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Bet the Farm is Razzball’s weekly wagering column. Josh Carey and Zorboss compete against your picks in the comments. The rules?

– You start off with $1,000 (and can start playing along in the comments any time you want – even now)
– Every bet must be an increment of $10 up to your full bankroll ($1,000 or maybe more)
– You can bet on the over/under or spread for any NFL game (Yahoo Sports’ Odds page is a good place to pick your lines)
– Win, add $9 to your total for every $10 bet (you have to beat the rake). Lose, subtract $10. Push, keep it the same.
– Beat us over the entire season and win our admiration (Note: our admiration has a cash value of $0).

Josh Carey’s Picks

Bankroll: $1,442 (Last week: -$67)
Record: 43-33-1 (Last week: 2-4)
Locks: 10-5-1 (Last week: 0-1)

Sure, I went 2-4 last week, but let’s review: My two wins were the Ravens +2.5 (I win by 21.5 points) and Seattle +1 (I win by 30 points, for a total of 52.5 or +26.25 PPG). My losses? Oakland +9.5 (loss by 1.5), STL/TB over 44 (loss by 3), Philadelphia +6 (loss by one), and my one large loss, MIN/HOU over 45 (loss of 16, so -5.375 PPG). This is why it’s important, if you have a solid process, to not be results-oriented over a small sample size and accept that variance is a part of any gambling. Only if you see consistent losses over a long period of time should you reevaluate your system.

$120 Washington -3 vs. Dallas: On straight point differential, this spread is just about right. The Redskins are 2.5 points per game to the good, the Cowboys are just under negative one per game (there probably should have been at least one hyphen in there somewhere. I couldn’t figure out where, though, so I went with “none”). But that doesn’t account for home-field advantage, which obviously tips this a few points in Washington’s favor. Jeff Sagarin has it a bit closer, but still favoring the home team. None of this, however, accounts for Washington’s six-game winning streak and how inconsistent the Cowboys are. The reason I went so big on this game is the part of me that’s a “feel” gambler – Doesn’t Dallas just “feel” like an 8-8 team? No worries about the Redskins having clinched earlier in the day but the Cowboys needing a win, either. The 4 seed is good enough Shanahan should have his foot on the gas the entire game.

$50 Buffalo -3 vs. New York Jets: Mark Sanchez is back.

$30 Minnesota +3.5 vs. Green Bay: I love home underdogs more than I love Firefly, and this week I had a dream about meeting Joss Whedon and finding out Netflix ordered more episodes of the show, so I really love Firefly. Thankfully for us, Minnesota’s best chance for victory is to run Adrian Peterson into the ground and his pursuit of the single-season rushing record should give the Vikings an excuse to do just that. If the defense can stop the Packers at all, a three-point loss is very attainable.

$20 Baltimore at Cincinnati UNDER 41: Both of these teams having nothing to play for this week (like the Ravens being the 3 or 4 seed matters) and will be playing next week. I wouldn’t be surprised to see backups in the fourth quarter. Even earlier, I wouldn’t anticipate a whole lot of effort.

$20 each… Kansas City +16 at Denver, St. Louis +11 at Seattle, Arizona +16.5 at San Francisco: These are three road teams who stink, with nothing to play for, against three playoff teams with varying degrees of caring. My thought is I should hit on two of the three (probably the latter pair), turning a net profit. It’s very difficult to peg any team as a 17-point winner.

Total wagered: $280

Zorboss’ Picks

Bankroll:  $1206  (last week +$165)

Record:  41-32 (last week 3-1)

Locks:  8-6 (last week 0-0)

$50 Buffalo -3 vs. New York Jets:  The Jets are a bad, beat up, and broken team.  New York may have to hire Cellino and Barnes after this tilt because they are about to get assaulted.  Judge will throw out the case though, as the Jets will be held liable for fraud and the Bills will plead insanity.  Bills 31 Jets 17.

$50 Dallas +3 at Washington:  I bet on Washington last week and this week I’m betting against them.  Sure they have won six straight games in the NFL, including a game against these same Cowboys, but both teams are playing for their playoff lives and I’ll always take the points in a fairly equal matchup.  I’m hoping for some frigid and snowy weather Sunday to create a low scoring affair.  Give me Dallas in an overtime victory.  Cowboys 20 Redskins 17.

