It’s been a rough start. If the San Francisco 49ers had won last week, this would be a different story. But you could say something like that every week. Here are my Week 4 NFL picks and bets. They will be better this time, maybe.
Realize: betting NFL is really hard. These picks are meant to help you out so you don’t lose all your money, but 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.
Home teams are starred.
San Francisco 49ers (-3) over St. Louis Rams*
There are three possible reactions to this line.
Casual fan: HAHAAHAHA LET ME GET TO THE BANK WHY DON’T I BET FOOTBALL EVERY WEEK!!!!
(Translation: The 49ers are one of the best teams in the NFL and thus will beat the Rams, handily, making me a small fortune, because I will bet far more than I can afford to lose, because I know everything about football.)
Smart-ass: The 49ers have lost two games in a row! They suck!
(Translation: Bet on the Rams!)
Rational bettor: Hm. Let’s analyze this.
So, the Rams went 1-0-1 against the Niners last year. Both games went to OT. The win came at home. They weren’t fluky wins. Yards per play for the two games were nearly even, and the turnover battle was 1-1, total. Kaepernick didn’t start the first game, but he played a lot and finished it when Alex Smith was concussed.
So, the Rams played the Niners tough last year, so obviously they’re the play, right? Well, no. The point is: You are insane if you’re the casual fan mentioned above, because anything can happen. This line implies that the 49ers are ~6-7 points better than the Rams, which is pretty steep, especially since they’re playing like ram-urine.
But, I think we’re getting a bit of value due to the 49ers struggles. I’m not that worried. They were bad last week, but were close to the Colts in yards per play (4.8 to 5.0). Losing the turnover battle 2-0 was a big problem unlikely to persist.
The casual fan is dumb for thinking teams are locks, but that does not mean he’s always wrong. The Rams kind of suck. They have a reputation as a tough defense, but they’ve sucked all year. They gave up 7.6 YPA to Carson Palmer, at home. They didn’t even have a pick-six on him. If you can’t get a pick-six on Carson Palmer, you should be relegated to the Big East. The Big East doesn’t even exist anymore.
The only thing I’m worried about is the Niners’ receiving corps. But I’m worried about everything regarding the Rams, especially their fans’ sanity after they see us make trillions of shekels betting on their misery. (I hope.)
Bet: San Francisco 49ers -3 (-115), $115 to win $100
Bills (+3.5)* over Baltimore Ravens
Ah. Another one where most people are like “OH MAAAA DOOOOD THE RAVENS WON THE SUPERBOWL HOW AM I SO SMART AND ODDSMAKERS FORGOT THIS?!?!”
Oddsmakers have charts and notes and Google. They are most likely aware that the Ravens won the Super Bowl. This is not a valid reason to bet. Nor is: but they’re SOOOO much better!!
I thought the Ravens sucked, but then they beat the Texans easily. I’m unsure if that’s because the Texans suck, too, or the Ravens aren’t that bad.
Regardless, the Ravens have a huge discrepancy in home/road performance. To demonstrate: Joe Flacco is 35-7 at home in his career. He is 21-20 on the road.
And you’re like… the Bills were 2-point underdogs to the Jets! Well, that means oddsmakers thought they were a bit better than the Jets. This line means the Bills are at least 6.5 points worse than the Ravens. The Ravens aren’t 6.5 points better than a team consisting of my grundle hairs.
Bets: Bills +3.5 (-110), $50 to win $45.45 AND ML (+160), $5 to win $8
Jacksonville Jaguars* (+7.5) over Indianapolis Colts
STOP LAUGHING AT ME.
Yes, this is another one where the favorite seems like a lock. But, take your time. Typically, big, popular road favorites are the worst bet you can make. But that doesn’t mean they’re never worth making. Every bet should be looked at individually. Think of each bet as a human, with potential for value. The name of the game is value. The game has no last name.
Seahawks -19.5 looked like one of those too-good-to-be-true, attractive girls on Facebook that you thought would be hideous when you met, but then she turned out to be a wonderful, gorgeous human being. Then you fell in love, bet on her and got a -110 return on your investment.
Toids of Facts
Andrew Luck has been virtually identical at home and on the road… except for his 15 TDs to 6 INTs at home, compared to his 11 TDs to 13 INTs on the road. It’s a small sample size, but it’s worth considering.
Weirdly, the Colts looked like the most overrated team in football, until they destroyed the Niners on the road.
