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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.

Now, the standings after Week 1:

Cray: $1,900
jaywrong: $1,900
mdig66: $1,090
Josh Carey: $1,061
Euroalien: $1,054
CarryYoTeamOnHisBackDoe: $1,033
DC4Life: $1,021
Edgecrusher: $1,018
Darth ripken: $990
Grant: $990
frankgrimes: $970 (Week 2 bets: Car -2.5 $110, Chi -5 $110, Jets +14 $110)
Aconstipatedmonkey: $966
goodfold2: $958
RambleOn: $957
Bonghuetz: $952 (see the note below about your score)
Zorboss: $938
Natural Born Champs: $930
sfbadger: $928
Heraldo: $900
CWebb: $900
CramYourCatcherQuestionUpYourCramHole: $900
Mr. April: $897
Phil: $850
TheTinDoor: $845
Comatose: $0 (first re-buy available)
Tehol Beddict: $0 (first re-buy available)

(Mean: $955.76 , Median: $957)

*Bonghuetz: Per the rules above, bets must be in increments of $10 (to make the math not insane for those of us keeping score). Your wagers were all at $25 (which I didn’t catch before the games). So I graded out your three losses at -$25 each, but gave you the full $27 for a win at a $30 bet. This made you $4.50 in fake money this time, but just a note to check your wagers for the future.

Keeping the full scoreboard this year, while a bit of a pain in the Chris Berman for me, does give us the opportunity to collect some metadata (no, real metadata, not NSA “metadata”) about how the group as a whole is performing. And wouldn’t you know, everyone collectively is just about 10% in the red? Why is that significant? Because we’ve set the rake at 10%, so while I’m not tracking everyone’s records on my own (THAT is far too much work), after one week it looks like we’re pretty much all at about 50% and the House is taking their cut. This, by the way, is exactly how sportsbooks make their money. On the plus side, our readers weren’t the only ones taking a bath this weekend (that link isn’t as bad as you think it is). We had four players “Bet the Farm,” and, as expected, two nearly doubled their money, while two others will be sitting at the bottom of the standings with the option to re-buy. We’ll have to see if jaywrong lives up to his promise to only bet on the Chargers, which served him well in Week 1. Of course, only one “regular” bettor outperformed me in Week 1, which is why I get paid the big bucks (read: nothing) to write this column. I’ll let Zorboss explain himself down below, though.

Still, all of you do deserve a lot of thanks from us here at Bet the Farm. We’ve already topped last year’s high-water marks for comments on a post, and I’m pretty sure we have more people playing in Week 1 than we did at all points during the season last year. That’s great to see and hopefully everybody keeps it up as the season goes on. I especially love seeing the posts fly in after the Sunday afternoon games and prior to Monday Night, taking advantage of earlier results to place new wagers. And major props to frankgrimes for trying to make my life easier by making $110 bets (which in actual gambling pays out to $100 even. Here it’s suppose to be $99, but if people want to make exactly $110 bets, I will absolutely give that extra dollar on a win for the effort. Is that cheating? Maybe, but as the man who makes the rules, I think I’m allowed to make one minor exception – which literally does not apply on any other bet amount).

Josh Carey’s Picks

Bankroll: $1,061 (+$61)
Record: 3-1-0 (Last week: 3-1-0)
Locks: 1-0-0 (Last week: 1-0-0)

(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)

“Oh my God,” Random Football Fan exclaimed, watching some part of NFL Week One unfold. “Did you just see that!?”

“No, what happened?” asked Another Random Football Fan, also watching NFL Week One.

Random Football Fan went on to describe, in exasperated tones, the incredible, mind-blowing, completely unforeseen event he just witnessed.

“That will surely impact my betting on games in Week Two!” Another Random Football Fan replied. And he is an idiot.

Yes, that conversation is obviously fictitious (maybe the names tipped you off), but it illustrates an important point. For seven months, all of the information we’ve collected to make wagers took place off the football field. This new, live-action data is exciting and new (yes, the redundancy in that sentence was intentional. And yes, this parenthetical is mostly an attempt to not have that edited away by the powers-that-be[editor's note - you got away with it this time!]). And it is human nature to wholly and completely overreact to it (in fact, this happens during every week of the NFL season, but never more so than in Week One). The fact that what we just watched represents 100% of the football season so far makes it very easy to forget that what we just saw was, in fact, only 5.88% of the actual NFL season. If the NFL season were an NFL game instead, we would be just about three minutes and thirty seconds into the first quarter. One need look no further than Monday Night’s Philadelphia-Washington game to see how misleading such a small sample can be. In that timeframe, Washington had returned a fumble for a 75 yard touchdown and held a 7-0 lead. However, the entire game ended up very differently once it had time to completely play out. The best example of this? Barring ties, at least five 1-0 teams will be 1-1 this time next week; and at least six 0-1 teams will also be 1-1. That’s 11 teams that will go from either “good” or “bad” to “mediocre” in one week, and the number may be even higher, depending on the outcome of games between teams that don’t have identical records after one week.

