By Paul “Dr. Pauly” McGuire
With the future of the NBA season in jeopardy, the betting world has been focusing on the NFL and college basketball. Betting syndicates, casual NBA bettors, and action junkies have no choice but to dabble in the NFL. The current lock out in the NBA offers a rare opportunity to potentially take advantage of a line that’s been inflated by the ill-informed “public” that is just thirsty for action. The key is patience — you have to constantly shop for lines and wait for the right opportunities to arise before you pull the trigger.
A quick disclaimer… I’m not professional sports bettor or even a “tout”, which is kind of a dirty word that reminds by a used car salesman or someone going door-to-door selling bibles. But if you don’t have the time to do the research and you’re in Vegas without a clue what to bet on a given weekend, then you’ve come to the right place.
My picks or “suggestions” will come in four forms: Big Bet, Leans, Upset of the Week, and Wicked Chops Lock of the Week.
The Big Bet is obvious — it’s my biggest wager of the week and it’ll be feast or famine in my world. The Leans are exactly what it means — those are games/side I’m leaning towards betting. But let’s be honest, I’m an uber-degen, so I’m pretty much going to shop for a better line and if I can’t find one, I’m going to bet that game unless someone talks me out of it, or I find out Billy Walters bet the other way.
The Upset of the Week will have no scientific fact aside from the odd stat that there’s always at least one big upset every week in the NFL. It’s based on that theory that on “any given Sunday” the worst team in the league can beat one of the best teams. For the upset picks, I’ll be consulting a chicken in Chinatown that plays tic-tac-toe against tourists. The chicken is a sage.
Lastly, the Wicked Chops Lock of the Week is just a fancy name for gambling with Lil Chops College Fund. Good luck these days trying to save money for your kid’s college fund by getting swindled by those Ponzi Scheme shysters in the stock market. You’re better off conservatively cherry picking the best lines available every week at the sports book in order to build up a sizable bankroll to cover ever-rising tuition costs.
After getting that disclaimer and explanation out of the way, let’s get down to business…
Big Bet: Chicago -3.5
I’m surprised Da Bears are not a 6 point favorite after they dismantled the Detroit Lions last week. The Bears have been on a tear and 4-0 ATS (against the spread) in their last four games and 6-1 in their last seven games as a favorite. It’s tough to win in Chicago at Soldier’s Field and it’s even tougher to score there — the Bears’ defense gives up a shade under 21 points this season, but at home that number drops to 18. The Bears D picked off Detroit’s Matt Stafford four times in a 37-13 rout. Meanwhile, San Diego has been ensconced in a four-game losing streak, and they struggle on the road (only 1-3 this season). QB Phil Rivers isn’t helping things with only 13 TDs and an unimpressive 15 INTs. In road games, Rivers has only thrown 3 TDs, but more importantly, he turned the ball over 7 times. He’s thrown 8 picks in the last four games (all losses).
Leans: NY Jets -6, Buffalo +2
The NY Jets line opened up at -4.5 in some offshore books, but it’s already moved to 6. With public money pouring in on the Jets, the spread might move to 6.5 or 7. What can I say about Tim Tebow that hasn’t already been said. I’m still shocked he’s starting for the Broncos, which is rumored to be changing their name to the Denver Tebows at the end of the season. Denver’s running game is banged up because Willis McGahee has a bum hamstring and is listed as questionable. That means all focus is on Tebow as Denver’s primary offensive weapon. He only completed 2 out of 8 passing attempts in Week 10, so it looks like Revis Island is going to be vacant if he doesn’t have to worry about defending any big time WRs. The Jets’ up and down season continued after getting blown out against New England. Embarrassing home losses don’t sit well with head coach Rex Ryan, so you know he’s going to have Gang Green fired up despite a short week (Thursday night football game) and playing in the altitude of Colorado. If the Jets’ D can stop the running game and if Mark Sanchez can figure out how to get the ball to Plax, the Jets should win by double digits.
The Dolphins are a -1 favorite at home against the struggling Buffalo Bills, who dropped three out of the last four games including getting decimated by the Cowboys. Let’s face it, even though they’ve won two straight, the Dolphins are a horrendous team have the dead guy from Weekend At Bernie’s coaching the team. Based on that alone, you have to fade the “Fish” every week no matter who they play.
Wicked Chops Lock of the Week: Atlanta -6
Atlanta suffered a heart-breaking loss in OT against the Saints last weekend at the hands of a controversial 4th down call. Despite all the second-guessing of head coach Mike Smith, he’s looking to bounce back with a home game against Tennessee. QB Matt Ryan likes AFC defenses and he’s 4-0 in his last four games against AFC teams. Both teams have the same 5-4 record, but Atlanta looks much stronger on paper. The Falcons will win, but by how much? Depends on Chris Johnson. If he comes to play, then the Falcons will have their hands full. If not, then the Falcons coast to a win. My projections suggest an Atlanta victory of 23-13.
The Chinatown Chicken’s Upset of the Week: Carolina +7
Detroit is looking to regain some composure after a spanking by the Bears. They are hoping to bust out of their slump by beating up on Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. The chicken loves the Cam show, even though the rookie QB has yet to win a game on the road this year. After an auspicious start, Cam has cooled down a bit, but the chicken is predicting a monster game. Detroit might win the game in a squeaker, but Carolina getting +7 or more looks savory.
That’s it for now. Good luck this weekend!