My fellow gamblers, good evening. I was in such a rush to introduce myself last time I totally skipped exactly what sports gambling is. Some of you may have some experience in the area, but I want everyone to be able to read, discuss, and even question what I write here and it's tough to do that without at least knowing some basic terms. That means I won't put quite the same level of detail into my reasoning on my picks for tomorrow, but we've got all season for that.
Survivor Pool: You pick one team each week to win. It doesn't matter how much they win by, just that they win. If the team you pick wins, you get to move onto the next week. If you pick a loser, you're out. This is why it's called a survivor pool. The winner is declared when there's only one person left standing. The other wrinkle thrown in is that you can't pick the same team twice. I picked the Texans week one, so I couldn't have picked them this week. If Detroit wins this week then week three I won't be able to pick either one of those teams.
Spread: Most bets in the NFL are made 'against the spread' or ATS. You'll see it notated as DAL@WAS(-3). The (-3) after Washington means they are favored by three points. If you bet on Washington here they would need to win by four points or more in order for you to get paid on your bet. If Dallas wins or if Washington wins by less than three you lose your bet. If Washington wins by exactly three the bet is called a push and you have your original wager returned to you.
Money Line: Slightly more rare in the NFL, but these bets still happen. Here you're just worried about whether the team wins, margin of victory doesn't matter. In order for the house to keep an edge on it though, these bets aren't paid out even. You'll see it notated as MIA(+300)@NWE(-250). Again, whichever team has the negative number is the favorite. Whatever the number is, that's how much you need to be to win $100, so -300 means you'd have to bet $300 to win $100, so you'd cash your bet for $400 total. You'd get your original wager back plus your winnings. The plus is the underdog and that's the amount you'd win if you bet $100, so +250 means a $100 bet would pay $250 with a total cash of $350.
Total or Over/Under: In these you don't care who wins, you just worry about what the final score is. Let's say the total is set at 48.5. It's true that a half point can't be scored, but this way the bet can't be a tie, you'll either win or lose. Whatever the final score of the game is, you add the points from both teams together and if it's above 48.5 then the 'over' betters win and if it's below 48.5 then the 'under' betters win.
Parlay: This is where you combine several bets and you only get paid if all of them win. Since this is less likely the payouts are higher and increase with the more wagers you add into the parlay. These are considered great for entertainment value, and there's nothing wrong with betting for entertainment, but these are generally considered to have bad enough odds that they make being a regular winner much harder than it already is.
Teaser: Like a parlay you have to combine several bets and win all of them. The twist here is that you get to shift the lines by 6 points. Today for example I'll recommend teasing Baltimore and Detroit. Both teams are favored by 6 points, so since I get to move the line by 6 I get both of them as just pick'em games. But again, I have to win both in order for the bet to pay. These don't pay as well as parlays, but if you follow a couple simple rules with them, they can be profitable. More on those rules later, but for right now, let's get to my bets.
Season Record: Overall (5-1) Spread (4-0) Total (0-1) Teaser (1-0)
Det(pk)/Bal(pk) - I already mentioned this one above. Both of these teams are playing substantially inferior opponents. Detroit did a good job going in and getting a win at Indianapolis and Tennessee couldn't fend off an injury weakened Vikings team at home. There's a reason Detroit is my survivor pool pick. Baltimore is playing a Cleveland team which might be the worst team in the league but I'm always extremely hesitant to bet a road favorite in a divisional game to cover the spread. I think they can win outright though.
Houston(-2) - Houston did what they needed to do last week again Chicago and now host Kansas City. Yes, the Chiefs made a great comeback, but I don't put a lot of stock in the Chargers and good teams don't need 21 point second half comebacks to win. This is a pick that I was on the fence on, but several other people I respect have made this pick, so I'm tailing them a bit here.
Tampa Bay(+7) - Tampa already won a road divisional game and now they're a touchdown underdog against Arizona who couldn't protect their house against a severely depleted Patriots team. New England still had Belichick, but if Arizona is really the team we all thought they were, legit NFC title competitors, then they need to look better in that game. I'm not saying Arizona comes out on top here, but I do think that Winston led offense keeps it to within a possession.
ATL/OAK o48.5 - The total in Atlanta's game last week was 55. The total of Oakland's game last week was 69. Yet somehow this total only gets set at 48.5? Granted my one total bet so far was wildly off the mark, but this one seems too good to pass up.
Welcome! My name is Chris Spooner. I am an overly-passionate Dolphins fan who has many opinions about his team, and the sports landscape as a whole. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy voicing them.