Gambling is, for most of us, very stupid. I think most of us can agree on it, and if you can’t, you fall into one of two categories. Either you aren’t smart enough to know you aren’t good at it, or you are good at gambling and you probably aren’t reading this post, anyway. There are but a few men and women who make their livings betting on sporting events. There is a science to it. There is math. All of these things are used, not to guarantee victory, but to try to minimize loss as much as possible. Most people don’t understand how to minimize loss. Hell, I’m really good at maximizing it, as I’ve proven over the years.
Minimizing loss is staring at your bankroll and setting a hard limit on how much you are willing to spend on a given day. Everyone has a limit on how much they are willing to spend, whether it’s two dollars or two thousand dollars, it doesn’t matter. The key to what makes a gambler good and a gambler bad is the ability to live within that bankroll, and not overstep pre-determined boundaries set up. Let’s say you have 200 dollars. You know you can’t reload that for two weeks. Do you blow it all in one weekend? Do you break it down to a reasonable amount each week, or do you shrink your bets to mitigate some of the financial risks?
I’m not asking this because there is necessarily a given answer. Blow it all in one weekend is probably the wrong answer, for a very easy reason. You are not going to want to stare at football next weekend and not have the ability to bet on it. You are going to wish you hadn’t made that absurd touchdown parlay that hinged on Randall Cobb scoring a touchdown on Monday Night Football. Breaking it down reasonably between two weeks is the common-sense way. If you feel really comfortable about a bet on a given weekend, then use half of your money on it. I felt really good about the Cardinals and Bills money lines last week, and I felt good about the Packers with a lowered spread. I bet those games and ended up making a couple hundred bucks on the games.
I lose on some other stuff, but because I didn’t overextend my bankroll by throwing out too many bets, I turned a nice profit on the week. At no point was I in danger of blowing my cash supply. I never got to a point where I had less than half of the gambling money I started with on Sunday. I played within reason, and I played cautiously smart. Sometimes gambling isn’t about chasing the biggest win. Sometimes you just have to accept that you are going to hit singles, rather than home runs. Singles will always be better than striking out, though. I promise.
That is unless you listened to me and bet the Chiefs, then I really don’t know what to tell you.
Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
This is not a big “overthink it” game. Arizona has been playing well, and the Jaguars look completely rudderless with future USC head coach Urban Meyer running the team into the ground. I like Arizona enough that I might stretch the odds to -9.5 to extract some extra value from the game. Congratulations are in order for the Jaguars, who are ruining a generational quarterback in absolute record time. Trevor Lawrence is two years of Jags football away from being Matt Schaub for the rest of his career, which is basically the quarterbacking version of PTSD.
Indianapolis Colts (+5.5) at Tennessee Titans
Another game where you really don’t have to overthink this. The Titans are going to stack the box to stop the run, knowing that Jacob Eason isn’t going to be the guy who can break the game open for the Colts offense. Darius Leonard, the All-World Linebacker for Indy, is dealing with a long-term ankle injury (just like everyone else on this woebegone team) that even he admits is affecting his play. When your best defensive player is trying to gut it, but you as a football team are marching Jacob Eason out to start a game, at some point you have to take a long look in the mirror and realize you need to shut down Leonard to save his career, long term.
I’m taking Tennessee giving points, and I’ll probably parlay it with the over for Derrick Henry rushing yards in the game. Will he get 200? I’m not sure I’m willing to bet against it.
Miami Dolphins (+3.5) at Las Vegas Raiders
::Me staring into a mirror, screaming at myself:: “DON’T PICK THE RAIDERS! DON’T PICK THE RAIDERS! THEY ARE JUST GOING TO HURT YOU!”
This is the exact type of game the Raiders are notorious for losing. Right around the point that people start to believe in them, they remind the football world that they are still coached by noted Corona enthusiast Jon Gruden. It has happened pretty much every year since Sebastian Janikowski was drafted. He’s retired now, which is disappointing, but man, what a trip it was with Sea bass.
Anyway, the Dolphins looked like an absolute train wreck on offense last week, managing to put up zero points in an NFL built so that any team can look like they are the Air Coryell Chargers. They have nothing remotely resembling a rushing offense, and if you had asked me before the season, I’d have told you I thought Jacoby Brissett was an upgrade over Tua NotEvenLearningToSpellHisLastNameTilHeProvesHimselfOnTheField. Now, I’m not so sure. Who scares you on the offense? Are you game planning to stop Will Fuller? Salvon Ahmed? Mike Gesicki?
I’m going to regret this. I’m going to regret this so, so hard. But I’m taking the Raiders giving the points at home.
Seattle Seahawks (-1.5) at Minnesota Vikings
Ahh, the battle of the “who blew it worse in week two?” teams. The Seahawks had the game against the Titans under control until Derrick Henry remembered he could just truck entire defenses and blew up their spot. The Vikings have already knocked off their second number in “bad loss bingo.” They have a blowout loss and missed gimme kick to end a game off the board. Them getting shut out would be hilarious. Losing in overtime when they get first possession would be wonderful. Walk-off safety would be it, though. It would be the Mona Lisa of bad losses for a team that is truly the Leonardo Da Vinci of bad losses.
Anyway, the one consistent thing I’ve had gambling this year is betting against the Vikings on the money line, and nothing about this team makes me think I should change course now, even though they are at home. I’m going to take the Seahawks, and that has NOTHING to do with the fact that I have Tyler Lockett in several fantasy leagues(it has literally everything to do with that).
Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5) at Dallas Cowboys
I’m betting that this game ends in a tie. That’s all these two odious, dollar-store Halloween costumes for football teams, and their slack-jawed fans deserve. This will be the second time the Cowboys will have played on national television in three weeks. The only reason to keep doing that is because the NFL is absolutely convinced this team is literally, not figuratively, going to kill Jerry Jones one and they want the money shot.
Just Jerry Jones, on his seventh Johnny Walker, having a massive heart attack and keeling over onto the laps of two petrified, high-priced hookers. All the while Roger Goodell is calling into New York screaming “Keep the shot on him. Replay it. Over and over! Whose in charge now you dead idiot!”
Anyway, I probably won’t watch this game because I don’t want to perpetuate the notion that we need to see the NFC East, the Nickelback of divisions, keep getting national airplay.
Bet the Eagles. Or don’t. Bet the Cowboys. Or don’t. I’ll bet the tie and fall asleep at night knowing I didn’t have to listen to the MNF booth slobber over these “heritage” franchises all night.