So, what the fuck is this team? Do they have a good defense?
I don’t know. I don’t think there’s value. I think this is fair. A moderately attractive girl on social media who likely represents herself well with accurate photographs. Andrew Luck is that girl in this analogy, I think.
New York Giants (+4.5) over Kansas City Chiefs*
These teams are polar opposites. If you put Tom Coughlin’s face on Andy Reid’s body, he’d look like a polar bear.
Did that make sense? Not exactly. But you laughed. Did you laugh?
Really, though. The Giants’ offense is averaging 5.6 yards per play. They’re fine, besides the 1900 sacks and 76 turnovers. The defense is fine, too, at 5.6 yards per play. If Eli doesn’t throw 19 interceptions again, the Giants should be fine.
But they should have been fine last week. Instead, they played one of the worst football games ever played.
I like the Giants here, because I think that if you throw out last week’s game, they’d be an easy pick here. 4.5 points is a lot. Kansas City is decent, but they’re not explosive nor are they excellent. It’s hard to throw out such an embarrassing game, but the point is, you should never let one game affect a bet significantly.
The Chiefs have been very meh on offense so far. I am worried about the Chiefs getting to Eli, though. They have an 11.72 sack percentage so far, which is very good.
Bets: Giants +4.5 (-110), $95 to win $86.36 AND ML (+195), $15 to win $29.25
Arizona Cardinals (+3) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are the new Jets. A solid team with such bad quarterbacking and management that they become one of the worst teams in the league.
I liked the Bucs going into the year, because of their defense, Doug Martin and their lovely receivers, Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. If only Greg Schiano and Josh Freeman were competent, they would be a good team. Both of them are incompetent. Mike Glennon is starting. I have heard zero positive words about Mike Glennon since he was drafted, besides the fact that he is very tall.
The line hasn’t yet moved since Glennon replaced Freeman (though I think it will like half a point), which shows you how little is thought of Freeman.
Still, ‘Zona looks decent so far (losing in New Orleans is irrelevant), and an aggressive defense against the debuting Glennon Statue spells doom. Honey Badger cares that the quarterback he is facing is likely to wet himself, especially because he looks four years old.
Bets: Cardinals +3 (-110), $95 to win $86.36 AND ML (+130), $15 to win $19.50
New York Jets (+3.5) over Tennessee Titans*
Oh, the Jets! The sweet Jets, the 2-1 Jets, the 3-0 against-the-spread, easy-covering Jets.
Really: It’s not a surprise that the most-mocked team in a long time was the most undervalued team in the NFL. The Jets are the perfect betting lesson; be aware of a team’s perception, and question it. Sometimes, it’s right. For example, if you asked most people how badly the Jaguars would get pooped upon by the Seahawks last week, they would have said, “worse than my toilet after an open bar at a Mexican restaurant.” And, indeed, that was what occurred at CenturyLink field. Free burritos and Coronas for everyone!
But the Jets were classified as that same open bar, yet it turns out they are merely a cheap all-you-can eat sushi place: they’re relatively poor quality when it comes to sushi, but they’re still sushi, and for that price, you’re full and don’t shit your pants. Until everybody catches on and they raise their prices.
Is the price still cheap on the Jets?
I think it is. They’re second in defensive DVOA, and Geno Smith has been almost-competent. If they can run the ball effectively, Smith may even elevate his play to competent, like last week. The Titans have been decent defending the run, but nothing special.
The main reason for this bet is: Jets defense vs. Jake Locker in a likely low-scoring game. I’ll gladly take 3.5 points in a game very likely to land on a 3-point win. I think the sushi is still a good deal, even though it smells a bit like Rex Ryan’s farts.
Bets: Jets +3.5 (-110), $80 to win $72.73 AND ML (+170), $30 to win $51
Philadelphia Eagles (+11) over Denver Broncos
Guess who’s first in the NFL in yards per play? It’s the Eagles. The Broncos are in second, just .1 yards behind.
The point is: I still believe in Chip “The Belly” Kelly. His offense hasn’t been “figured out.” His team is just playing sloppier than your alcoholic friend Joe. They *should* be 2-1. They probably *should* be 3-0, but they are very charitable with the footballs in their possession. They almost beat Kansas City, the same team receiving media blowjobs by every media-whore on the corner of Media St., despite losing the turnover battle 5-0. I’m still not sure how they lost to San Diego. They pooped on the Potato Skins.
The Broncos are excellent, but shouldn’t be favored by 11.
