If you’ve ever walked out of a casino penniless you’ve likely felt Gambler’s Regret. You look back on what just happened trying to pinpoint where it all went wrong. Maybe you were up a little bit at some point and thought about leaving, but ultimately pushed your luck a bit too far. Maybe you played perfect strategy at a table, but then the dealer turned over a brutal card and you went broke. Maybe that damned slot machine just kept missing by one reel. Maybe it just wasn’t your night and you should have stayed home. Whatever it was that caused it, all gamblers have felt it.
Weird week of football. Just about every team that was “supposed” to win did exactly that, yet the underdogs covered five of the twelve lines, and pushed on a sixth. I think it was just a strange week because there were so many terrible, terrible games. I only hope Week Six has some better matchups… (* Checks Schedule… Meh… *) Assuming the Lions won and covered the (-6) line on Monday night (since I’m writing this at about 6pm Monday), my Week Five Picks went 6-5-1. You know what that means? Over .500 record baby! 37-36-3 Oooooh Yeah!
Pick that was so easy I shouldn’t really get credit for it: Cincinnati (+3) over JACKSONVILLE: Wanna know how easy that pick was? On Thursday when I wrote the post, the Bengals were three-point underdogs. By kickoff, they were three-point favorites. Seeing a line move six full points in three days is ludicrous – I only wish I’d bet more on Cincy. Chalk that last line up under “Things I never expected to type in 2011”.
Pick I screwed up so badly that in hindsight it almost looks like I was picking the other team: Cardinals (+3) over VIKINGS: Although even after Minnesota built up a 21-0 first quarter lead, I wasn’t all that nervous. It was only after the Cardinals still trailed 28-3 at the half that I finally threw in the towel on this one having any chance.
Moment that had Las Vegas Sportsbooks EXPLODING: Take your pick – end of Bengals/Jaguars, Jacksonville tries the always guaranteed-to-work hook and lateral, which results in a fumble and Cincy TD return to cover (-3) rather than push. Or… Plaxico Burress’ drop at about the New England 25-yard line with roughly 30 seconds left in the game. The catch would have allowed the Jets to kick a field goal and bring the score down to 30-24, covering Jets +9 (and Jets +7.5, where the line settled at kickoff). Instead, Plax dropped it, Sanchez was sacked behind midfield on the next play, and the game was over. (UPDATE: Throw the end of Monday Night Football in there too. As the Bears, down by 11 with a six-point spread, nonchalantly drove the field with the clock ticking down, they managed to snap the final play with one second remaining on the game clock. That final play resulted in a completed pass and a run toward the end zone… only to be tackled at the two-yard line. Lions cover (-6), Bears bettors throw up a little. Kinda like Bears fans, players, and coaching staff did for most of the other 59:59 of game time.)
This is why we can’t have nice things: Because the New York Giants are fluky-fraudtastic. With apologies to Cabbage and KWSN and anyone else who had the Giants in an eliminator pool (I probably would have taken them too), you likely only lost twenty bucks when the Giants spit the bit at home against an NFC West “Contender”. I had the Giants worked into 2 parlays on the Money Line (outright win) and one more teaser bet – down to Giants (-4). The Giants cost me all three of those – not too much actually lost in wagers, but a few hundred lost in wins that were never realized.
Line I wrote that I wish I could delete from the Interwebs: From TEXANS (-6) over Raiders: “Kind of surprised this line is so high with Andre Johnson out of the game, but a healthy Arian Foster and Matt Schaub should still be able to put up enough points to cover this line easily.” In fairness, I made this pick before Al Davis passed away. I flipped the bets and covered my ass with a couple on the Raiders, both spread and money line.
Line I wrote that I should probably pat myself on the back for: From Packers (-6) over FALCONS: “I’ve got no faith in Atlanta to cover a line at all, let alone against the best team in the NFL. I know the Falcons are good (or at least better than bad) when they’re at home, but they’re not on the same level as Green Bay.” Atlanta sure came out of the gates like a ball of lightning on Sunday Night, didn’t they? Then the rest of the game happened. After going up 14-0, Atlanta had six possessions (not counting a 1-play kneel-down to end the half). They got eight total first downs – four on penalties. And two of those first downs came on the final drive, when GB was up 11 and playing prevent.
Real life moment that crushed my fantasy hopes and dreams: I really should have learned by now. NFL teams intentionally withhold information from injury reports as an advantage. Fantasy football websites can only work with what they know from injury reports and “sources”. And the Steelers are typically one of the most close-mouthed franchises in the NFL when it comes to “sources”. So when every indication during the week was that Ben Roethlisberger would be hampered by his sprained foot against what was previously the best defense in the NFL, I decided to play backups in my two biggest money leagues. In one league, I started Matt Ryan – it was enough to win my matchup by one single point, but the move cost me the weekly high score and the $50 weekly prize. In the other league, I decided to play my backup… Kyle Orton. And, because I had his hottest target, I played Eric Decker and sat DeSean Jackson, trying to get the double points if Decker caught an Orton TD pass. Those moves cost me both the win and a chance at the high score (another $50), as Orton and Decker combined for -1 fantasy point, while Big Ben put up 37 and D-Jax had another 14. Before MNF, I have the bears defense and a 40 point deficit. So… I’d already have the win, with the Bears’ D acting as nothing but gravy. Have I mentioned yet how much I hate NFL Injury Reports for fantasy football purposes? Try using them for betting…
Best text message sent or received: On Saturday, I hit a mega parlay on college football games. Seven bets, Money Lines (Thank you Nebraska!) and Spreads (Thank you Michigan!), paid out at better than 25/1. Awesome. Then I found this guy’s ridiculous 17-bet Money Line parlay, which came through when Nebraska came back to win. I texted Pat, who replied with some helpful advice after asking how much the guy won:
Pat: “You know those numbers are the Money Lines, right? Not how much he bet?”
D: “Yes. I understand the concept of sports gambling. Thanks professor.”
FYI, he told me he only got a little under 6/1 payout on that bet, which seems ridiculously low for 17-teams. I would have expected 50/1 or better, even with lines as low as Oklahoma State (-17000)…
Snap Judgment of the week, #1: I lied last week. I no longer believe Philly is a playoff team. They need to get their **** together, and fast, because right now they are the worst team in that division, leaps and bounds behind the other three.
Snap Judgment of the week, #2: Cincinnati just might squeak out six or seven wins. Somehow, I doubt this is what Carson Palmer had in mind when he “retired”.
Snap Judgement of the week, #3: I’m still not convinced Buffalo can make the playoffs, but I’ve got a lot more faith in them than a lot of other so-called AFC “Contenders”.
Snap Judgement of the week, #4: Remember everyone who said the 49ers were going to throw the season to try for Andrew Luck pole position? (God that sounds worse than I intended) Yeah, not happening. The NFC West is theirs to lose.
PatPhish vs. Big D Weekly “I Bet You” Update: Finally, I won a week! We managed to work five bets into this week, since Pat didn’t like the idea of putting more than $1 on the Jets to win outright. The other bets were all pretty self-explanatory:
I had first pick in the three prop bets. I took Larry Fitzgerald’s receiving day over Hakeem Nicks – a paltry one-yard win, 66 to 65! Then Pat took Indy, which was fine by me; I wanted KC in the first place. Finally I wrapped it up with Houston’s total rushing output over Oakland’s. If Arian Foster’s 60+ yard screen reception had been a run, I would have had a clean sweep of the week. As it stands, Pat is up $15 for the season, with $30 in outstanding season-long bets.