Welcome to Bet the Farm, Razzball’s weekly NFL wagering contest. We’re back for our second season and ready to take you on over the course of 17 weeks of NFL play. For those new to the game, here are the rules:
- You start with $1,000 in contest money to make wagers with. You may join in any week.
- You can wager on the spread or Over/Under for any NFL game, so long as your pick is made by kickoff of that game. The Yahoo Sports Odds page is a good place to get betting lines: you may use the best line you find available when you make your post, but revisions to wagers are not allowed.
- Your wager must be in an increment of $10.
- You must beat the House: Therefore, you only receive 90% of your wager for a win ($9 on a $10 bet), but lose 100% of your wager on a loss.
- Your wager may be any amount between $10 and your full bankroll.
- New this year: If you lose your entire bankroll, you are allowed a re-buy for another $1,000. Unlimited re-buys are available.
- New this year: Bet the Farm staff will keep track of the full leaderboard for all participants. However, any player who has taken a re-buy will be listed below all players who have not taken a re-buy – even those with lower current balances. It’s always better to not lose all your money. Players with two re-buys will be listed below those with one re-buy, and so on.
Cray continues to push out to a commanding lead with another solid week of large wagers. Frank gets an asterisk next to his name because he’s the latest contestant to ignore the “every bet has to be a multiple of $10” rule up above (seriously – the math gets really, really hard if we don’t enforce that rule). So, like everybody else who messes up on that the first time, he gets the benefit of the doubt and sees his wins graded $5 higher than his bets actually were. And sitting there in fifth place? Why, that’s your noble narrator, who happens to be the only person to play all three weeks and secure a winning record each week. How about that! (How about me totally jinxing myself there, too?)
Josh Carey’s Picks
Bankroll: $1,120 (+$28)
Record: 9-6-1 (Last week: 4-3-1)
Locks: 2-0-1 (Last week: 0-0-1)
(Last year’s finish: $1,656; 49-34-1 [58.3%], 11-5-1 in locks. 2011 finish: 50-32-3 [58.8%] in top 5 picks each week)
I’m running right up against the deadline this week (I can practically see my editor pacing around nervously, wondering why there are no words in the document mere hours before publication), so we’re going to be a bit light on the strategy and the humor this week. You’ll have to endure without me making outdated puns about picks being crazier than Anna Benson this week.
I will say, however, that I kind of hate the lines this week. There’s nothing that stands out to be as particularly amazing. So, I did what I always do when my gut isn’t telling me much – I verified each of my picks against those smart computer people. They’re never wrong, right?
$50 Chicago +3 at Detroit (LOCK OF THE WEEK): It’s pretty nifty when the better team ends up on the road and gets some points to go with what you’d expect to be an outright win anyways. Say what you will about Jay Cutler (and you certainly can), there’s no reason to think he can’t continue to lead a successful offense if put in the right situation. The Lions secondary would seem to be such a situation. The Detroit game plan really has to involve getting pressure on Cutler and disrupting him in the pocket, otherwise Brandon Marshall should have a field day. You also might not think much of the Nate Burleson injury since he is, you know, Nate Burleson, but he actually was leading the Lions in receptions before getting knocked out for the season. Does Reggie Bush play? Does it matter? Take the moneyline on this one if you can.
$40 San Francisco at St. Louis UNDER 42: These Thursday Night games really do seem to have a way of being low-scoring, kind of boring affairs. Now you throw in a struggling 49ers offense, banged up defense, borderline incompetent St. Louis offense and you really have to start feeling like this one might be harder to watch than Duck Dynasty. The Rams were quite successful against the division champs last year, so a hard-nosed battle is very possible.
$40 San Diego +1 vs. Dallas: If the Chargers don’t allow an incredibly improbable comeback drive to the Titans last week (we’re talking levels of improbability equal to those of the Heart of Gold picking up Arthur Dent and Zaphod Beeblebrox here) this line is San Diego -3, rather than Dallas -1. Any time two minutes of poor football can nab you four points in value, you should probably take the points. I’m still unconvinced Dallas is going to be a team on an elite enough level to win a ton of games on the road this year, and this game should be an excellent test of that. Both of these teams have a “9-7ish” feel to them, and when that’s the case, I take the home team with the points.