The point then is not to completely disregard the results we’ve seen so far. Some developments (the weakness of the Pittsburgh offensive line, the questions about the Giants running game, how bad Josh Freeman looks) are very much worth paying attention to (I also just ended a sentence with a preposition, but screw it, it’s staying that way). However, we want to filter the developments we’ve seen through the lens of what we were expecting at the beginning of the season. I had Kansas City pegged as a fringe Wild Card team, around 8-8 or so. Beating a Jaguars team that is probably 1-15 with Blaine Gabbart and 3-13 with Chad Henne fits the mold of such a team. Likewise, a Cowboys team I had at 10-6 or 9-7 holding off a 9-7 or 8-8 expected Giants team at home also seems about right. Looking at only last week’s results, we could make the case for the Chiefs being just as good as the Cowboys. But when we factor those results into our preseason expectations, we can come up with a case that continues to see Dallas surpassing the Chiefs. That’s information we can act on when we make wagers this week. It’s far less likely you’ll find a “good” line this week if you consider just last week’s results. But consider what you were thinking before, as well, and things start to open up a bit. With that, on to the picks.

$60 Dallas +3 at Kansas City (LOCK OF THE WEEK): This spread opened as a pick’em – a reasonable line considering that Dallas is actually better than the Chiefs, but on the road. But the public (read: fish), rapidly bet it up to Kansas City -3, suggesting the teams are actually equal. Folks, they aren’t. A good rule of thumb is to assume that most people betting on football games are idiots (Sorry, guys) and when they bet a line that far in 24 hours, they’re being lemmings who aren’t considering the full picture. I was expecting to make this wager as a pick’em; the fact I get 3 points made me increase my wager $20. I really made my case for this pick above, so bet this game and bet this game hard people.

$30 Miami +3 at Indianapolis: Last week I wrote that Indianapolis was going to be perpetually overrated this year because of their playoff appearance last season when they were really a 7-9 team. I’ve already got one notch in my belt from that one, but this is another game the public has bet up from a pick’em to three points that I am just thrilled about. Even if we accept the Raiders are a better team than the Browns (they are), the Dolphins 13 point road win is still more impressive than Indianapolis holding on to a 4 point edge at home. My read on these teams is that they are about equal, with a possible edge to the Dolphins (more complete squad, only real spot they lose to the Colts is at the quarterback position, which is not by much). So getting the points to erase home field advantage is just great. The only worry here is Mike Wallace‘s inability to shut up and accept a win leading to Ryan Tannenhill forcing him the ball the same way Tim Tebow is forcing himself to be a QB only. Neither will end well.

$30 New York Jets at New England OVER 43: Yes, the Thursday night games are notorious for low scores as teams recover from the short week. However, while I don’t have any specific data to back this assertion up, I suspect the Patriots have scored something like an average of 42 points or so in games with The Hoodie on the sideline after a result deemed “disappointing.” Let’s remember that the Jets really should have lost to the Bucs, still have no good players outside of Antonio Cromartie and will probably be thrilled to score ten points in this one. Yes, that means I’m saying the Patriots will score at least 34 points, and yes, I think they will (they scored at least 29 points twelve times during the season last year – including in both games against the Jets).

$20 San Diego at Philadelphia UNDER 55: Like I said above, there’s a lot of success to be had in being “contrarian” in betting and going against what the public has most recently seen. And, in Philadelphia, what they’ve most recently seen is “Holy Crap that Chip Kelly offense is insane and so high-tempo!” It is, and it is. But this is the NFL, and putting up 57-10 scores just isn’t going to happen like it did at Oregon. For all the talk of the tempo of Monday night’s game, it took a late comeback by Washington to secure a number over this line. And that’s if this is indeed the status quo for the Philadelphia offense. We don’t know yet if this success is sustainable or if opposing defenses will learn to scheme and gameplan against it. That uncertainty gets priced into the under on this one. Plus, you could always have one team just suck so horribly that you sort of get to the under by default. Be honest: you wouldn’t be surprised if that happened to either team in this one.

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.

Zorboss’ Picks

Bankroll: $938 (last week -$62)

Record: 1-3 (last week 1-3)

Locks: 0-1 (last week 0-1)

It was a rough start to the season for Zorboss, and rightfully so, as I put my trust in Josh “not to be confused with Carey but I thought throwing the ball was a free play in the NFL that’s why I’ve never bothered to practice any passing plays”Freeman and Ben “I thought I had ten Mississippi before anybody could tackle me” Roethlisberger.  At least I found a way to win in my local fantasy league… oh, wait, I lost in that match. Got through to week 2 in my office suicide pool… er, lost in that pool as well.  Found a way to win in the Razzball writer’s league with an historic performance by Peyton Manning… whew, that one is true, I did win! Finally, a good piece of cheese after all the mold.

