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.
Josh Carey’s Picks:
Bankroll: $1,092 (+$31)
Record: 5-3-0 (Last week: 2-2-0)
Locks: 2-0-0 (Last week: 2-0-0)
(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)
Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. After whiffing on both the Philadelphia and New England total bets, Jason Garrett gave me a gift. With under four minutes to play, the Cowboys had 4th and ten in the Chiefs territory, down four points. The spread is Dallas +3. And, like many NFL coaches, Garrett decides to play to lose by less, rather than to win. Getting to say “Hey, we only lost to Kansas City by a point!” is a great way for an embattled coach to get another year on the job. So, out trots the field goal unit for a meaningless 3-pointer to make the score 17-16. Meaningless, unless you were betting on the spread. Every once in a while, variance cuts in your favor.
Not much in terms of strategy this week. Just that it’s important to remember that most people will continue to overreact to things they have just seen and make decisions based on far-too-small sample sizes. Very few 1-1 records are created the same and they should be viewed through the lens of who those records were earned against. If an average Team X played 16 games against the Broncos, you would expect them to end up about 2-14. If that same Team X play the Jaguars 16 times, you should expect them to go 14-2. Viewing that team based on its record, without context of how that record was earned would be a mistake and put you on a path of losing money. Always seek our more information, more analysis, and try to make the best decision possible – not just the popular one.
$40 San Diego +3 at Tennessee (LOCK OF THE WEEK): Remember the Chargers being terrible last year? As terrible as any non-packaged food item purchased from a gas station? Philip Rivers was a pretty big part of that, looking about as pedestrian as a “franchise” quarterback can. But a new coaching staff seems to have invigorated him. This is the same coach who turned Kyle Orton from an afterthought in Chicago into a top-ten NFL passer after arriving in Denver in 2009. Then he turned Brandon Lloyd into the top receiver in the league once he got his hands on him for a full NFL season. And when Orton floundered, he developed an offense on the fly for Tim Tebow in 2011. And then the whole Peyton Manning thing last year. So, is it really that hard to believe the Chargers might be closer to this year’s 31 points-per-game average than last year’s 25.8? And as much as I’ve gone on like a Senator controlling the chamber before the fillibuster rules got insanely dumb, this pick is almost as much about me thinking the Titans aren’t as good as their results have shown. Jake Locker? Chris Johnson? Things are so bad Kenny Britt wants to be traded to the Ravens. This does not seem like the sort of team that covers three points.
$30 Kansas City +3.5 at Philadelphia and $30 UNDER 51: I still firmly believe that fading the Philadelphia offense is the way to go, despite their ability to secure the over last week against San Diego. Scoring on Thursday Night games has historically been suppressed (I would have thought New England could help cover a measly number like 43, but I was wrong), so this might end up actually being the best chance to fade Chip Kelly’s squad all season. In Andy Reid and Alex Smith, we have a combination of coach and quarterback who have had success in the league, so their record with a team returning six Pro Bowlers from last season is not terribly surprising. Kansas City will want to slow down the tempo and play a more ball control-style of play. If they can succeed in doing so, they could not only keep the score low, but even come away with a win (or at least a close road loss).
$30 Indianapolis +10 at San Francisco: I’m aware that this pick is funnier than a first season episode of Community (with the exception of that one with the high school kids. That one is terrible.) since I’ve been railing against the Colts all season. And while Jeff Sagarin’s computer rankings agree with me that Indianapolis isn’t very good (he has the Colts 22nd in the league), but he also agrees this number is just too large. And no, this is not a reaction to the Trent Richardson trade, since he’s – 1) on pace for 840 yards this season and 2) probably not going to play much this week anyway. But, even though I accept the 49ers trashing at the hands of Seattle was a fluke, this line is still just too astronomical for the difference between these two teams.
$30 Baltimore +2.5 vs. Houston: I’ve long had a soft spot in my heart for home underdogs. And while in reverse-Grinch fashion that soft spot has actually gotten three sizes smaller over the years, it’s still hard for me to avoid a dog at home (Michael Vick had the same problem). I’m not willing to ding Baltimore too much for getting destroyed by the Broncos in Denver, since that’s a situation I’d expect to repeat itself more this season than somebody on Twitter getting mad about Breaking Bad spoilers. Houston’s defense is solid (Hi there Ed Reed!), but I’m not sure their offense is sufficiently more impressive than the Ravens’ to justify getting points on the road. When a game should be close, you take the points.
