it.
Bet: TEASER: Panthers -1.5/Cowboys -3 (-110), $220 to win $200
Pittsburgh Steelers (+7) over New England Patriots*
The Steelers are the type of team that I love to back as a big underdog, but hate to back in any other scenario. They’ve got that solid defense/no running game/mediocre Big Ben-ing down to a tee, where they can hang with decent teams by keeping things low-scoring, but you can’t count on them, at all.
The Patriots are sneaky-bad. I tweeted this a while ago (that Tom Brady sucks this year), but I felt dishonest saying it as a Jets fan. Let noted Pats-homer Bill Simmons confirm things from the other side of Bias River.
Player A: 1,687 yards, 60.7% comp, 6.44 YPA, 14/4 TD/INT, 90.9 rating, 48.1 QBR, +8.20 DVOA
Player B: 1,723 yards, 58.3% comp, 7.73 YPA, 8/11 TD/INT, 74.3 rating, 35.8 QBR, -18.8 DVOA
Player C: 1,708 yards, 55.4% comp, 5.99 YPA, 8/5 TD/INT, 75.3 rating, 48.5 QBR, -12.2 DVOA
Player D: 1,741 yards, 60.5% comp, 6.55 YPA , 8/13 TD/INT, 69.5 rating, 32.3 QBR, -20.3 DVOA
If you had to guess the identities of Tom Brady, Sam Bradford, Carson Palmer and Geno Smith based on these 2013 numbers, how would you pick? …
Player A: Bradford. Player B: Geno. Player C: Brady. Player D: Palmer.
He then goes on to discuss how the eye test has confirmed the “Brady has been a bad quarterback” theory, saying that “he’s been missing throws for two months.” I couldn’t agree more. The Jets beat bad Brady and I honestly wasn’t impressed or surprised.
My point: the Patriots are not a good team right now. They’re overvalued. Yes, they’re the best team in this division, but that’s not impressive.
And the Steelers are not good, but I trust them to keep this low-scoring and fairly close. They’re undervalued.
There’s some value here.
Bet: Steelers +7 (-115), $115 to win $100 AND ML (+264) $20 to win $52.80
Tennessee Titans (-2.5) over St. Louis Rams*
I haven’t had a good read on the Titans all year, but I’m really confused here. Why is this line so low? Because the Rams covered against the Seahawks last week, in a game with an inflated line, even though St. Louis still looked like dogshit?
Tennessee has the better numbers all around (5.0 yards per play, 5.3 allowed vs. 4.8 (YUCK) and 5.7)… but then again, the Rams did hold the Seahawks to 135 yards of offense last week. I suppose I’m a tad scared.
I like the Titans here. I do. But they’ve burned me all year. Am I missing something? Doesn’t the Rams’ pass defense, giving up 7.7 yards per attempt(!) spell doom? I think it does. Still, I’ll limit this to a half-bet.
Bet: Titans -2.5 (-110), $55 to win $50
New York Jets* (+6) over New Orleans Saints
Yes, I only picked the Jets because I’m a biased Jets fan. I would not recommend you bet on them. That being said, I don’t think there’s any value on the Saints. That’s not my bias talking.
Minnesota Vikings (+10.5) over Dallas Cowboys*
Is this too many points? Probably. I like the Cowboys as much as anybody, but this team isn’t good enough to be laying 10.5 points. I’m not sure they can contain Adrian Peterson. But Romo should go nuts. Nothing to see here.
Cleveland Browns* (+3) over Baltimore Ravens
I loved the Browns with Brian Hoyer, and I thought they’d be a yearlong moneymaker. Then they went back to Weeden, and then it was Fade City. I assumed Jason Campbell wasn’t more than a half-step up, but then he was oddly good in a horrific matchup in Kansas City. I have no idea what to think now, and I will watch this game closely.
By the way, the Browns have probably been the better team this year. And they’re 3-point (OK, now it’s 2.5) underdogs. I am considering a Browns bet. But I just don’t know what to think about Campbell.
Houston Texans* (+2.5) over Indianapolis Colts
I still don’t think the Colts are as good as perceived, but there’s no way I’d take Case Keenum over them with such a short line. I don’t like the Colts, but I was almost convinced to bet on them anyway, here. This line seems like it might be short, but my Colts distaste scares me away.
Philadelphia Eagles (+1) over Oakland Raiders*
If you ask me to pick a side here, I will stick my finger down my throat and puke in your silly face.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+16.5) over Seattle Seahawks*
I honestly think this line might be a little steep, but we already missed the best number (-17.5, i think), and there is no way I trust Mike Glennon, even with 16.5 points, in Seattle. I think Tampa’s defense will show up, and Russell Wilson will continue to get sacked many a time, but there’s WAY too much Glennon pick-six potential here for a Bucs bet, or an under bet, which were the only two things I considered.
Green Bay Packers* (-10.5) over Chicago Bears
The Packers are basically the same team as the Broncos, really damn good in every facet of the game… except the secondary. I don’t care that all of Aaron Rodgers receivers got the clap; they can run the ball now, and they’re pretty much unstoppable. And this Bears defense is mediocre. And they torch teams at home. They’re fine.
I’m not sure what to think here. If Jay Cutler were playing, this would be far too many points. The Packers would easily be the best team in football if not for their porous pass defense. Can Josh McCown torch a bad defense? Probably. Possibly. Maybe. I wouldn’t bet on it.
I do think this presents a nice Packers/OVER teaser opportunity, but I’ll ponder that a bit, because I’m not sure I trust McCown to do his part.
BONUS PARLAY: Packers ML/Seahawks ML/Panthers ML/Cowboys ML/Michigan State TT UNDER 26.5 (+277), $50 to win $138.50
Good luck, friends. Please hit me up on the Twitters to argue, call me names, ask a question, or say anything else that comes to mind.
Last Week’s Betting Record: 4-2 (.667) (+$348.33)
Since Limiting My Crazy, Overextended Self: 18-8 (.692) (+1,410.76)
Overall Betting Record 38-32 (.543) (-$557.58)
Dart-throwing record: 63-54 (.538)