Welcome to the Thirty Team Parlay, a weekly column on Football Absurdity that focuses on NFL betting tips. We’ll bring you the best bets, biggest longshots, and try to make some damn money.
“NFL betting tips are a lot like women. Make your decision based on your brain, not your balls.” I got this piece of advice 8 years ago after losing a huge bet I’d made on the Chicago Bears, my favorite team. They were playing Tom Brady and the Patriots. At the time, the Bears were 9-3, and I thought that, with Jay Cutler, they were Super Bowl contenders. For the life of me, I don’t remember what the spread was, only that I put a significant amount of money on the Bears to cover because the Bears were my team.
The Patriots won 36-7 that day. Deion Branch went for roughly 800 yards and a touchdown. I lost my money, and, lamenting my loss later in the evening, I received that advice from a gambling buddy of mine. I stewed on that advice, but eventually was able to take that concept and turn it on its head in the form of NFL betting tips. A year later, I started taking bets on football from other people. I started targeting people who liked certain teams to an irrational level. One guy LOVED the Cowboys. The Cowboys covered the spread something like 5 times in 2011. Another guy was a huge Vikings fan. The Vikings covered the spread 5 times. Each time, I took the win in 11 weeks.
The most important of all my NFL betting tips is to find an inequality and take advantage of it.
Life has gotten in the way over the preceding years, and I haven’t been able to use my NFL betting tips as much as I would like. It doesn’t make nearly as much sense to fly to Vegas on a whim when you have a mortgage. But, I can still make the bets, in earnest, and make money. I don’t always. I have good seasons and bad seasons. The key, though, is to find the obvious inefficiency and don’t overthink it. And for the love of god, don’t bet on the Bears.
2017 Win Total: 5
2018 Under/Over: 6.5
So let’s just get this one out of the way first. People are craning their necks and straining for ways to fit the Bears into the mold of the surprise team of 2018, much as the Rams were last season. The parallels are there: New coach. Second-year quarterback. Running back who had a huge first season and seemed to regress a bit in the second year. Improving defense. Restocked wide receiving corps.
It’s easy to buy into the hype, but you know who isn’t buying into the hype? Las Vegas. Vegas is still holding the Bears under/over down this season. The biggest reason? Mitch Trubisky. Or more specifically, former bears OC Dowell Loggins, the last surviving member of the lollipop guild. Loggins and formerly-alive-human-being-and-current-statue John Fox played such a regressive offense that if you didn’t know any better, you would think that the Bears were trying to lose. Remember the time that the Bears won a game last season against Carolina when Trubisky threw 7 passes? Not seven passes in a series. Not 7 passes in a quarter. Not seven passes in a half. Seven. In. A. Game. And they won. This doesn’t say much about the Bears, and it definitely doesn’t say anything about Loggins, but it REALLY doesn’t say anything about the Carolina Panthers. That team is perpetual garbage waiting to happen.
The Bears went on, as they tend to do every couple years, on a free agent spending spree. They paid a third-string tight end Gronk money. They gave Allen Robinson a bunch of money to try to come back from a torn ACL on their team.
In spite of a coaching change, the Bears kept their defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio. The last time they did this was when they kept Buddy Ryan on as d-coordinator despite bringing in Mike Ditka. You know how I know this? Because every damn Bears fan over the age of 50, who speaks wistfully of the Ditka era as if they were a dynasty while mashing Lou Malnati’s into their fat mustache and espousing their brand loyalty to giardiniera while watching grainy VHS footage of Super Bowl XX and slowly dying as his right pulmonary artery becomes blocked by a “swallowed whole” italian sausage, will tell you that was the reason that the Bears were great in the 80’s.
I’m absolutely terrified of this team. Because I want to believe. I really, really want to believe. This team isn’t a playoff contender. They are too young with too many holes along the lines. They let their first-round draft pick hold out for a month over language in a contract that would allow them the ability to cut their first round pick, thus perhaps admitting it was a bad decision to draft him in the first place? Their coach is about as inexperienced as you are gonna find in terms of play calling. Their best receiver is coming off an ACL tear. You can’t think with your heart…
2018 Strength of Schedule: 8th
My NFL Betting Tips Prediction: Over
That said, there is enough good about this team to think that they can absolutely win 7 games this season. They have one of the five best defensive back units in the NFL. They have one of the best running back duos in the NFL. They are going to stay in games just enough that Mitch Trubisky might be able to bring them victories. And here is the thing: They have a very clear path to being 5-2 after the first seven. They have two guaranteed losses in there in the Packers and Patriots. BUT the other five games are against the Seahawks(bad), Cardinals(BAD), Bucaneers(BADDD), Dolphins(BAAAADDDDDDD), and Jets(GIVE ME ALL THE BADDDDDDDDDDD!!!).
