Thank god there are only three more weeks of this. If you’ve been reading all year, I’d like to apologize for being a terrible gambler. I hope more people are fading my picks than tailing them because after a winless week I’m all the way down to 24-32. I didn’t catch any breaks last week and my hope of going above 50% is all but gone. My laptop keyboard has finally been repaired though, so maybe my newfound typing efficiency will lead to better picks. Probably not though. Here are last week’s losers before jumping into three more picks.
Falcons @ 49ers Longest First Half O/U 23.0: A touchdown with just over a minute left in the first half pushed this one over the top. After just six points in the first quarter, the two teams exploded for three touchdowns over the next fifteen minutes and lost me yet another first-half under bet.
Nico Collins O/U 30.5 Yards: I’m sorry for literally everything relating to this pick. The Texans actually managed to move the ball well, but very little of the movement was through Nico Collins. If anyone was watching the Texans/Jags game for the purposes of this bet, I wholeheartedly apologize.
CeeDee Lamb O/U 67.5 Yards: The final loser of the week; Lamb fell about 20 yards short of the total. The logic was correct with this one but the outcome was not. Lamb had nine targets and a couple of drops that would have cashed the over; unfortunately, drops don’t count as yards. That’s the problem with player props.
Now, let’s get to some picks.
I’ve tried just about every type of bet possible to find some winners over the last fifteen weeks and none of it has consistently worked. I’ve had very little success picking one game at a time, so the obvious solution is to pick two games and put them together. I’m going to put the football aside for a second and tap into my gambling knowledge for this pick. Most of what I’ll say in my explanation is backed by math and statistics, I think. If you don’t believe me, there’s plenty of other reading you can do on the topic with a quick google search.
To explain this the best I can, I’ll start by saying I’m taking both the Packers and the Bills against the spread. Instead of the standard high payout parlay, however, I’m combining the two in a teaser. The standard NFL teaser is a six-point teaser, adding six points to the spread on each game and providing -120 odds. Teasers are aptly named because it makes the spread look massive and you think “well this can’t possibly lose”. I’m here to tell you that it can, in fact, lose and that there are a few keys to betting teasers. The key numbers to keep in mind here are three and seven. A field goal is obviously worth three points, while a touchdown and extra point add to seven. These are the most common ways to score, so they often come up towards the end of games in the margin of victory. The key to teaser bets is to tease the spread to cross these numbers, for either underdogs or favorites. So for example, the Packers are 7.5 point favorites, while the Bills are 2.5 point underdogs. Put these two together and add the six points to each spread, and the Packers become 1.5 point favorites while the Bills are 8.5 underdogs. Obviously, both need to cover to win the bet, but the math checks out here as we’ve crossed both key numbers on both sides of the bet. You can do this with any teams where the numbers line up, but I opted for these two because they’re both good football teams, and betting on good teams is much more enjoyable than bad teams. I won’t go into detail on the matchups and personnel, all you need to know for this pick is the “math”.
Pick: Packers -1.5, Bills +8.5 (-120, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Ja’Marr Chase Longest Reception O/U 25.5 Yards
I absolutely hate this pick. I hate this pick so much that I thought about fading myself and going the opposite direction. Then I thought about it a little more and thought that anyone in their right mind would hate this pick, so I decided to fade myself fading myself, and go with my original pick. Make sense? The Bengals are coming into this game off a very gritty win on the road in Denver and in a tie for first place in the AFC North. They’re tied with this week’s opponent, Baltimore, and can clinch the season tiebreaker over the Ravens with a win this week, so motivation shouldn’t be a question, not that it ever is in the NFL. The Ravens come into this game after another loss on a last-second two-point conversion attempt and will likely be led by Brett “Snoop” Hundley at quarterback on Sunday afternoon.
The last time these two teams squared off, the Bengals blew the doors off Baltimore, throwing for 409 yards and winning the game 41-7. In that game, Ja’Marr Chase went off for 201 yards and a touchdown on eight catches, the best performance of his rookie season thus far. He’s also coming off the worst game of his rookie campaign, catching just one ball for three yards. He did have a long reception called back for holding which would have made his stat line look a little better. I’m banking on a repeat of the former performance, although I wouldn’t expect another 200-yard game. The Ravens are 29th in the league in allowing explosive plays to wide receivers and are one of the worst-ranked tackling teams. For those reasons, I’m betting the over on Chase’s longest reception prop bet. He doesn’t need high volume to cash the bet, and it can be done either on a deep shot or on an underneath route where Baltimore doesn’t wrap up properly. Chase also had 48% of the Bengals air yards on Sunday in Denver. Despite the low output in his final stat line, he continues to get high-value opportunities from Joe Burrow. I expect the Bengals to employ a similar game plan to their first meeting with Baltimore, especially taking into account the Ravens’ incredibly depleted secondary. Look for Chase to break off an explosive play on Sunday and hit the over.
Pick: OVER 25.5 Yards (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Rams @ Vikings Both To Score 20+ Points
With all of the covid uncertainty going into the Sunday slate, I’m forced to get a little creative again with this pick. The Vikings are Rams are squaring off on Sunday in Minnesota after both teams are coming off wins against divisional opponents. Neither team leads their division, and the Vikings are in the thick of the NFC wildcard hunt, desperately needing a win to keep pace and get into the playoffs. I really like the over in this game, but since that isn’t a prop, I’ll bet both teams to score at least 20 points. Two touchdowns and two field goals apiece is all it takes, which doesn’t sound like much. I’ve learned that 20 points is more than it seems over the past several weeks, but I’ve also learned that I’m great at ignoring my better judgment and listening to reason, so here we are.
The total for this game is set at 49, with the Rams as 3.5 point favorites. Some quick math has this implied score for this game as Rams 25.25, Vikings 22.75. This is one of my patented “Vegas is smarter than me” picks because they’re typically pretty close with their spreads and totals, and I’m typically not. The Rams offense is incredibly exciting to watch, particularly Cooper Kupp, who’s on a record-setting pace. They’ve scored at least twenty points in all but two of their games this season, losses to the Titans and 49ers. The Vikings have scored at a decent rate, scoring at least 20 in six of their last seven appearances. Justin Jefferson is virtually unguardable at times and Adam Thielen may return to the lineup this week to add another receiving option. K.J. Osborn has filled in nicely in Thielen’s absence and has proven to be a solid third option. Defensively, the Vikings have allowed at least 20 in eight of their last nine. The Rams are stingier on defense but have allowed some big numbers, particularly on the road. I like both teams to find their way to the end zone and get into the twenties on Sunday.
Pick: Both Teams to Score 20+ Points (-120, DraftKings Sportsbook)
Featured Image by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)