[Welcome back to The Degenerates Gambit! Once again, please remember that these articles are for fun, and while I love writing them and gambling on football, if you or someone you know is addicted and needs help, please get help or get help for them. The national helpline number is 1-800-522-4700. ]
We’re so back, y’all, So, so back. With so much uncertainty in our world, it’s nice to know some things stay constant: the Bears suck, I’m expected to use decorum when a politician dies and not laugh out loud in front of children about it, and Waleed is doing better than all of us on player props. It’s a simple reminder that nature is continuing to heal, and Swifties everywhere will forever remember the clip of Taylor cheering with delight after Travis Kelce’s TD, a level of celebration we haven’t seen out of her since the government didn’t prosecute anyone in her immediate family for involvement in the 2008 financial crisis.
Anyways, I hear if I go 4-0 this week there’s a cush job waiting for me at Bank of America. Let’s get to the picks!
New Orleans Saints/Tampa Bay Buccaneers UNDER 39.5 (-110)
This one had me going back and forth all day, and I’ll tell you why: the under is tempting. Of all the games both of these teams have played this year, the over has only hit once, when Tampa Bay completely obliterated the Bears. These teams have hit the over twice in the last three years they’ve played. Mike Evans and/or Marshon Lattimore will inevitably get ejected for punching each other. However, Jameis Winston is absolutely an agent of chaos, and the odds for a pick-six are high, which historically wrecks underplays, especially with a number this low. That said, both of these teams are bottom-five in Red Zone TD efficiency (Saints 40%, Bucs 37.5%), so take the under and let’s eat a W.
Minnesota Vikings -4.5 (-106)
The Vikings are putrid this year. The Panthers might be even worse. Don’t blame Bryce Young, who is out there doing his best to electrify an assortment of corpse parts like so much Victor Frankenstein, but instead blame a garbage offensive line, a defense shellacked by injuries, and coaching that hasn’t exactly put their players in the best position to win. Minnesota wins this game by scoring a ton, and while I believe there is some room in here for Adam Theilen to return to the end zone again this week, Carolina won’t have an answer for Justin Jefferson, TJ Hockenson, or Jordan Addison. Take the Vikings and the points.
Cincinnati Bengals -2.5 (-106)
This is the third week I’ve bet on the Tennessee offense to suck, and their victory over the Chargers in Week 2 messed with my overall return on the season. I think the Bengals do something the Chargers couldn’t do in week 2: put enough distance between themselves and the Titans to make Derrick Henry’s usage low enough to remove him as a threat to carry the ball 28 times. Tee Higgins has started the year with a slow game, a boom game, and another slow game: this is a boom week for him. Tee shreds zone coverage (Tennessee’s preferred scheme), and Ja’Marr Chase can obliterate defenses after the catch. Theoretically, Kristian Fulton has to cover someone on every play, and that’s the way the Bengals should go about attacking this defense.
Long Shot Play of the Week: Chicago Bears Moneyline (+134)
Mock me all you want, but this is the perfect get-right game for both of these teams. Neither defense is worth a damn, and the image of Robby Chosen straight housing Patrick Surtain Jr had me in tears last week. Look, the Bears and Broncos are broken and completely unfixable. However, the Bears have an organizational desperation that makes them dangerous. The entire coaching staff (well, the ones not fired for mystery reasons) is on the hot seat, the front office is one more celebrity skybox appearance away from committing seppuku at the podium, and the Broncos play a ton of man coverage. The numbers align for a big Justin Fields day despite his surroundings, and DJ Moore shreds man defense. I’m a Bears fan which means my soul is completely broken, but I still believe that the Eberflus regime is playing to win, and Sean Payton and the Broncos just aren’t quite desperate enough. I take the Bears to win in a comedy of errors, while I eagerly await the video of Lauren Boebert giving a handy to some blood relative of Strom Thurmond when the Bears get shithoused in Washington next week.
Last Week: 3-1
YTD: 9-3 (1-2 on Long Shot Play of the Week)