$10 Miami at New Orleans UNDER 47.5: The Saints defense is not as bad as it has been. I’m finally going to put my money where my thoughts are on this one and start pushing the under on New Orleans totals. Plus, I get to fade Zorboss. I mean, have you seen that guy’s bankroll…?
Total wagered: $140
Follow @josh_carey on Twitter for updated picks as the weekend approaches, and Josh’s full picks for every single game against the spread. He actually did really well with those last week.
Bankroll: $741 (last week -$74)
Record: 4-10 (last week 2-3)
Locks: 0-3 (last week 0-1)
I must confess: I feel proud and confident that my locks are still moving towards a flawless winless record. Something about keeping a streak going gives me a sense of satisfaction. If I were to rate my level of joy, it would rank somewhere between opening the side sliding door to a minivan with the push of a button and grabbing a 32 oz cup of ice from Zaxby’s to chomp on. Whomever invented the ‘let’s offer a giant sized beverage cup with the bottom slender enough to still fit into a cup holder’ is a genius. Sorry in advance for all the driving analogies as I’ve decided to take a road trip to personally oversee the business operations of my bets and cut down on the business expense created by the last second beats I have encountered. I have hit the construction zone on the interstate during the first three weeks of the season, encountering many ‘Men at Work’ signs and speed limit laws, so here is hoping the last of the bulldozers and excavators are out of sight, leading to the open road and winning bets.
$60 Cincinnati -4 LOCK at Cleveland: Feels like it’s finally the year of the Bengal and Cincinnati, after years of hope and failure, have packed the wagon full, invested in GPS, and are headed for a division win. Maybe, just maybe, it will lead them to a playoff victory and advancement past the wildcard playoff stage for the first time in decades. They are defending well enough, running the ball weller and passing the pigskin wellest. The Browns are still in shock from the Trent Richardson trade and a surprising victory last week on the road in Minnesota. In a way, being on the road was best for the team, away from all the questions and tension, but now they are back home and must deal with a rabid dog pound. The Browns’ first priority isn’t the battle of Ohio but the battle with their fan base. Give me the husband driving with his wife to a weekend get-a-way upstate over the dad who is travelling across the country, dealing with the three kids in the back smacking each other and whining about the low battery signal on their iPad. Bengals 27 Browns 13.
$40 San Francisco -3 at St Louis: What happened to San Fran? The offense has stuttered, the defense has spurted, injuries, drugs, and some beef between players and coaches. So why am I taking them to bounce back this week? This is the first football stop on my road trip, and as a visitor as well while attending this game, I feel like we are driving buddies, taking turns leading and drafting down the highway. I think the Niners will revert back to the roots of their game, keeping it simple by running the ball a plenty, controlling the game from start to finish and heading back home with a boring but effective win. And if they don’t, I will meet them in the parking lot after the game. 49ers 24 Rams 13.
$40 New York Giants +4.5 at Kansas City: What is up with the Giants? They have played worse than the Jaguars and Raiders combined to start the season. Cost me twice already in bets this year and David Wilson is pulled over on the side of the road, broken down, trying to trouble shoot the problem. Flat tire,, no gas, or dead battery? Giving me no spark to my fantasy team, that’s what he is doing. I will be there in person to slap them with a third and final warning citation. The plus 4.5 points helps, and in the NFL, as we have already seen in past three weeks, we can expect the unexpected regularly. Kansas City, even with the long 10 days of rest, just came off their biggest game of the year, and like the Niners after a game versus Seattle, a letdown game is seemingly a good bet. Giants 24 Chiefs 23.
$40 New Orleans OVER 47.5 vs. Miami: I laid off the Saints over train last week as I lost confidence in the ability of their opponents to drop some points in the toll booth basin and contribute to the over. The Saints have had an ez-pass card for years and just need somebody to come along with a drive-by exact change tossing scenario to quickly slide through the toll barrier and hit the over. How can Jimmy Graham put up the numbers he puts up in the first three weeks and not once the over hits in a Saints game? Coming to town are a Dolphins team who has scored 27, 23 and 24 points the first three weeks. This game is on Monday night so I have no doubt that both teams, especially Miami, will look to showcase their talent on the open field. Saints 31 Dolphins 24.
Total Wagered: $180