$50 New Orleans vs. Carolina Over 54 (Lock):  My New Orleans Saints (yes, 17 bets on them allows me to denote them as my own) came through for me last week when I needed them most.  A game sailing over the books for a grand annual total of 9-6.It has been an up and down year for me and my Saints, but one thing is certain, they are an angel to my bank account.  I’m confident enough to make them my lock of the week, as they will no doubt bring home the bacon one last time.  #iwillalwaysbeteverysaintsgameover.  Saints 41 Panthers 27.

$50 San Diego -4.5 vs. Oakland:  The only line I can find for this game is with my local underground bookie.  Wait, real bookies don’t exist anymore, just like dinosaurs, VCRs, and Matt Leinart’s quarterback ability.  Whatever this line is, whether it’s three or 30 points, I’m taking the Chargers all the way to the cheque cashing line.  This is the Raiders’ second straight road game, Matt Leinart might be at quarterback, and the Chargers will give it their all for a final victory for the soon-to-be-fired Norv Turner.  In the end, the winner of this game will be the loyal Super Chargers fans.  Chargers 31 Raiders 13.

Total Wagered:  $200

  1. Comatose says:
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    Sportsbook.ag has Chargers by ten.

    I’m curious how either of you feels about buying points. Is there ever a situation in which you do it? What’s the most you buy?

    Thanks for all the help this year. Cheers.

    • Josh Carey

      Josh Carey says:
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      @Comatose: Buying points is pretty silly, in my opinion. If you don’t like Team X at -4, but do like them at -3, what you’re really saying is “I like Team Y at +4, but not +3.” So why not just take the higher return and bet on Team Y with the full four points? In a real life gambling situation (not the standardized formula we use here for simplicity), what you get back for your bets is key. -110 is better than -120 and +105 is better than either. So I’ve never been a fan of voluntarily decreasing that rate (especially at the usually absurd level the books makes you drop down to buy points). Much of it goes back to my standard philosophy – I’d rather make no bet than a bad bet. I was *this close* to taking Indy +7 for this column this week, but everything I came up with gave me Hou -7 or -7.5. My gut feeling wasn’t strong enough to override the math (a very subjective thing, admittedly), so rather than bet Houston, I took it off my ledger. Which is what I’d pretty much always rather do than buy points.

      • Comatose says:
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        @Josh Carey: thanks, that’s pretty much the way I feel about it as well. I don’t have the mathematical wherewithal to calculate how much a point bought should be worth in terms of altering my payout, so I just stay away. Same reason I typically don’t touch parlays- it’s too tough for me to tell if I’m getting a good return so I just keep it simple and bet single games in increments of ten.

        That’s said, I took the Colts and 7 points this week. Hope it works out.

    • Zorboss

      Zorboss says:
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      @Comatose: For the record I will be laying the -10 points with the Chargers. The official line came out today but the only early line I found was at the LVH. Terrelle Pryor is at quarterback now…amazing.

      I agree with everything said about buying points. Buying points in the long run will burn your pockets with all the juice being added. It’s like an added tax for the sportsbooks, collecting higher than the usual 10% juice. I hate paying more tax.

  2. Andrew Nordmeier

    Andrew Nordmeier says:
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    I’d sink the whole $1000 on the 49ers over Arizona this week. I’m sure SF covers a 17-point spread at home when they have something to play for. And Arizona is starting Bobby Hoyer.

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      @Andrew Nordmeier: Check that, line is 16.5 but still same result.

  3. @PlayFrisbeer says:
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    $400 on Washington -3. I’d say Washington is a lock.

  4. Darth Ripken says:
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    bankroll 1859

    saints -4 vs panthers (80)
    vikings +3 vs packers (40)
    raiders +8 at chargers (40)
    seahawks -12 vs rams (80)
    colts +6 vs texans (40)
    giants -6.5 vs eagles (80)
    redskins -3 cowboys (40)

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