$60 Philadelphia -7 (LOCK) vs. San Diego: Not all wins and losses are created equal. The Chargers blew their season/home opener to the Texans after being up by 21 points, which in turn feels like a double loss. Their reward is to travel all the way across the land of the free and the home of the brave, on a short week, to play the up-tempo and flashy Eagles. Eagles 34 Chargers 17.

$30 Miami +3 at Indianapolis: This bet is a tough one for me to make as I have an affinity towards the Colts. They are my squad. I root for them first and foremost, way ahead of my distant second fantasy squad. But,the best way to make a bet is with your brain and not brawn; that’s how the saying goes, right? Anywho, before I set myself spiraling into a mild depression, the Dolphins seem to be the better team after a quality week 1 win, while the Colts are still trying to figure out how they squeaked out a win against a perennial basement dweller. Dolphins 24 Colts 20.

$30 New Orleans -3 at Tampa Bay and $30 OVER 47: Four field goals and only three points scored in the fourth quarter in last week’s game vs. Atlanta. Chalk it up to a little bit of rust and a few injuries on the offensive side of the ball. You must be asking yourself ‘why is he betting on the Bucs to score some points, when, in his opening paragraph, he compares Josh Freeman to a bag of 5 cent beer cans’? Firstly, you should ask yourself what sound does a fox make, and second, we are getting seven less points from last week (which is a bargain for Saints games as only once last year, you guessed it on the road in Tampa, the line was set at under 50 at 49.5, and that game went over easy at 35-28). Surely the muscle hamster can cross the goal line at least twice in the maze that is Ray Jay stadium. Saints 31 Bucs 20.

$30 San Francisco +2.5 at Seattle:  I know these two teams are arch division rivals, I’m aware of the Seahawks home field advantage, but man I was really impressed with the Niners last week. The ability to run the ball and throw it will only cause confusion to every defense that attempts to slow them down. This may be the only time we see them as underdogs in a game, so jump on the gold rush right now before it’s too late and the sieves run dry. Niners 24 Seahawks 21.

Total Wagered: $180

Now it’s your turn! Give us your picks for Week One in the comments below. Also remember that you can access the most recent “Bet the Farm” post at any time by choosing “Wagering” under the “Contests” menu on the main navigation bar.

  1. Heraldo says:
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    Heraldo’s Picks
    Bankroll: $900 (last week -$100)
    Record: 0-2 (last week 0-2)
    Locks: 0-1 (last week 0-1)

    $110 – San Diego Chargers v. Philadelphia Eagles – OVER (LOCK)

    • @Heraldo: I’ll grade this bet at the O/U 55 I took on the game since this was such an early comment.

      • Heraldo says:
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        @Josh Carey: @Josh Carey: My bad. Forgot to include the actual line.

  2. CWebb says:
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    $50 Arizona (+1.5) over Detroit

    $100 Buffalo (+3.5) over Carolina (Lock)

  3. I don’t believe the Bengals are as good as Pittsburgh is bad. Give me the Steelers +7 for 550. 330 on whatever the UNDER is of that same game, because the Steelers offense blows and both teams have pretty good defenses, despite the injuries.

    100 on the Jets/Patriots OVER

    • Bankroll 1000 (this is my first week)

      • 330 on the PIT/CIN under = (LOCK)

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @James R: what if i was to tell you the number was 32? Just kidding it’s 41, but watch you lose. I’m also not sure enough about that last statement to take the over, so don’t bother pointing that out.

  4. TheTinDoor says:
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    Bankroll: $845
    LW: 1-3

    $50 – Detroit (pick)
    $50 – Miami +3
    $50 – NYGiants +4.5
    $50 – Jacksonville +6

  5. Aconstipatedmonkey says:
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    $50 DET-ARI: Over 48
    $50 SF-SEA: SF +2.5
    $50 STL-ATL: STL +6.5
    $50 SD-PHI: Under 55

  6. Natural Born Champs says:
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    NYJ@NE under 43(Caesars) – 200$

  7. Old York Giant says:
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    Late arrival. Hope it’s ok :)

    Falcons -6.5 $110
    Saints -3.5 $110
    Lions PK $110

    • Josh Carey

      Josh Carey says:
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      @Old York Giant: More than okay, encouraged! :)

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Josh Carey: not late as long as the game you’re betting on hasn’t started yet, right?

  8. For clarity, conformity, and formality… (you may erase my earlier post)

    $550 on PIT +7
    $330 on PIT/CIN UNDER 40.5
    $120 on NY/NE OVER 43

    • Oh yea, bankroll is 1000 (this is my first week) and the LOCK bet is PIT/CIN under

      • @James R: Appreciate the clarification, thanks for playing along!

