“I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek Me?” Plenty of fantasy sports web services have expanded their scope of expertise from the fake games they’ve been writing about for years to the real one played on Sunday. Legalized gambling is spreading across the country, and advice is not hard to find. However, how many of these virtuosos allow you a glance behind their curtain?

I am no Oz. My gambling advice isn’t just to pick from behind a giant projection of my ugly face. Those picks arrive through an intricate power rankings system. Using the strength of schedule, offseason changes, offensive prowess, and historical data against the spread, I derive my odds and compare them to offered lines to find the best bets each week.

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Near and dear to my Emergency Department nurse heart are charities who care for the families of ill children. Perhaps no organization does this better than the Ronald McDonald House. Since 1974, RMH has provided a place to stay for the family members of hospitalized children across the globe. A total of 7,200 beds are available for those in need, saving over $700 million in hotel costs. This special nonprofit ensures parents safe places to rest, shower, and clean their clothes within proximity of their children’s medical center.

In 2014, then San Diego Chargers quarterback, Philip Rivers, partnered with Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego to raise funds for his local chapter. Rivers, who has his share and then some children (eight at last count), used his throwing arm to help a lot of families out. He used passing yards as a marker for charitable donations. At just under $25 per passing yard, Philip easily topped his donation goal of $100,000 as he passed for 4,286 yards. His on-field accomplishments are many, but what he did for those families carries much more meaning. Today’s Teasers and Pleasers wager article is brought to you by RMH and Philip Rivers. Enjoy!

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It’s 1934, prohibition is finally over, but the country is in the midst of the Great Depression. Of course, you are sitting at the local watering hole drowning your sorrows when a well-dressed man walks into the bar requesting a cold one. The bartender requires the man to pay upfront because of the economic times. He reveals a large wad of cash and the bartender questions, “Where did you get all that money?” The stranger proclaims he’s a professional gambler. Everyone in room disparages him, claiming even the best bets are 50/50.

The gambler does what gamblers do, he wagers with the patrons. “I’ll bet you $50 I can bite my right eye!” When the bet is taken, he pulls out his glass eye, pops it into his mouth, and shoves the fresh Ulysses S. Grant in his pocket. He proceeds, “Perhaps that was unfair, so I’ll bet you $50 I can bite my left eye?” Seeing him walk into the room, knowing he isn’t blind, the bartender obliges. The gambler pulls out his fake teeth, bites his left eye, snatches the cash, and heads to the back of the room to drink up.

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Lucky charms come in all shapes and sizes, but bugs bringing you good luck is just plain weird. Yes, I am talking about ladybugs. Do you realize there is no discernable history behind the ladybug’s lucky nature? Despite the lack of facts, many believe being a landing pad for these flying critters will serve you well as long as you don’t brush it off! Let her fly away and reap the reward.

The ladybug legend doesn’t stop at luck. It’s told that these feminine flyers can predict your future too! Well, now you have got my attention bugs. Tradition says if you count their spots, it will signal how many kids you’ll have (yikes) or possibly the number of lucky months ahead of you. We have got four months of betting ahead of us. Wherever that four-spotted ladybug lands, I hope it’s on my shoulder.

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Five Guys Burgers and Fries and is an American fast-food chain serving…well…hamburgers and fries. They were founded in Virginia by former 1982 NFL MVP (albeit strike-shortened), Mark Moseley, a placekicker for the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Oilers, Washington NFL Franchise, and Cleveland Browns. Moseley is one of just three non-offensive players in league history to capture the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award. He was one of those straight-on kickers you see in the old films, the last since Dirk Borgognone in 1995 to defy the instep kicking movement.

Mark Moseley earned his MVP by converting 20 of 21 attempts in the ’82 season, a seasonal accuracy record, however, it wasn’t all roses for Moseley. He bounced around the league in his first two seasons, eventually heading back to Texas to install septic systems while practicing his kicking trade with his wife. He worked hard, returned to the league, won that MVP, and is still the Washington NFL franchise leader in points. Not to mention, he nailed it with the burger joint after his career ended. I mean, buckets of peanuts while you wait is just as American vintage as that straight kick.

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Monrovia is the capital city of the African country Liberia. Today, it is home to just over 1 million citizens, making it the country’s most populous city. Liberia’s capital is rich with a compelling history. It was built by emancipated American slaves in the early 1800s and took its name from former United States President James Monroe. Monroe was a staunch supporter of sending freed slaves to Africa to live better lives than could be had in the Americas at that time.

This capital city is the birthplace of Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Sirleaf was the first woman elected in Africa as President of their country. She was given her award for being a leading advocate on women’s rights and safety. I could write thousands of words on Monrovia or Sirleaf and their place in history (another day). Today, I will be telling you all about the second most famous Monrovian, Washington “Awaiting a Name’s” sophomore wide receiver, Kelvin Harmon.

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The Sub-Saharan grasslands are native to an appropriately named predator, the boomslang. Boom meaning “tree” and slang defined as “snake,” naturally, this is a tree snake. Measuring anywhere from three to six feet in length, with their trademark gigantic pupils, they pose a considerable risk to researchers in the area as their venom is both slow-acting and lethal. Reports claim their attacks are amongst the least predictable of any animal too.

Yes, you clicked on RazzBall and not NatGeo. You see, the boomslang is more predictable than the Denver Broncos organization. Since 2014, the Mile High football club hasn’t entered a new season with the same head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators, and quarterback as the year prior. Chew on that, all you venomous reptiles of the jungle! So let’s predict how Denver will utilize their running backs in 2020.

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You want to win RazzBowll II. Well, the feeling is mutual. I competed in the original iteration last season and made it agonizingly close to achieving the dream. Sixth overall! Making it through the final cutline to the Championship Tier was a massive challenge that required hard work and luck alike. For me, the work began in the weeks leading up to the draft when I formulated a plan of attack.

Knowing the scoring and roster settings beforehand is the first step toward being successful. The RazzBowl used the following positions and scoring rubric: 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 2FLEX, and 11Bench, with 12 teams and a 1 point per reception (PPR) style. The twist was the “better ball” format, where your best lineup scores each week until the cutline rounds begin. With this knowledge, I was waiting to draft a quarterback until the middle rounds, since only one could be active each week. I was going to use the extra FLEX to ignore positions longer than I usually would and find as many players who caught passes as possible.

Ignoring positions allows you to expand the player pool to your advantage. It’s common for fantasy managers to “fill” their rosters either consciously or subconsciously. Those empty RB or WR spots naturally begin to carry more weight, and therefore, the drafter starts to narrow down players based on their needs. If your settings give you the leeway, take advantage and broaden your prospective selections without regard for where they fit the puzzle. Be the puzzle master, not mastered by the problem.

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