If they go 4-1 in those game, that puts them at 4-3 with nine games remaining, and only have to go 3-6 the rest of the way to hit their number. They have the Bills, Giants, and Lions twice in that time. Fuck me running, I’ll take the over.
2017 Win Total: 9
2018 Under/Over: 8
Ya know, I really don’t hate Detroit as a city. It seems nice. Good food. Seems to be an improving infrastructure. I’m really trying to be nice here.
Okay, now I’m done being nice. Matt Stafford is an apple cheeked goon who will have 4 great games, 8 mediocre games, and 4 games that make you want to kick every newborn baby into Canada. This is a team that truly never got over Barry Sanders, and that much is obvious by the procession of shit-ass dime store running backs they march out every year to get murdered by their revolving door of an offensive line. Shawn Bryson, Kevin Jones, Artose Pinner, Andre Charles, Kevin Smith, Jahvid Best, Chester Greenburg, Mikael Lashoure, That list is so depressing that you didn’t even notice that I added Andre Charles, better known as Rupaul, and Chester Greenburg, Sean William Scott’s character in Dude, Where’s My Car to the list.
On defense, Darrius Slay is still out there whiffing on tackles as he desperately tries to get himself suspended by exclusively tacking with the crown of his helmet.
The team brought in Matt Cassel to be the backup quarterback(lol). They also brought in LeGarrette Blount to score four touchdowns one week then disa-fucking-pear for a couple months. He always averages two-and-a-half yards a carry, but every announcer will make you think it’s the grittiest, most hard-nosed two-and-a-half yards you will ever see. The team finally let Eric Ebron go drop touchdown passes for another team, which I suppose is something.
Coaching wise, the Lions brought in the Patriots coordinator who they didn’t care about retaining, so congrats on that.
2018 Strength of Schedule: 2nd!
My NFL Betting Tips Prediction: Under
Can anyone willingly and unbiasedly look at this team and find something to be excited about? They are tapioca pudding. Just good enough to stay in the buffet line, but bad enough that nobody is going to touch it unless they drunkenly mistake it for mayonnaise. The wide receiving corps is an injury to Golden Tate or Marvin Jones from being a fucking disaster. Matt Stafford is a known entity at this point. It’s not like he’s going to magically discover another gear in what feels like year 23 in Detroit. Their offensive coordinator is still the spectacularly named Jim Bob Cooter. Their schedule doesn’t align well, either. After what SHOULD be a victory over the Jets to start the season, they have, in order, the 49ers, Patriots, Cowboys, and Packers. This could very well be a 1-4 team going into their bye week. This doesn’t look or feel like a team that can go 8-3 after the bye week.
Green Bay Packers
2017 Win Total: 7
2018 Under/Over: 10
You know who I miss? Don Majkowski. Just a full-on mediocre quarterback wearing a Packers uniform. In 1992, Brett Favre started 15 games and started a run of Hall of Fame quarterbacks helming the most important position in the sport. That was 26 years ago. Wings was still on TV. Justin Beiber wasn’t born yet. Cartoon Network was just launching as a television station. As many as 5 starting quarterbacks were drafted in the 2018 draft that were not born yet.
26 years is an incredible run. And as a Bears fan, I’m fucking sick of it. Why can’t they just up and suck for a bit?
Go 6-10 for a couple years. That’s all I ask. Quit being a goddamn model of consistency. If it wasn’t for the fact that Aaron Rodgers constantly breaks and they are coached by a goober who looks and operates like the dumber offspring of Andy Reid, they would be a near-lock to be in the NFC championship game every year.
Ok, done being nice about this team. Wisconsin can eat its own rotund ass. It’s Mississippi with more cheese and winter. It’s got all the crazy of Florida, but replace alligators with gone toting Mark Chmura apologists. Leinenkugel hasn’t mattered since craft beer exploded. Everyone likes to talk up Green Bay as a small wholesome town with fine people who love the team, but in reality the neighborhood is getting bought and turned into one massive complex. Green Bay is being turned into Wrigleyville, only with the occupants somehow less likable.
The offensive line still exists to get Aaron Rodgers murdered and get whoever is the running back a robust 2.4 yards per carry. Davante Adams has been forced to get skin treatment so he looks more white, because the bloated whale carcasses that are Wisconsin occupants love their white receivers almost as much as Bill Belichick.
They signed Jimmy Graham and Mercedes Lewis to create the best tight end duo of 2015. Their running backs are still pretty much garbage. Clay Matthews is overrated and nearly got murdered by a softball this summer. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is good but most of the secondary is a potluck of late draft picks and ACL injuries waiting to happen.