But, more importantly, we’re going to get a wonderful Eagles team total over of, like 24.5, which will probably be my biggest bet of the year. Check back here, or check me out on Twitter for an update.
(It’s 23.5. FIRE!)
Bets: Eagles +11 (-110), $200 to win $181.82, ML (+425), $40 to win $170… AND Eagles team total OVER 23.5 (-110), $550 to win $500
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2) over Minnesota Vikings*
The Steelers are not that bad. The Vikings are. The yards per play numbers are lopsided.
Bet: Steelers -2.5 (-110), $220 to win $200
Dallas Cowboys (-1) over San Diego Chargers*
I’m going to talk up my University of Southern
California Texas Cowjans Super Bowl pick until they implode, which will probably be soon, but still. They look solid.
The Chargers have been surprisingly un-awful on offense, but this defense is a joke. And the only person who can out-Romo Tony Romo is Philip Rivers.
Bet: Cowboys -1 (-120), $220 to win $200
New Orleans Saints (-6)* over Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill does not appear to be awful, contrary to my beliefs.
Still, I will take the Saints at home, at less than a touchdown, over any non-elite team. I liked them very much last week, and they won by very much. Trends are usually dumb, but I copy-pasted this not-dumb trend last week.
Saints are 17-5 ATS in their last 22 home games.
Make that 18-5 in their last 23.
(And hopefully make that 19-5 in their last 24, because I like money.)
Also, realize that a team like the Saints, especially when at home, is more likely than most teams to win by over a touchdown. They’re aggressive and score a lot of points and touchdowns, hence larger margins of victory.
Note: This line moved to -6.5. I still like it.
Bet: Saints -6 (-110), $220 to win $200
Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) over Houston Texans*
Again, I assume that 95% of casual fans are calling Chase right now and asking if it’s legal to withdraw $7.2 million from their bank account that contains 19 cents. (OK, fine, that was me, last year.)
When the line looks too good to be true, it is typically true, yet typically not “too good.” It is typically just right. Or bad. What is this?
The Seahawks are a great team, unquestionably. But being 2.5-point favorites over the Texans only makes sense if the Texans are bad. The Seahawks were 3-5 on the road last year. They haven’t yet proven they can beat good teams on the road.
But I’m not sure the Texans are a good team. I don’t understand them well enough to bet, but I would lean Seattle.
The under 41.5 seems attractive, but not enough value there.
Cleveland Browns* (+4.5) over Cincinnati Bengals
The Cleveland Browns against the Cincinnati Gingers. As I recently wrote, the Browns aren’t “tanking.” They are not good, but they are not tanking.
This is an ultimate “letdown” spot, going on the road against a seemingly-overmatched opponent after a huge win over Green Bay. I’m not comfortable taking the Browns here, since they might score 6 points on 12 total yards, but there’s no reason to take Cincy as 4.5-point road faves.
Atlanta Falcons* (-2) over New England Patriots
Watch a Patriots game, and you will see a bunch of receivers with amputated hands running around making their quarterback look like someone who should be named Tommy Sanchise. Their defense actually looks OK, though.
I’m staying away from the Pats until Gronk and Amendola are back and acclimated. I would lean Falcons, but Gronk might be coming back, and I’m not betting before I know. Maybe later.
Washington Potato Skins (-3) over Oakland Raiders*
The truth is, this line is kind of bullshit. The Potato Skins look like one of the worst (but tastiest!) teams in the league, and they should not be perceived as 6 points better than anyone, except maybe the Jaguars. Their defense has almost-unquestionably been the worst in the NFL.
Then again, are you really going to bet on the Raiders, getting just 3 points? I’m fairly sure Terrelle Pryor could switch places with Monta Ellis and the stats in both sports would stay constant.
When a shitstorm is in town, hide your wallet.
Detroit Lions* (-2) over Chicago Bears
I have no idea, man. Reggie Bush is back, if you were wondering.
BONUS LOTTO-TICKET PARLAYs:
49ers -3/Cowboys -1/Jets +3.5/Giants +4.5/Saints -6.5/Eagles +11 (+4283), $10 to win $428.32… AND Jets +4/Cowboys -2/Eagles TT O 23.5/Saints ML -280 (+805)…$10 to win $80.55
(Do not put lots of money on those bets. They are for giggles and/or skittles, only.)
Betting Record 16-18 (.471) (-$977.65)
Dart-throwing record: 21-26 (.447)