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 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 will two re-buys will be listed below those with one re-buy, and so on.
Last year, only one Razzball reader was able to beat Bet the Farm writer Josh Carey (Darth Ripken) – will that be you this year? Also competing against him will be fellow Razzball writer Zorboss, who also put up positive production last year. The bets you’ll see first in this column belong to the writer who has the higher bankroll at that point in time. Josh goes first this week based on his stronger performance last season.
Josh Carey’s Picks
(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)
Typically, this is the space where I’ll give some deep-seeded insight or commentary on gambling or football or life. There haven’t been any real games yet, so I’ll just give a quick rundown of my betting philosophy for those of you who weren’t here last year. I am half “numbers” gambler and half “feel” gambler. A bet really has to work in both my brain and my gut for me to think it’s a good bet. This column actually started out with three more bets than you see this week, but my brain and gut each got to veto one before they got into the ether (and two bets increased in wager as my brain and gut started agreeing even more on them). A huge part of what helps in this endeavour is being in touch with NFL news and information so that your “gut” is actually well-trained. That being said, I’m actually a bit of a conservative gambler and you won’t see me risking a huge percentage of my bankroll on any given week: last year there were spots were I only picked 2 or 3 games because they don’t pay me very much (at all) to write this and thus I’m more concerned with having a strong showing than filling up column inches. Thankfully, my ego is large enough that filling up space isn’t usually a problem. With that out of the way, on to the picks!
$50 Denver/Baltimore OVER 48.5 (and the Lock of the Week): Welcome to my first “big” bet of the year. Of course, I wouldn’t be laying my hard-earned (fake) money down on it unless it was a surer bet than Charlie Sheen going crazy again. When these two teams met in the playoffs last year, they combined for 70 points in regulation, also in the high altitude of Denver. When they met during the regular season in Baltimore, they combined for 51 points. In those games, Ray Lewis wasn’t retired and Ed Reed wasn’t a Texan. Now we add in a suspended Von Miller and injured Champ Bailey and wonder why the scoring would suddenly decrease when offensively we’ve only swapped out Anquan Boldin for Wes Welker. You’ll notice I didn’t mention Elvis Dumervil because he merely switched sides. The point is, it only looks more likely for a lot of points to be scored in this game than before.
$30 Oakland Raiders +10.5 at Indianapolis: Quick: Name the team you expect to take the furthest step back in 2013. I’ll consider answers of Minnesota because they have the karma hit coming for releasing the entertaining Chris Kluwe this offseason, but the real answer is Indianapolis. Their -30 point differential from last year is the stuff 7-9 teams are made of, not 11-5 playoff teams, so even “holding steady” would actually lead to being “four games worse.” This is a narrative you’re going to see pig-headed dumbass announcers like Chris Berman spouting all season long. “Why is Indianapolis doing so bad after making the playoffs last year!?” The answer is: they’re doing just as bad as they were last year, but the expectation of their win results from doing that poorly is evening out with a larger sample size. Teams facing a double digit pregame margin are historic losers against the spread anyways, but getting this spread against such a poor home team is excellent. And don’t give me any crap about Terrelle Pryor starting either. Take away an opening kickoff return for a touchdown from San Diego and Oakland wins his start against the Chargers in Week 17 outright last year. He’ll be fine.
$20 Green Bay Packers +4.5 at San Francisco: I think Green Bay is one of the most underrated teams heading into the season. Yes, their offensive line is best described as sieve-like, but that’s really more of a problem for Eddie Lacy than the talented Aaron Rodgers with all the offensive weapons at his disposal in the passing game. The thoughts of Colin Kaepernick running all over the Packers in last year’s playoffs are fresh in the minds of many, but Green Bay hasn’t been scrounging up former 49er backup quarterbacks for nothing (they’re up to two in the last week). Green Bay should have a handle on the attack they’re facing this time around and keep it at least within a field goal.
