I’m no different than the rest of you when it comes to giving thanks during this holiday season. I have an awful lot in life to be grateful for, and I try never to take any of it for granted. But during this Thanksgiving weekend, which really just exists to allow football fans to watch even more games, I’m going to focus that gratitude on my discretionary income (which I learned through google is the correct term for what I used to call “disposable income”). Basically, it’s all the extra money I have after paying my monthly bills and child support. It’s money that should probably be going to good causes, or perhaps a savings account for the future. But instead, it’s all tied up in football futures.
So on this Thanksgiving week, I am truly thankful for all the preseason and midseason bets I made. Most of them will lose–badly–but I’m thankful to have the money to flush down the toilet on my uneducated predictions. Here’s a review of those bets:
Green Bay Packers to win Super Bowl (bet placed on February 2nd)
- Odds I got: 8/1
- Current Odds: 8/1
Atlanta Falcons to win Super Bowl (Feb 2nd)
- Odds I got: 40/1
- Current Odds: 66/1
New York Giants to win Super Bowl (Feb 2nd)
- Odds I got: 40/1
- Current Odds: 14/1
Houston Texans to win Super Bowl (Feb 2nd)
- Odds I got: 40/1
- Current Odds: 66/1
Baltimore Ravens to win Super Bowl (Feb 2nd)
- Odds I got: 33/1
- Current Odds: 500/1
I placed these five bets the day after the Patriots won last year’s Super Bowl, and as it turns out, only the Giants bet was a good one. Sure, the Packers are still in fine shape, but I could get those same exact odds today. So there wasn’t really any value in that bet. Obviously I whiffed majorly on Baltimore, Houston and (kind of) Atlanta. The comforting thing is that there’s still a decent chance the 3 NFC teams in these bets all make the playoffs. Having half of that conference’s playoff entries on bets I made almost a year before these playoffs start would make me feel pretty smart.
Kansas City Chiefs to win AFC West (bet placed on August 20th)
- Odds I got: +325
- Current Odds: +500
Dallas Cowboys to win NFC East (Aug 20th)
- Odds I got: +140
- Current Odds: +300
Atlanta Falcons to win NFC South (Aug 20th)
- Odds I got: 2/1
- Current Odds: 16/1
These division winner bets look even worse than my Super Bowl picks. Every one of my choices has become a longer shot than when I bet it. The Falcons are four games behind Carolina but still face them twice. Basically, Cam Newton would have to get bludgeoned to death by an angry mom from the “anti-dancing movement,” and even that might not be enough. The Chiefs are three games behind Peyton Manning’s former team, but they have an easy schedule while the Broncos try to figure out if they have any qualified QBs on the roster. There’s a glimmer of hope in the West for me. And only by way of division-wide incompetence are the Cowboys still alive. I’m writing this off as a loss because they’ll essentially have to go undefeated the rest of the way.
Atlanta Falcons over 8.5 wins (bet placed on September 11th)
Kansas City Chiefs over 8.5 wins (Sept 11th)
Minnesota Vikings under 7.5 wins (Sept 11th)
New York Giants over 8.5 wins (Sept 11th)
St. Louis Rams over 8 wins (Sept 11th)
Wow. I am not going to have an easy time winning any of those. They’re all still in play, at least. So that’s nice. But the Vikings only need to win one more game for that bet to be a loss. The Rams, Giants and Chiefs each need to finish 4-2 for me to win any of those bets (in the case of the Rams, 4-2 would get me the push, which I will GLADLY take at this point). And how about the fucking Falcons? After September, I thought I was going to waltz to a win on that bet, but now they’ve lost four of their last five and need to go 3-3 the rest of the way for me to collect. I just don’t see that happening. What a waste.
Will any team go 16-0 in the regular season? (Sept 11th)
- Odds I got: 25/1
- Current Odds: 5/2
Will any team go 0-16 in the regular season? (Sept 11th)
- Odds I got: 20/1
The 0-16 bet was done way back in week 6, when Detroit became the final team to win its 1st game of the year. But the 16-0 bet? WooHoo! Still alive! And not just with one team, but with two! No, I honestly don’t think either the Panthers or Patriots are going undefeated, but I’m just happy this bet is still active this late in the year. I will be betting both props (16-0 and 0-16) each year for the rest of eternity. It’s too much fun not to.
Tennessee Titans to win the AFC South (bet placed on September 28th)
- Odds I got: 17/2
- Current Odds: 50/1
Arizona Cardinals to win Super Bowl (bet placed on October 12th)
- Odds I got: 18/1
- Current Odds: 5/1
Nice work, Ross! Great value there as Arizona will likely be one of the top two favorites in the NFC the rest of the way (barring the inevitable Carson Palmer injury).
