There are only a few rules for a sports gambler to live by. Never bet with your heart. Never put good money on a bad team. And perhaps the most important... Never bet more than you can afford to lose, even if it is a sure thing because other than death there are no sure things. These are tide and true rules, no matter the system. But gambling is all about taking risks. Bucking trends. Breaking rules.
Now a smart responsible better would have looked at a board like last week's and just bowed out. Shit game after shit game. To be truthful, none of the games spoke to me. I made foolish choices and got my ass kicked. Not too bad in the football pool, going 10-5. But against the number I was worthless. A pathetic 1-2. And what's worse... it was on dog teams getting points that I actually believed were actually worse than we all thought they were. I put good money on bad teams. And what's worse, I asked you to do the same.
But we go forward, shaking off last week's abomination. A new game brings new match ups for us to try and find an edge on and this week is no different. Against the number, we have some nice match ups... a little chalk to keep things even and a few nice plays for you to try and wrap your brain around.
Truthfully the troubles all come in the pool, as more divisional match ups are starting to pop up and tougher teams are starting to meet up.
Week Five Pool Winners
Browns @ Bills - Bills
Cowboys @Chiefs - Cowboys
Vikings @ St. Louis - Vikings
Raiders @ Giants - Giants
Buccaneers @ Eagles - Eagles
Steelers @ Lions - Steelers
Redskins @ Panthers - Redskins
Bengals @ Ravens - Ravens
Falcons @ 49ers - 49ers
Jaguars @ Seahawks - Jaguars
Texans @ Cardinals - Cardinals
Patriots @ Broncos - Broncos
Colts @ Titans - Titans
Jets @ Dolphins - Dolphins
Hootie Da Greek's Stone Cold Winners
I got my ass kicked in last week. Not because I picked poorly, but because I picked poorly and knew I was picking poorly and did it anyway (remember folks... I have actual money on the games I am telling you about. These are the actual games that I am living and dying by each and every week). But I got much better games this week and now that I have been humbled by the football gods, I am ready to start finding myself in their favor again.
Oakland Raiders (±38 ½) vs. New York Giants (- 15 ½)
There is no line the Raiders can be trusted with. The team is falling apart. The quarterback is worthless. Their star running back has been hobbled. Their coach is going to jail. And their owner is about five minutes away from the Here After. Week after week they are being victimized by the opposition, with no end to this death spiral in sight. And it is this very disaster that is heading into the Meadowlands to go against the New York Football Giants.
But this game is not so open and shut...
Eli Manning has a hurt foot and there is a chance that even if he can play, the team might give him the day off anyways. I mean, they are playing the Raiders. A high school team could hang fifty on them. But that does not mean we bet the line on it. 15 ½ is a lot of points to account for. With Eli in the game, it might be worth it. Make you sweat a bit, but the Giants beat the Bucs at home by 24 and blanked them to boot.
But should the Giants sit Eli for the game, opting to instead have David Carr (who is shitty but somewhat serviceable, especially with that stable of running backs taking the weight off him), then by pass the spread entirely and lay the lumber on the under 38 ½ points. The Giants should manage to keep the Raiders out of the end zone fairly easily, if not shut them out totally.
To recap: take the under on the 48 ½ and consider laying the 15 and a hook if Eli Manning is playing.
Cincinnati Bengals (+8 ½) vs. Baltimore Ravens
Trap game. This is the STIB setting a number to tease you into outthinking yourself. The Ravens may very well win this game. Straight up, I would take the Ravens, especially at home. But this is not a straight up bet, this is against a number. So you have to ask yourself if you believe that the Bengals, who have looked good as of late, are 8 ½ points worse than the Ravens... which they are not.
Smart play here is the Bengals and the points. 8 ½ is a tad bit too high. The Bengals have been aggressive on defense and have look like they may have found that offensive grove they seemed to be lacking last season (ahem, Carson Palmer). Do not let the book trick you into buying that Baltimore's offence is going to barn burn this game. Take the Bengals and take the 8 ½ points.
Minnesota Vikings (-10) vs. St Louis Rams
Just as they finish tallying the touchdowns from last weekend's debacle against the 49ers, the putrid Rams are facing off with the Minnesota Vikings. Not much to say on this one... this could have been a 20 point line and it would have still been a tempting consideration.
Take the Vikings laying the ten points and forget about it. There might not be such things as sure things, but there are such things as not a snowball' chance in Hell. No rational thinking football fan could give you a logical case where the Rams manage to win this game, let alone cover the ten points. To be truthful, it might be covered by half time.
Atlanta Falcons vs San Francisco 49ers (-2 ½)
I have no idea what it is about the 49ers this season. I just get this feeling about them and so far, my feeling has not missed. Can't ask you to take it, but personally I am going to take the Niners and lay the 2 ½. Just call it a hunch...
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+15) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (±43)
While I know that I should never bet with my heart, the 43 seems a little high. The Bucs are not going to score a bunch of points in this game and their defense is not as bad as it was against the Giants. Take the under on the 43 points.