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 two extra points. You only get one lock for the entire playoffs, so the maximum final point total is 18.
Got it? Good.We’ll even have a leaderboard with all the commenters playing along right here next week, but for now Zorboss and I will show you how it’s done first.
Bet the Farm Official Lines for the Wild Card Round
Houston -4.5 vs. Cincinnati. O/U: 43.
Green Bay -7.5 vs. Minnesota. O/U: 46.
Baltimore -6.5 vs. Indianapolis. O/U: 47.
Seattle -3 at Washington. O/U: 46.
Josh Carey’s Picks
Houston -4.5: Everybody is down on Houston because they’ve played like crap over the last month. It’s justified, too. They’ve played like crap, fine. But two of their three losses over that span were on the road and all four games were against playoff teams. It’s not like their last loss was at home to Dallas (yeah, we’re looking at you Cincinnati). Last year in this exact situation, Houston trounced the Bengals 31-10. That was with T.J. Yates at quarterback. I don’t think this one will be close, either.
Green Bay -7.5: “You’re crazy,” you’re saying to me, “the Vikings just beat the Packers in a game that had 71 total points scored! At least take the over if you’re not taking the points!” If only life were that simple. A change of venue will be a disaster for the Vikings this week, returning to the scene of their 23-14 loss to Green Bay earlier this season (note: only 37 total points). The computer says to take the Vikings, but that requires faith in 150 yards from Adrian Peterson and a competent effort again from Christian Ponder. You might get one, but not both, which means the Pack should roll.
Baltimore/Indianapolis UNDER 47: I hate the spread for this game. It’s too perfect. A little less, and I really like Baltimore. A little more and I really like the Colts. But just under a touchdown? I want no part of it. It feels like one of these teams will decide not to show up on Sunday, but I can’t really put my finger on which one I expect it to be. So instead, I’ll assume somebody will suck and just take the under.
Washington +3 (Playoff Lock): That’s right, I’m going and using my one single playoff lock to try and snag the extra two points right here at the start of the postseason. Looking ahead, I don’t anticipate getting another home underdog in the postseason, so I feel like this is my best chance to snag my favorite betting trend over the next month. Even though the computer says Seattle, the computer also only lists a uniform home field advantage for everybody, not the modified number the Seahawks need. Let’s rehash it for the newcomers. Seattle is 8-0 at home, but only 3-5 on the road. At home, they’ve scored 243 points and allowed just 95. But on the road, they’ve scored only 153 while allowing 150. The Redskins are on a similar winning streak, have a consistent home/road performance, and have a far more dynamic offense to offset the better Seattle defense. Even if the Redskins lose, it won’t be by more than a field goal.
Cincinatti +4.5: The Texans have played some awful football over the last few weeks of the season. The only win in the last month came against Indianapolis; that final score is deceiving, as the Colts would have been right there in the end if not for the punt block return for a touchdown and goal line fumble by Mewelde Moore. Arian Foster doesn’t look like himself (is he injured?), and the Texans defense has fallen off from their hot start. Over their last seven match ups, the defense has allowed an average of 26 points a game. Quietly, the Bengals finished sixth in total defense and third in total quarterback sacks. Going from a seemingly guaranteed bye week and the number one seed to no rest and a tough road to the Super Bowl, the Texans blew their chance for the chance at a ring. Bengals 28 Texans 24.
Green Bay -7.5: Lambeau Field is a different animal in the National Football League, and specifically in the playoffs. Even though the Vikings beat the Packers last week, they haven’t beat them in Green Bay since 2009. Adrian Peterson may have another monster game, but no way Christian Ponder comes close to outdueling Aaron Rodgers outdoors in the elements. Packers 34 Vikings 13.
Indianapolis +6.5: I’m a Colts fan so my bets on them will be biased. Biases aside, I like the Colts getting 6.5 points against an injured and out of sync Ravens team. I see a similar game plan to the Colts vs. Texans game in week 17: keep Foster/Rice in check and make Schaub/Flacco beat them down the field. Keep the pigskin safe and secure and the Colts can definitely not only cover this contest, but also win the game. Colts 27 Ravens 24.
