So, it’s the playoffs. Which means things are all crazy and new in the NFL. So it only seems appropriate we make things all crazy and new here at Bet the Farm, too! How, you ask? With a brand spanking new playoff contest! How does it work? I’m glad you asked, because it’s a bit different than what we did during the regular season.
– Each week we’ll list the current point spread and total for each playoff game when this goes live. Those are the spreads/totals everybody will use for their picks that week, no matter when they pick (even if the spreads/totals change officially).
– You must make one wager on each playoff game. You can wager either the spread or total, but not both, for any single game. You must bet every single game during the postseason.
– You get one point for each Wild Card and Divisional Round game you guess correctly, two points for each correct Conference Championship Game, and four points for the Super Bowl. However, you will make each of these wagers the week of that specific game.
– Once during the playoffs, you may identify one game as your “lock.” If you get that game right, you get four extra points. You only get one lock for the entire playoffs, so the maximum final point total is 20.
Official Bet the Farm Wild Card Round Lines:
Indianapolis -2.5 vs. Kansas City. O/U: 46.5
Philadelphia -2.5 vs. New Orleans: O/U: 54
Cincinnati -7 vs. San Diego: O/U: 47
San Francisco -3 at Green Bay: O/U: 47.5
Josh Carey’s Picks
Indianapolis -2.5: I really do want to root for Kansas City in this one, and not just because I have $100 riding on the Colts not making the next five Super Bowls. I don’t see the Colts taking out either one of the top seeds on the road, so I’m not too worried about that wager. But in this game? I think you have to expect the Colts to take the win. Kansas City has imploded after their 9-0 start (you can do the math on their 11-5 finish, which is the worst record a 9-0 team has ever finished with). I’m no longer able to explain it away as “Hey, they lost two of those games to Denver!” One of those losses came at the hands of this very Colts team. 23-7. In Arrowhead. I hope I’m wrong, but it’s hard to come up with a case for the Chiefs here.
New Orleans +2.5: A lot has been made of New Orleans’ 3-5 record on the road this season, and memories of an 11-5 Saints team losing to a 7-9 Seahawks team in the wild card round of the playoffs are fresh in our minds. So I certainly understand this spread. But that doesn’t mean I agree with it. Yes, road losses to the Rams and Jets look back (though the Jets were remarkably resilient at home themselves), but I’m not willing to deduct too many points for losing at Carolina, New England and Seattle (two of which were close games). The end result is that even if the Saints lose, I expect them to keep it close enough to cover a small spread.
Cincinnati/San Diego OVER 47: What do you do when you think the spread for a game is too good? Bet the total, of course! The Bengals are not only 8-0 at home this season, but 8-0 against the spread, as well. That’s as unlikely as Charlie Brown actually kicking the football. And yet, here we are. How will San Diego respond to frigid temperatures? Is that response worse with Ryan Matthews hobbled? I have no idea, so I’m avoiding the spread like women avoid me in nightclubs. I see two options for this game. Either Cincinnati runs away with it, at which point a garbage time score or two should hit the over, or it’s a nail-biter to the end. I’d expect the latter to be higher-scoring rather than lower, so I see the over as the safest bet on this game.
Green Bay +3: The math says I’m insane for this pick and the 49ers should roll by over a touchdown. Of course, that’s mostly taking into consideration the Packers poor results while Aaron Rodgers was out. To wit, Green Bay scored 30.6 points per game when Rodgers was healthy and only 21.5 points per game while he was injured (including the Bears game where he first suffered the injury). The defense, left to field for itself, allowed just over a field goal more per game while Mr. Discount Double Check was talking to his doctors about insurance policies. This game is actually a rematch of a week 1 contest in Candlestick that the 49ers won by six points. If you assume all things are equal and just adjust for the change in venue, the Packers losing by no more than a field goal seems appropriate.
Indianapolis -2.5: Just like a computer, I have no feelings for this game. Just like Carmen Sandiego, I have a sneaky suspicion that the Chiefs have been playing possum the last two weeks. Just as if I was a reader, I’m going to stop reading after one more ‘just like’. I feel like most of the bets will come down on Kansas City so I will stick with Indianapolis on the betting card. Plus, as a Colts fan, I have an obligation to purchase a ticket, catch the first flight to Indianapolis, book the hotel with the highest ratio of down-filled pillows, get the TV blackout lifted and in the end, cover the cost of the trip with this bet. Razzball, please block my girlfriend’s IP address so she can’t read this post. Thanks. Colts 23 Chiefs 16.
