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 weekend I’ve been picking five games (Sunday and/or Monday night games), wagering one very fake SideLion Report Dollar (SLR$) on each*. At the end of the year we can all laugh at my losses and how I’ll have to lose my house because I won’t have enough SLR$ 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.
Dallas Cowboys +3.5 at Tennessee Titans (-115) — WIN (+0.87 SLR$)
New York Giants +2 vs. Arizona Cardinals — LOSS (-1.00 SLR$)
Houston Texans -3 at Oakland Raiders (+100) — WIN (+1.00 SLR$)
Chicago Bears -7 at San Francisco 49ers — WIN (+0.91 SLR$)
Detroit Lions +2.5 at Carolina Panthers (-105) — LOSS (-1.00 SLR$)
My confidence in the Detroit Lions to stay competitive on the road was not rewarded, but I finished positive for the week nonetheless (up 0.78 SLR$). That still keeps me in the hole for the season after a rougher Week 1 (down 1.02 SLR$ total now), so it’s time to get serious.
Picks against the spread are -110 unless otherwise noted.
Dallas Cowboys +1 at St. Louis Rams
The Cowboys proved me wise last week when I picked them to cover on the road in Tennessee, but they did more than just cover, they obliterated the Titans in a 26-10 victory. I’m going to keep the Romo-mentum going this week and pick them to cover a small spread in St. Louis. I think Dallas’ terrible first-half showing in Week 1 vs. San Francisco is still affecting the lines, but they’re better than that.
Green Bay Packers +2.5 at Detroit Lions (+108)
I know it’s at Ford Field where the Lions have won every now and then, but I’ve watched this Lions team — and specifically this Lions-Packers rivalry — long enough to know to just always pick the Packers. It’s not that automatic loss that is a trip to Lambeau Field, but as I learned last week — and every week before that — Just. Never. Count. On. The. Lions.
Denver Broncos +4.5 at Seattle Seahawks
I know, I know. I watched the Super Bowl. But I also watched the Chargers offense drop 30 points on the Seahawks last week. Seattle is decidedly better at home — so that scares me — but give me Denver to stay competitive and cover the spread. They’ve had all offseason to prepare for this date.
Carolina Panthers -3 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-125)
The Panthers were very impressive against the Lions in Week 2 (particularly on defense) while the Steelers have turned in two lackluster performances to date in a narrow victory over Cleveland (at home) and a blowout loss in Baltimore. As we’ve seen through two weeks, Carolina has a chance to be really good this year.
Chicago Bears +2.5 at New York Jets (-102)
I went to bed on Sunday night thinking my Bears pick had tanked hard, but was pleasantly surprised to see they pulled out the victory (you know, besides the whole Bears winning thing). Chicago hasn’t yet put together a “full game” — and that’s concerning — but 21 4th quarter points will cover a multitude of sins. The Jets haven’t been great (and aren’t expected to be), so the Bears should remain “in” this game for the long haul.
NOTE: Using this post as a guide for any sort of actual betting would constitute a poor decision by the reader.