Honestly, the biggest thing that slows this team down every season is the looming threat that Aaron Rodgers will get injured. The last two seasons that Rodgers has been injured coincide with the last two seasons that the Packers missed the playoffs. But the team is too cocky to actually bring in an adept free agent quarterback, and instead keep praying that it’s 1993 again and Mike Holmgren is coaching up Mark Brunell. Instead, they have a washed-out elementary school gym teacher running things, thinking that they can turn Brett Hundley into a thing. Brett Hundley will never be a thing.
To solve this problem, they traded for **checks notes** Deshone Kizer? That can’t be right. **googles** Deshone Kizer. Hmm. Maybe there are two Deshone Kizers? Because if they traded for the Kizer I’m thinking of, it’s the one that went 0-15 last year and had a TD to Into ratio of 1:2, and no, I didn’t say that backwards. He legit threw 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.
Just as an NFL betting tips aside. Deshone Kizer was the second round pick by the Browns in 2017. Corey Coleman was the 1st round pick of this team in 2016. These were the two draft picks they received to trade down with the Titans so the Titans could select man mountain Jack Conklin. Neither player is on the Browns anymore. It took two seasons to dump guys who were drafted in building block positions. May the Browns stay awful forever and ever and ever and ever.
2018 Strength of Schedule: 1st!!!
My NFL Betting Tips Prediction: Over
Yes, they have the most difficult schedule in the NFL this year based on 2017 records. Yes, there is literally no way to look at this team as currently constructed and think they are a better team than they were last year, unless you are really Stanning for Jimmy Graham to magically pop out of a time machine. That being said. Aaron Rodgers’ injuries over the years aren’t the type of injuries that make you worried for his long-term health in the same way that Andrew Luck should scare the unholy shit out of you. Aaron Rodgers is probably the best quarterback in the NFL right now. He has a magical way of turning butt receivers into All-Pros. As long as Rodgers plays 16 games this season, you can probably pencil these guys in for 11-5. There is a very real possibility that the team is 4-1 after their first five. The true test of this team will be surviving the three games after that, with consecutive tilts against the 49ers, Rams, and Patriots.
2017 Win Total: 13
2018 Under/Over: 10
I’m just gonna go ahead and gloss over the fact that the Vikings harpooned their salary cap flexibility by giving Kirk Cousins 84 million dollars in guaranteed money, 30 million of which comes in year 3. I’m gonna gloss over the fact that Kirk Cousins has played in exactly one playoff game over the course of his career. I’m gonna gloss over the fact that Cousins is just good enough to lose you the biggest games of the season.
But sweet merciful shit, they jettisoned their entire quarterback roster of 2017, the same 2017 when they went to the NFC Championship game. They didn’t even bother to keep one of them as a backup. Case Keenum was a goner. But they didn’t bother to keep Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater. Sam Bradford is off to catch dysentery in Arizona, and Bridgewater is somehow already the odd man out on that dumpy ass Jets team. Instead, as the backup, it’s Trevor Siemian, fresh off playing himself out of a job in Denver.
This seems like a bad idea, especially considering their offensive line can’t stop a box social, let alone opposing defenses. Kirk Cousins is gonna be running for his damn life all season. Dalvin Cook is back, without a safety net since the Vikings don’t believe in things like that. They let Jerrick McKinnon go so that he can ruin your fantasy team in San Francisco. His backup is Latavius Murray, who was good for three weeks back in like 2012.
The defense is still good and didn’t have any major departures yet, because Kirk Cousins’ contract won’t ruin them in year one. They added Sheldon Richardson, or whatever is left of him after getting his soul crushed in that season with the Seahawks. Anthony Barr is still on the team and he’s the one who injured Aaron Rodgers last season, so he’s everyone else in the NFC North’s favorite player.
Stefon Diggs never has to buy a drink in Minnesota again. Or maybe he does. Who knows. That catch was the best thing to happen to that state since Purple Rain but everyone up there is still going to tell you that their favorite receiver is Adam Thielen because he’s so damn gritty.
2018 Strength of Schedule: 8th
My NFL Betting Tips Prediction: Push
NFL betting tips update: Some sites have bumped the number to 10.5 since I started writing this column forever ago, but since I put it in as 10, I’m too lazy to change it. And 10 feels pretty much exactly like what this team will win this year. Their schedule actually feels more difficult than 8th hardest. Their first 5 games include the 49ers, Packers, Rams, and Eagles. They get to kick the shit out of the Bills in the middle of all that, but that’s a tough schedule with a wild variant of outcomes. They could come out of the stretch 4-1. They could come out of the stretch 1-4. If they can survive the Patriots in week 13, they have an easy final month, so if they can get to .500 in their first 10 games, they can hit the push. Or maybe they will remember they are the Vikings and blow a ton of close games with terrible kicking and finish 8-8. 8-8 honestly feels like Kirk Cousins’ sweet spot, anyway.
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