$10 Miami (PK) at Cleveland: Quick: Name the team you expect to make the most improvement in 2013. Okay, other than Kansas City, because they were terrible. And other than New Orleans, they didn’t have a head coach. Yes, now the correct answer is Miami, who should move from “almost .500” to “quite possibly a playoff team.” Ryan Tannenhill has shown some promise and the front office went and grabbed some playmakers to put around him. An increased role for Lamar Miller, plus the addition of Mike Wallace, should make this a formidable squad. Of course, Cleveland is probably going to continue to be bad anyways, so picking [Insert random NFL Team here] to beat them straight up is probably a good bet over the course of the season. You remember the “Factory of Sadness [NSFW]” video, right? That’s the Browns team we’re dealing with here. A Browns team that spends a first-round pick on a unproven player who might not even suit up for this game a year after spending a first round pick on a 28-year old rookie quarterback. Seriously, their second-year quarterback is older than I am. Home field advantage is worth three points, so you just have to believe Miami is a field goal better than Cleveland on the merits to think this is a good bet (hint: it is).
Total wagered: $110
Follow @josh_carey on Twitter for updated picks as the weekend approaches, and Josh’s full picks for every single game against the spread.
2012 – Bankroll: $1196 (+196), Record 43-34 (55.8%), Locks 9-6
There isn’t much in this world that I look forward to more than the start to the NFL season. Birthdays, holidays and Breaking Bad all take a back seat to the real fire created by road trips, fantasy and gambling. Walter Camp, Father of American Football, I thank you for the gift of the gridiron.
Even though Josh defeated me in our mini head-to-head match last year, I still managed to end up on the positive side of the pigskin. If you followed us last year then you know our record – recorded for those of you who are new to Razzball – speaks for itself and hopefully led most of you to a few extra bucks. Bucks I hope you used to upgrade your audio CD collection and video DVD compilation.
It’s time to put on your rain dance pants, get your reaper ready for harvest and send some sacrifices up to the gambling gods of mount footballus. We have $1000 magical dollars to romp with, but in my universe, magic is real and the only thing fake are the smoke, mirrors and New England Patriots.
$30 Tampa Bay -3 at New York Jets: Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and Jeff Cumberland. If we were playing a game of Where’s Waldo, and you found any of Waldo’s friends, from Wizard Whitebeard to Woof, they would all be able to muster up a better attack than the bunch of bums the Jets will trot out in 2013. Rex Ryan will have all the time in the world for his foot cakes when he is fired as coach of the Jets come 2014. Give me the talented Buccaneers to canon through the shipwreck that already is the New York Jets. Bucs 24 Jets 10.
$30 New Orleans vs. Atlanta Over 54 (Lock): They’re back! 9-6 on the over in 2012 and a record breaking 7042 yards against! The return of Sean Payton! While Payton will bring the offense back to a balanced attack in 2013, the hiring of old school defensive coach Rob Ryan will only add more confusion to the lacklustre talent on the defensive side. The only positive Ryan in this post is Matt, and he will no doubt help lead us to a flying start on the 2013 Saints over campaign. I’m so excited for another season of Saints overs! Saints 34 Falcons 31.
$20 Denver vs. Baltimore Over 48.5: Sign me up for a bet on the opening night game taking place in Denver. Side note: how do the Super Bowl champions open the season on the road due to a scheduling conflict with their cousin baseball team the Orioles who don’t even play in the same stadium?! Couldn’t they have an early game (4pm)/late game (8pm) party in Maryland? Why not push the Orioles into a lovely doubleheader the next day? Who doesn’t love a doubleheader?! Apparently birds don’t. Anyways, give me a replay of last year’s playoff showdown, full of mile long passes and stacks of green backs. Broncos 28 Ravens 27.
$20 Pittsburgh -7 vs. Tennessee: For the most part if you asked anyone around town, city for us bright-light and sky-scrapper folk, how the Steelers did last year, most would say they had a disappointing year. And if I asked those same voters about the defensive ranking of the steel squad last year, most would say average. The correct response would be above-above average, at the number 1 spot to be exact. Give me the number one defense, at home, with a healthy-ish quarterback to defeat the 2012 2013 Tennessee Titans. Steelers 24 Titans 6.
Total Wagered: $100
Now it’s your turn! Give us your picks for Week One in the comments below.