Picking football games (against the spread)

This might sound shocking, but I have not placed a bet on football during the 2017-’18 season.

While that’s a pretty swell thing, I do miss the act of betting on football games. I miss betting on two totally irrelevant teams, then watching the game as if it were the goddam Super Bowl or something.

So as I continue to be a good boy and stay away from the action, it doesn’t stop me from writing about a handful of games that would have been my picks if I was betting. As always, gambling should be for entertainment purposes only. All home teams will be in CAPS:

  1. NORTH CAROLINA (+1.5) over Duke

Once an afterthought in NCAA football, Duke is currently 3-0 and unbelievably a road favorite (!) against their arch-rival, UNC. The Tar Heels are only 1-2, with home losses to California and a pretty good Louisville team. The original Vegas line opened at Duke -2.5, so the public jumped on UNC and the line dropped by a full point over the last week. There is nothing scientific about liking them to beat the Dukies, as my only rationale here is never — ever — bet on Duke football when they are laying points on the road.

The bet: $110 on North Carolina (+1.5) to win $100.

2. Old Dominion (+28.5) over VIRGINIA TECH

North Carolina’s only win of the year came, coincidentally, against ODU, and the final in that game was 53-23. UNC won by 30 points. Virginia Tech is superior to the Tar Heels, but the transitive property only applies to math. It means fuck all when picking against the spread, because the damn human element is involved. The human element here: next week VT plays #2 Clemson. What that means: there is a very real chance they look past an ODU team that they shouldn’t have any trouble dismantling. I expect them to win big against Old Dominion, but four touchdowns and a hook seems a little steep to me.

The bet: $110 on ODU (+28.5) to win $100.

 3. Texans (+14) over PATRIOTS

It’s no secret that New England is probably going to end up as the best team in the NFL again. Even after getting trashed at home against the Chiefs on opening night, they are the top-ranked team in the league according to both FiveThirtyEight and Number Fire. The head coach of Houston is a former assistant to Bill Belichick, and with his defense I think they can find a way to cover two touchdowns.

The bet: $100 on Houston (+14) to win $100.

4. Falcons (-3) over LIONS

Atlanta is probably the best team in the NFC again, and the Lions probably aren’t as good as their 2-0 record. (The two teams they beat are the Cardinals and Giants, who each look like bottom-feeders out of the gates.) If this game was in Atlanta the line would be at least a touchdown, I believe, and the fact that you can buy on the Falcons as a three-point favorite seems like a no-brainer.

The bet: $115 on the Falcons (-3) to win $100.

Bonus bets:

  • Falcons/Lions over 51 points (-115)
  • Dolphins/Jets under 43 points (-110)
  • BILLS (+3.5) over Broncos, under 39 points (-115)
  • PACKERS (+8) over Bengals, over 46.5 points (-110)

That’s 10 total bets. I will track the progress with another blog later this week.

Mostly, I need to get off politics. Other than my older brother no one seems to really give a shit about them, other than recycling tired right-wing talking points. What do I get out of informing myself if no one cares? I’ve been fucking starving for an honest conversation with someone likeminded, just to let me know there are others out there like me.

When I write about politics, it gets me more excited than when I write about anything else. I thought I loved baseball, basketball and football. None of those bring the same sense of satisfaction that politics do, probably because politics aren’t only for entertainment purposes. They have an actual impact on me. People can post on Facebook about Kylie Jenner being pregnant, or argue who between Drake and Kendrick Lamar is the more accomplished hip-hop artist. If they put even one percent of the same energy into paying attention to what actually matters, it would change the world.

Obviously this is a pipe dream. Obviously this is something that frustrates me. So the more effort of my own I put into trying to educate people, or challenge people, is time they would probably rather spend doing bullshit. Whatevs.

Sports is for entertainment purposes, and so when I write about sports the stakes are a lot lower. It’s more enjoyable. I’ve basically spent my life trading one vice for another, so if it is politics for picking football winners against the spread then that’s probably a win.

But we’ll see how the games go this weekend.

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