Sep 7, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
It’s fun to pretend to know a lot about sports and picking winners, but when it comes to beating Vegas none of us are any good at all. They have all the money, and they’re able to spend a good deal to ensure that we don’t get it from them.
But as I said it’s fun to pretend, so on we go.
Each Sunday I’ll pick five games (Sunday and/or Monday night games), wagering one very fake SideLion Report Dollar (SLR$) on each*, and at the end of the year we can all laugh at my losses and how I’ll have to lose my house because I won’t have enough SLR$ to pay the bank.
*This, as we all know, isn’t the way you’d want to approach actual betting with an actual bankroll. You’d want to apply a version of the Kelly criterion — weighting your wagers based on the confidence you have in each pick — but, like, whatever.
Setting The Lines
I’ll get the betting lines from SportsPlays.com — a free-to-play betting site that allows users to grow their (fake) bankroll and eventually cash out for real money. You can play against me over there if you think you’re better than me (and you probably are!). They’re not sponsoring or anything, I just think it’s fun.
Minnesota Vikings +3 at St. Louis Rams (+100) — WIN (+1.00 SLR$)
Chicago Bears -7 vs. Buffalo Bills — LOSS (-1.00 SLR$)
Philadelphia Eagles -480 to win vs. Jacksonville Jaguars — WIN (+0.20 SLR$)
New England Patriots -4 at Miami Dolphins — LOSS (-1.00 SLR$)
New York Giants +242 to win at Detroit Lions — LOSS (-1.00 SLR$)
Three out of five were losers so I ended Week 1 down 1.80 SLR$. Like I said, don’t try to beat Vegas folks. The good news was my hedge pick worked: I had a chance to finish in the black entering Monday (a Giants win would have set me up 1.62 SLR$ for the week), but the Lions took care of business and kept me negative. I’ll take that every time.
Picks against the spread are -110 unless otherwise noted.
Dallas Cowboys +3.5 at Tennessee Titans (-115)
We’re all aware of Tony Romo’s three interceptions in the Cowboys’ Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, but I’m going to bet against that happening again. The Titans won their game handily last week, but it was against the Kansas City Chiefs who might very well be terrible this season.
New York Giants +2 vs. Arizona Cardinals
Another NFC East team who’s probably not as bad as they looked in Week 1. The Giants couldn’t do anything against the Lions on Monday Night Football, but I’m going to back them in their home opener as two-point underdogs. Cardinals looked good last week though, so possibly a bad pick.
Houston Texans -3 at Oakland Raiders (+100)
This pick signifies that I think the Texans are less bad than the Raiders. And possibly significantly so, seeing as the spread is three points and the game is in Oakland.
Chicago Bears -7 at San Francisco 49ers
Chicago got embarrassed in Week 1 at home against a possibly lousy Buffalo Bills team, but I’m looking for them to rebound in Week 2 in San Fran. I wouldn’t pick them to win, but seven points in a monster spread in the NFL and I don’t expect that Chicago is actually all that bad. Take them to lose by less than a touchdown.
Detroit Lions +2.5 at Carolina Panthers (-105)
The Panthers won without Cam Newton in Week 1 — and they’ll surely be better with him — but I’ll still take the Lions to cover after last week’s brilliant performance against the Giants on MNF.
NOTE: Using this post as a guide for any sort of actual betting would constitute a poor decision by the reader.