  9. Matt H says:
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    First week as well:

    $110 on Indy -3
    $110 on San Fran +2.5
    $220 on Det/Ari over 48.5

  10. Bertchr22 says:
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    First week.

    Bankroll $1,000

    Car at Buf — Car -1.5 = $330
    Dal at KC — Dal +3 = $330
    SF at Sea — SF +3 = $220
    Pit at Cin — Pit + 7.5 = $110
    Mia at Ind — Ind -2.5 = $10

  11. Grant says:
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    Minnesota/Chicago Under 42 – $50
    Dallas +2.5 – $100
    Tennessee/Houston Under 43 – $100

  12. CramYourCatcherQuestionUpYourCramhole says:
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    $50 Saints -3
    $20 Ravens -6.5

  13. Joshua says:
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    First Week Playing
    Bankroll $1,000
    Bal @ Clv : Clv +7 =$110
    Hou @ Ten : Ten +10 =$110
    TB @ NO : NO -3 =$220
    Den @ NYG : Den -4.5 =$110

  14. Euroalien says:
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    For some reason my picks from last week didn’t make into the standings….. I believe my bankroll should be $1,054 after two winning $30 bets.

    This week …..

    Saints -3 $30
    Giants +4.5 $30

    • @Euroalien: You are correct, both that your bets didn’t make the standings, and in how they graded out. Sorry bout that. I’ll see if I can’t get that fixed…

      • Euroalien says:
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        @Josh Carey:

        Thanks for fixing this!

  15. Edgecrusher says:
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    All bets as of 2:30PM 9/13/13

    $70 Saints -3 (Bovada)
    $70 Lions PK (Sportsbetting.ag)
    $30 49ers +3 (Bovada)
    $30 Broncos -4.5 (Bovada)
    $70 Ravens -6.5 (Sportsbetting.ag)
    $30 Titans +10.5 (5dimes.eu)

    • I’m guessing you took the most favorable lines? That’s fair.

      • @James R: Expressly permitted in the rules, even!

  16. John Michals says:
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    $40 Dallas Cowboys +3
    $30 San Francisco +3
    $50 Denver -4.5
    $30 Cincinnati -7

  17. Furious says:
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    First Week: $1000 Bankroll

    $110 – Dolphins +3
    $110 – Giants +4.5
    $110 – Bengals Under 41
    $110 – Seattle -1 (5dimes.eu line)

  18. Bonghuetz says:
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    Sorry about the confusion…looks like 1 too many of my namesake before last week’s entry.

    $100 – Dallas +3
    $50 – Denver/NYG Over 54.5
    $50 – New Orleans -3
    $50 – Philly -7

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @Bonghuetz: you’d have to be doing something with a bong to get a sensical definition out of “huetz”.

  19. PoPo Gigio says:
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    First week. Bankroll $1000

    Cleveland Under 43.5 for $220
    Detroit Over 48 for $220
    Saints Over 47 for $220

  20. frankgrimes says:
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    If only my book was as generous…

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @frankgrimes: he’s seems to be getting .5 a point lower than his 2 over bets. His under bet is the line pretty much everywhere.

  21. mdig66 says:
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    Week 2 Picks

    $100 – GIANTS +4.5
    $100 – JAGS +6

  22. RambleOn says:
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    $110 Ravens -6.5
    $50 Texans -8.5
    $110 Rams +6.5

  23. Natural Born Champs says:
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    PHI -7 (Betonline) – 200$
    DEN@NYG under 55 (Betonline) – 200$

  24. goodfold2 says:
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    you really think the only part of IND’s offense that’s better than MIA’s is the QB, and even Luck and Tannehill are close? Luck is quite a bit better, as are the WR’s and TE’s on IND. Miller’s probably better than Bradshaw, but MIA’s offensive line is terrible. MIA’s def is probably a good bit better. anywho
    $958
    - GB vs WAS over 50 for $40
    - IND -1 (sportsbetting ag)for $20
    - CAR -2.5 (scoresandodds.com) for $20
    - STL +6.5 for $20

  25. Frank says:
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    First week for me, bankroll $1000
    Miami +3 $150 (lock)
    Seattle -3 $50
    Denver -4.5 $50

  26. Darth Ripken says:
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    Dolphins +3 at colts (30)
    Cowboys+3 at chiefs (30)
    Saints -3 at bucs (30)
    Lions -1 at cards (20)
    Broncos -4.5 at giants (30)
    Bears -6 vs Vikings (40)

  27. Cray says:
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    $100 Kc-3(-110 5d or pinny)

  28. PoPo Gigio says:
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    Add on for the Seahawks game Under 44 for $220 (Bovada)

  29. Phil says:
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    Forgot to make a Sunday play. So I’ll take Cin -6 for $30

Comments are closed.