$30 Atlanta +3 at Miami: Yup, another case where I’m picking against a team I’ve been targeting the first two weeks. I’m flip-flopping more than John Kerry (or Mitt Romney, if you want me to be an equal-opportunity political satirist). But a major part of betting is being able to identify tasty lines whenever they pop up. So long as you keep pulling in cashy money, you get to contradict yourself as much as you want. The simple fact is that people have caught on that the Dolphins are pretty good. But, the Falcons are better. Factor in home field and this should be a pick’em, so I’m really surprised Atlanta is getting points here, even without Steven Jackson in the fold. Honestly, the Atlanta moneyline is probably a really good play here.
$30 New York Giants +1 at Carolina: Do I really need to convince anybody on this one? Is there anybody out there who honestly thinks Carolina is better than the Giants? Clearly some people, since this line exists, but I do not know who those people are.
$20 Jacksonville +19 at Seattle: Pretty much everything that could have gone right for Seattle last week, did. Pretty much everything that could go wrong for Jacksonville last week, did. There’s a reason nearly three touchdown spreads are so rare in the NFL: Because even the best NFL teams are not consistently three scores better than the worst teams. Every player in the league is too good. Yes, some of those players look terrible by comparison. But even the worst player in the NFL is one of the 2,000 best football players in the world. Considering the world now has seven billion people in it, the pool of NFL players represents just .0000028% of the world’s population. Suffice it to say, even the bad players are still pretty good in comparison to the rest of the human race. And even a collection of bad players like the Jaguars, hideous helmets and all, should be able to go into Seattle and only lose by 17.
Total wagered: $240
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 won’t forget this week, he promises.
Bankroll: $815 (last week -$123)
Record: 2-7 (last week 1-4)
Locks: 0-2 (last week 0-1)
$40 New York Giants +1 (LOCK) at Carolina: Tough start to the year for the Giants as they had to face their arch nemesis (Dallas) on the road to open the year and host a brother from the same mother (Peyton Manning) who produces touchdowns easier than the effort involved in a movie heist. This game starts a stretch in the schedule for the Giants that can easily lead them from a 0-2 start to a 5-3 record by November. If you are trying to acquire David Wilson, the time is now because he may vault up in value by Monday. I see the Giants taking the lead early, which suits their style of play and forces the Panthers to play an unsuccessful catch-up style. Giants 27 Panthers 20.
$40 Green Bay -3 at Cincinnati: In a year where we read stories about how legendary Peyton Manning is, the completeness of the Seahawks, the fleetness of the Eagles, the Patriot injury woes, and THE TRENT RICHARDSON TRADE, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have flown under the radar as we enter week 3. This team still puts the cream in the crop and it takes an almost flawless game to defeat them. Especially for AFC teams, who seldom see the Packers, they underestimate and are unprepared for the preciseness of their offense. The Packers only have seven regular season loses in the last three years and I’ll be shocked if they don’t reach the 11-12 win mark again in 2013. Packers 31 Bengals 21.
$30 Atlanta +3 at Miami: Another road team on the docket for Zorboss this week, but, again, I believe Atlanta is the better squad in the match-up and the plus three points becomes a bonus on the betting board. I know the Falcons lost Steven Jackson for a few weeks but they were never a run heavy offense and I don’t think the injury downgrades them too much moving forward. The Dolphins start the season with two wins, and impressive as that may seem, it’s time to step up in class and win a home game as the favourite against a quality team. I think they pick-up the ‘go back 3 spaces card’ and get a shot of reality come Sunday. I just flipped the coin and it came up talon. Trust me, it could have gotten a lot cornier in this mammaland. Falcons 24 Dolphins 17.
$20 Seattle -19 and $20 Denver -15: The two biggest spreads of the week and one of the biggest in recent memory. It feels almost impracticable that professional athletes who train and study the game for seemingly their entire lifespan can be so discombobulated on one end and so connected on the other. I guess Darwinism was really talking about football and not nature, as all genes are not created equal leading to the survival of the fittest – Charles Darwin, you’ve just been decoded! Now, I am aware of the historically poor performance large point spread favorites have had in the past (I have read some conflicting numbers but all have the underdog covering the majority of these monstrous lines), and a let-down game is surfacing on the horizon as both teams come off significantly soulful games. But I’d rather do the second stunt on Fear Factor than bet on the underdogs in these games. Doesn’t everyone have ‘bet on a 20-point favorite’ on their bucket list right behind ‘have a secret passage way in your house’ and just ahead of ‘become a master spy’? Well, if you don’t, then you are not living the list life. I know the Seattle line is minus 19 – and I will be playing it on here at minus 19 – but I bought the extra point to check off the second adventure on the previously mentioned bucket list items. And no, not mentioning either of the opposing teams or players in this paragraph constitutes being included on any list. Seahawks 34 Jaguars 0. Broncos 34 Raiders 10.
Total Wagered: $150