Bet the Farm is Razzball’s weekly wagering column. Josh Carey and Zorboss compete against your picks in the comments. The rules?
– You start off with $1,000 (and can start playing along in the comments any time you want – even now)
– Every bet must be an increment of $10 up to your full bankroll ($1,000 or maybe more)
– You can bet on the over/under or spread for any NFL game (Yahoo Sports’ Odds page is a good place to pick your lines)
– Win, add $9 to your total for every $10 bet (you have to beat the rake). Lose, subtract $10. Push, keep it the same.
– Beat us over the entire season and win our admiration (Note: our admiration has a cash value of $0).
Josh Carey’s Picks
Bankroll: $1,174 (Last week: +$72)
Record: 11-4-1 (Last week: 3-0-1)
Locks: 2-1-1 (Last week: 0-0-1)
That push on the Sunday night game last week is going to annoy me more than having the “All American Girls League” song from A League of Their Own stuck in my head (which has been the case for some damned reason all day. It’s not like I’ve even seen the movie recently, either). Now, for the rest of the year, I’m going to have to write that frustrating push into my records.
One of my keys to success though is being unafraid to not make bets. Sometimes it’s the bets you don’t make (and avoid losing money on) that are your real winners. So there are a lot of games this week that I’m frankly just far too scared too bet on. BUF-SF, HOU-NYJ, DEN-NE, CHI-JAX, WSH-ATL… there are a lot of them. In each, I can make a very convincing case for either side of the spread being a winner (what’s ironic is that, with the exception of the Broncos and Patriots, those games are the ones getting the most wagered on just one end of it. Since I’m saying they’re coin flips that means I’m essentially calling between 70 and 90 percent of the betting public dumber than, well, just about every character Jim Carrey has ever played in a movie. Nice). And with the exception of the Bears-Jaguars game, I feel those are probably the heaviest bet games of the weekend. A lot of the value in betting, I think, comes from the under-the-radar games people aren’t focused on. It’s much easier to find flaws in the system when people aren’t paying attention to them. That’s why you’ll see me attack some of the lesser-covered teams in this space. Part of going against the grain is going to the places no one else is (and no, I’m not talking about Iowa).
$40 San Diego +4 at New Orleans (LOCK OF THE WEEK): Seventy percent of bettors are taking New Orleans. Because… why? They were good last year and despite not having their top two choices to run the team just “can’t” go 0-5? Because Drew Brees is going to pass some (ultimately meaningless) touchdown record? The Saints are losing because they are giving up the most yards per game of any defense in the entire NFL. That’s not an accident – that’s them being a bad team. Yes, their offense can move the ball, but the Chargers are giving up just 316.5 yards per game themselves. What’s it all mean? No matter what the game’s tempo, at the very least San Diego should be right in it. Give me the points and take it to the bank.
$10 San Diego/New Orleans UNDER 54: Zorboss is going to have a heart attack when he sees this, but I think it’s time I make a stand. I finally jump on the #iwillbeteverysaintsgameover bandwagon last week and what happens? The Saints and Packers just barely push past the over. The over on this game comes down entirely to who controls the pace of the game. If the Chargers have their way even a little (and they should) or one team struggles to score against the other, the under is a very favorable play. As a general rule, when everyone thinks something is smart to do, that’s when you want to jump the other way. That way, they’re in the cold water under the bridge and you’re staring down laughing at them.
$30 Miami +3 at Cincinnati (LOCK OF THE WEEK – PART 2): Remember what I was saying about lesser-known games? With the Cardinals and Rams out of the way, this might be the single least exciting game left on the slate. Which makes it easy to miss that while the Bengals have outscored the Dolphins to the tune of a touchdown per game, Miami has actually outgained Cincinnati on offense. Since Miami has outperformed the Bengals in both points and yards allowed on defense, we have to slot them in as a slight favorite. On the road, that means more than three points (three is pretty standard home field advantage). So it’s pretty clear to me you’re getting points with this line and you should scoop it up like The One Ring (how awesome is The Hobbit movie going to be? I’m so psyched for that).
$20 Miami/Cincinnati UNDER 45: Now, just because I like the Dolphins to win doesn’t mean I expect a lot of points to be scored. We’re not talking as bad as the Thursday night game (thankfully), but these offenses could very easily struggle. I’m not going to sit here and try to convince you on this one though, because the two teams have combined to score 50.5 points per game and combined to allow 49.5 points per game. Sometimes your gut just says “this is the way to go.” If I’m wrong, feel free to blast my gut in the comments. But leave the rest of my internal organs alone.
$20 Indianapolis +7 vs. Green Bay: It’s time to get hip to the fact that maybe, just maybe, Green Bay isn’t all that good this year. Above average? Sure. Seven point road favorites over anybody? I’m not so sure. Even if you give them the win in Seattle, we’re talking about a team that barely squeaked by Seattle and (0-4) New Orleans, won by less than two touchdowns on a night when Jay Cutler looked worse than Bobby Boucher (that’s Adam Sandler’s character in The Waterboy, in case you were wondering), and got beat at home by a touchdown against San Francisco. Oh, and Indianapolis is coming off a bye week (a situation where about 58% of all teams and two-thirds of home underdogs have had some recent success). Home underdogs, boy, I don’t know.
Total wagered: $120
Bankroll: $1050 (last week + $20)
Record: 8-5 (last week 3-2)
Locks: 3-1 (last week 1-1)
$40 Atlanta at Washington Over 51.5: I made the mistake of backing the Bucs last week thinking they have improved on all sides of the ball from last year; better defense, better offense, and way better coach. My mistake? Trusting Josh Freeman. To Mr. Carey above, please don’t fall in love with this dude because you share the same namesake. He will burn your bond to the ground. I hate Josh Freeman, and yet he used his pathetic arm to almost come back to win this game. That’s a sign of a poor defense by Washington in any way you shake it. Give me Hotlanta to win this game by out-scoring RG3. Falcons 38 Redskins 28.
$100 Chicago -4.5 (Lock) at Jacksonville: This is my first big bet of the year. Let’s go through all the red flags being thrown out for this game. One, the Bears are coming off a big emotional victory over Dallas and now travel on the road during a short week against a lackluster opponent. Can this be a letdown spot? Possibly. Two, teams entering a bye week have gone 0-6 so far in the games prior to their week off. Point being, they look ahead to a week of rest, relaxation, and rum. If black hits six times in a row in roulette, are the odds greater for black to hit a seventh time? Nope. Three, why is this line only 4.5? The line is moving down from where it opened, while the bets favor Chicago at a 75% clip. These are all concerning factors. But you know what isn’t concerning? The Bears defense vs. The Jags inept offense. I have the Bears better in every possible category… even kicking. Bears 30 Jaguars 10.
$20 Kansas City +6 vs. Baltimore: After taking a road favorites above, it’s time I follow Josh’s home underdog approach. If the Browns can stay within one touchdown of the Ravens on the road, then the Chiefs can certainly continue this streak at home. Ravens 24 Chiefs 23.
$40 New Orleans vs. San Diego Over 54: You didn’t think I would leave you without a bet on my special Saints did you? Saints 3-1 on the over bet this year (I still don’t know how Jamal Charles rolls with 288 yards and the game doesn’t go over). Just like Mardi Gras, the Saints are the gift that keeps on giving… in monetary payments of course. #iwillbeteverysaintsgameover. Saints 38 Chargers 31.
Total Wagered: $200
So what are your picks this week?