New Orleans +2.5: Many of the flying elbows and leg drops I received from lost bets this season were due to betting the Saints on the road. Why am I taking them on another travel game? Well, they owe me for starters. The plus points also add a nice little incentive to back Bourbon Street. Even though Philadelphia has received an abundant amount of praise after a stellar 2013 season, let’s take a closer look at the quarterbacks they have faced the last two months when they went 7-1 to become division champs: Kyle Orton – raise your hand if you knew he was still in the NFL; Jay Cutler – fresh off a six week injury; Matt Cassel – torched them for 48 points; Mathew Stafford – remember the snowstorm game; Carson Palmer – meh; RG3 – anybody with RG3 make the fantasy playoffs; Scott Tolzien – no comment; Pryor/McGloin – impotent duo. That’s not even counting two games against Eli ‘Turnover’ Manning. Philadelphia had a
lucky good run during the regular season but now they face the big boys, Drew Brees and company will show them what the playoffs is all about with a few powerbombs and piledrivers. Saints 27 Eagles 20.
Cincinnati -7: Something about the Chargers almost losing at home to a team made up of essentially back-ups doesn’t get my needle moving in their direction. If the score had nothing to do with winning or losing, and I was the sole proprietor in deciding a victor, San Diegans would be travelling back from Tijuana this Sunday instead of playing against a bunch of Cincinnatians. The game will also be played at 10am west coast time, which is better suited for some TV watching than playing on TV. The Bengals are also a surprising 8-0 at home this year. Just like in roulette, I love betting on streaks to continue so I will place my bet on orange! Wait, Cincinnati hasn’t won a playoff game since 1990? Can I change my bet to powder blue? The dealer has waived the “no more bets” sign at me and I don’t want to rewrite this paragraph. Jeff Triplette is reffing this game?! Please don’t land on green zero. Bengals 27 Chargers 17.
San Francisco -3: Even though Green Bay’s offense will no doubt be much improved with the return of Aaron Rodgers come Sunday, there is one thing that won’t be: the Packers’ defense. 28, 38, 36, 21, 40, 26, 27, 27, 27, 31, 13, 17, 9, 34, 20, and 34 points allowed in every game this season. I could have easily said an average of 26 points against, but that wouldn’t have given you the full scope of the problem. And you know what they say about playoff time? “Pain is only temporary, but victory is forever!” No, no, wrong adage. “Defense wins championships.” Yes, that one. This bet is all about the numerals so we wager on the 49ers to number on. 49ers 31 Packers 21.
Final Regular season standings:
Can’t see the spreadsheet? Click here.
2013 Bet the Farm Champion: Cray
So what does this spreadsheet tell us about the final standings this year? First off, that Cray is freaking badass. Seriously dude, you owned from Day 1 and cruised to this title. You’ve got an open invitation to jump up to this fancy “write about your picks” space next year if you want it (Hey, Sky, I’m allowed to do that, right?). The top of the list is littered with players that made huge wagers in at least one week (Cwebb ‘bet the farm’ in Week 17 to jump up to second), but, incidentally, the bottom of the list is filled with names that tried the same strategy. Is there anything separating the two besides blind luck? Will we ever know? Last year’s winner, Darth ripken, joined me in having a slightly down season. He rebounded nicely from a rough start, but I still have exacted my revenge for his being the only person to best me in 2012. And no, I will not be getting over that any time soon.
Josh Carey’s Final Totals:
Bankroll: $1,236 (Last week: -$54)
Record 47-39-2, 54.5% (Last week: 1-2-0)
Locks: 7-5-1, 57.7% (Last week: 0-0-0)
Well, this was a down year for me compared to last year, thanks to a string of losing weeks in the middle of the season where I struggled to figure out what the heck was going on in the NFL this year. My solution was to rely increasingly on the numbers I look at and use my “feel” to support that system, rather than the other way around. Of course, when there’s such a small sample early in the season, you’re kind of forced to do it the other way, since the numbers are unreliable. So the lesson learned is to make that transition earlier, I suppose. Then I might have actually been on the Cardinals as a decent team. And not to discount the impact of major injuries. I lost a bunch of (fake) money betting on the Packers post-Aaron Rodgers injury. Even now that just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But still, it’s a positive result, a winning percentage high enough to beat the rake, and that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Besides, it’s not like I did as bad a Zorboss…
Zorboss’ Final Totals
Bankroll: $44 (last week -$32)
Record: 28-46-4 (last week 1-3-0)
Locks: 3-9 (last week 0-0)
I know most of you reading this weekly column came to the natural conclusion that I lost all my money gambling, leading to my inability to pay my electricity bill, and subsequently leaving me without power for the holidays as punishment for spending my money on ancillaries and not the essentials. Close. It was because of the Toronto ice storm but I couldn’t afford batteries and blankets. Like the “Danger – Falling Ice” signs located around town, my picks were just as treacherous. This gambling season was easily my worst as an amateur professional bettor. There is a lot more parity to the NFL than I realized and every year is truly a new year for all teams. The best teams to bet on against the spread were from the NFC West as Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona combined for a record of 33-15. I tend to stay away from Over/Under bets as they seem to be too unpredictable; who would have guessed – before or after the season – that Minnesota and Buffalo were top 5 over teams? Anyways, as with all good ice storms and bad gambling seasons, the chance to thaw out or bounce back is just around corner. Playoffs and warmer temperatures here I come! Before I go, I’d also like to thank New Years for the chance to misremember the past with the help of a few alky refreshments.