Seattle -3: I know the Redskins ended the year on a seven game win streak, but let’s take a close look at these games: beat Philadelphia twice, which is nothing to get worked up about; beat the Browns without RG3, which is the perfect game for him to miss; beat New York and Baltimore, both at home in Washington, and both during the Giants and Ravens slumps; beat Dallas twice when the Cowboys were missing DeMarco Murray in the first tilt and Miles Austin along with Dez Bryant in the last match this past Sunday. Only one playoff team in the bunch during that streak and a total of four playoff teams on the schedule during the entire year; all four games were in Washington as well. This game is in Washington and although Seattle doesn’t travel well, the Seahawks have the total package in 2012 with a powerful offense, stingy defense, and secure special teams. Add in a banged up RG3 and give me Russell Wilson to out-duel all rookies on the field come Sunday. Seahawks 31 Redskins 21.
Josh Carey’s Regular Season Recap
Final Bankroll: $1,656 (Last week: +$214)
Final Record: 49-34-1 (58.3%, Last week: 6-1)
Locks: 11-5-1 (Last week: 1-0)
Well, that was a nice way to wrap up the season. Usually Week 17 is a minefield for me, but it’s always nice to come out of clean on the other side of said minefield. Of course, I want to congratulate Zorboss on a spirited competition until the end… right before I dance around him going “Neener neener I’m a better bettor than you!” Not really, though (yes really). So what did I learn this year? Well, first that after a 50-32-3 tally in 2011, maybe there’s something to this whole “betting on football for money” thing I do. That’s some consistency right there. My record in “locks” and relative bankroll strength compared to Zorboss’ similar record (just twisting that knife around) reinforces the importance of managing risk. I don’t think a single person who came in and said “I’m going to risk the full $1,000 every week” made it more than three weeks. So one lesson is to remain humble. No matter how good a lock you think you have, you’re really just looking at something that’s about 60%. I also got burned big any time I laid a ton of points (two touchdowns or more). It turns out the underdogs in those games are historically winners ATS, which is why I not only got away from those contests as the season progressed, but even bet three hoping to hit two in Week 17 (it worked, thanks to a late Arizona touchdown). Otherwise, I’ll keep preaching the value of home underdogs, going against the grain, and trying to find which teams are good before everybody else realizes (San Francisco last year, Seattle this year). Oh, and give Zorboss credit for betting every Saints game over. Another example of playing strategies for the long haul, since I think I was about 1-2 when I actually played the Saints over/under this season.
Zorboss’ Regular Season Recap
Bankroll: $1196 (last week -$10)
Record: 43-34 (55.8%, last week 2-2)
Locks: 9-6 (last week 1-0)
The New Orleans Saints’ defense allowed an NFL record 7,042 yards against, finishing 9-6 on the over bet for the 2012 season; still can’t believe they shutout Tampa Bay in week 15. I was on them the whole year, and I pat myself on the back for my prognosis on their infamous season from the beginning. Anyone who ends the season with more coin in their pocket than they started with is a winner, and I did end the year on the positive side of the fence. I started this paragraph on a good note, before I congratulate Josh for beating me almost as bad as Twitter thrashed Tony Romo. As Josh mentioned, my downfall and his uprising: money management and risk aversion. I had a tough time regulating my bets in 2012 and some of my big bets got the best of me. A 55.8% win rate vs. Josh’s 58.3% doesn’t seem like a large difference, but over the course of a full season, a percentage point here, one more victory there, and you’re buying bigger and badder gifts for Christmas. Time for some revenge and a rematch during the NFL playoff season.
As promised, our admiration goes to Darth Ripken, who not only has an awesome handle and played along for the entire year, but did in fact come out ahead of both of us. I have him at $1,839, despite a .500 Week 17 that saw him lose $20. That wasn’t enough of a drop for me to catch up to him, so he earns our eternal admiration (cash value of $0, as stated in the Official Rules). Everybody else who played along gets our eternal gratitude and hope you’ll come back for the playoffs. If not, we hope we made you a little money or we gave you some fun as the season progressed. Thanks for reading!