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 +1 at St. Louis Rams — WIN — (+0.91 SLR$)
Green Bay Packers +2.5 at Detroit Lions (+108) — LOSS — (-1.00 SLR$)
Denver Broncos +4.5 at Seattle Seahawks — LOSS — (-1.00 SLR$)
Carolina Panthers -3 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-125) — LOSS (-1.00 SLR$)
Chicago Bears +2.5 at New York Jets (-102) — WIN — (+0.98 SLR$)
The bad news is I ended up down another 1.11 SLR$ — now down 2.13 SLR$ on the year — but the good news is the Lions beat the Packers in the process. Hedge picks man, hedge picks.
Can I get my act together, climb out of the abyss, and turn a profit? No. I’m pretty terrible at this. Don’t bet on the NFL because I’m telling you you’ll lose.
Picks against the spread are -110 unless otherwise noted.
Chicago Bears +2 vs. Green Bay Packers
I’m not convinced the Packers are as bad as they’ve looked at times this season, but I’m going to take the points and back the Bears at home. Not a slam dunk or anything — anything can happen in the NFC North — but I don’t see how this game is worse than a toss-up for Chicago.
Detroit Lions -1.5 at New York Jets
The last time I bet on the Lions they embarrassed themselves in one of the Carolinas. The two times I bet against them they won (and covered) in convincing fashion. I think I can buck that trend this week in New York. Injuries are a big concern for Detroit right now, but they are otherwise showing themselves to be a pretty good football team.
Indianapolis Colts -7.5 vs. Tennessee Titans
I think the Tennessee Titans are a pretty bad football team. That’s reason enough for me to give the points — a rather large amount of points — and back the Colts in front of the home crows.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7 at Pittsburgh Steelers (-105)
I think we get hung up on the most recent results too often as fans of the NFL, and for that reason I’m going to pick Tampa Bay plus the points one week after getting trashed on national TV against the Falcons last Thursday. The Buccaneers get the advantage of the long week of preparation, and the Pittsburgh defense looks to be a bit banged up at the moment.
Atlanta Falcons -3 at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Ryan’s Atlanta Falcons look like one of the better offenses in the NFL (Buccaneers caveat applied), and the Vikings have struggled without Adrian Peterson. Teddy Bridgewater starting is probably a plus for them, but I still like Atlanta minus the points in this matchup.
NOTE: Using this post as a guide for any sort of actual betting would constitute a poor decision by the reader.