St. Louis Rams to win NFC West (bet placed on November 7th)
- Odds I got: 5/1
- Current Odds: 25/1
What the fuck is wrong with me? Seriously. In my defense, the Rams were 4-3 and coming off back-to-back wins while the Cardinals were 6-2 and Seattle was 4-4. Lesson learned. Jeff Fisher is the worst.
So it’s like I said in the second paragraph of this column…I’m just happy to have the extra cash to flush straight down the NFL gambling toilet.
At least the weekly picks against the spread are going reasonably well for me. Every year I try to remind myself that I’m OK at making predictions while the season is underway, but I’m horrible at preseason guesses. And every year I still make all those bets in August.
Let’s get into the week 12 picks. Since it’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and most of you have a miniscule attention span to begin with, my comments will be limited to the size we can all enjoy in this day & age: 140 characters or less. Here we go.
Philadelphia at Detroit (-1)
The Pick: Detroit
The Score: Detroit 23, Philadelphia 17
In a battle of 2 dumpster fire teams led by soon-to-be-fired coaches, I’m going with the home team that’s shown a pulse of late.
Carolina (-1) at Dallas
The Pick: Carolina
The Score:Carolina 36, Dallas 16
Way too many people are predicting this as the Panthers’ first loss. For that reason, I’m positive it won’t be. Total disrespect by Vegas.
Chicago at Green Bay (-9)
The Pick: Green Bay
The Score: Green Bay 26, Chicago 12
A single win by the Packers in the last month will get the majority of the public to back them. Count me among the public.
St. Louis at Cincinnati (-9)
The Pick: Cincinnati
The Score: Cincinnati 33, St. Louis 17
The bottom’s about to fall out on this Rams team. The Bengals played mostly awesome in Arizona last week. This game will be so much easier.
Oakland (-2) at Tennessee
The Pick: Tennessee
The Score: Tennessee 20, Oakland 17
StayAway Game of the Week. Taking the home team that had 10 days rest over the West Coast team playing back-to-back road games in the East.
NY Giants (-3) at Washington
The Pick: NY Giants
The Score: NY Giants 29, Washington 23
If I know for a fact that the refs are out to get Washington, why would I ever pick them? Eli on the road does make me nervous though.
Minnesota at Atlanta (-2)
The Pick: Minnesota
The Score: Minnesota 24, Atlanta 22
Atlanta hasn’t beaten a team outside the NFC East and AFC South. Minnesota has. Not convinced the Vikings will win easily, but they’ll win.
Buffalo at Kansas City (-5.5)
The Pick: Kansas City
The Score: Kansas City 19, Buffalo 12
Big game for 2 Wildcard hopefuls who have very similar stats. Normally you take the points, but the Bills got real banged up in New England.
New Orleans at Houston (-3)
The Pick: New Orleans
The Score: New Orleans 27, Houston 21
Houston is 0-5 when giving up more than 20 points. The Saints are 4-2 when scoring 20 or more. I think the rested Saints will score plenty.
Tampa Bay at Indianapolis (-3)
The Pick: Tampa Bay
The Score: Tampa Bay 24, Indianapolis 20
The Bucs hand Hasselbeck his 1st loss because they are solid, haven’t played a bad game in a while and have real weapons on offense.
Miami at NY Jets (-3.5)
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Miami 21, NY Jets 18
You won’t see me picking the Jets when they’re favored by more than a field goal against anyone the rest of the season.
San Diego at Jacksonville (-4)
The Pick: Jacksonville
The Score: Jacksonville 20, San Diego 13
I’m fully prepared for the Jags to screw this up. But it’s hard to see San Diego getting motivated for a cross country game at this point.
Arizona (-10.5) at San Francisco
The Pick: Arizona
The Score: Arizona 37, San Francisco 14
The Cardinals are 4-1 on the road including dominating wins at Cleveland, Detroit & Chicago. The 49ers fit right in with those teams.
Pittsburgh at Seattle (-4)
The Pick: Pittsburgh
The Score: Pittsburgh 26, Seattle 17
Not biting on Seattle. Pittsburgh has lost 4 games: 2 when Roethlisberger was out, 2 against the Patriots & Bengals. They are solid.
New England (-3) at Denver
The Pick: New England
The Score: New England 3, Denver 0
Two awesome defenses and two offenses hurting BAD. I’m not sure we’ll see a single touchdown on Sunday night.
Baltimore at Cleveland (-3)
The Pick: Baltimore
The Score: Baltimore 15, Cleveland 12
Matt Schaub is awful, but it appears the entire city of Cleveland was built on an ancient Indian burial ground. I’m not messing with that.
The weekly tally looks like this:
- 9 Favorites, 7 Underdogs
- 1 Home Dog, 6 Road Dogs
- 6 Home Teams, 10 Road Teams
- Season Record: 79-74-1 (5-8-1 in week 11)
Enjoy week 12. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. And enjoy your Uncle Bobby’s take on Syrian Refugees!