Picking football games (against the spread), volume iv

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. PANTHERS (-3) over Eagles, over 46.5 points

The Panthers are 4-1. The Eagles are 4-1. So this is one of those rare Thursday Night Football games that is worth a damn. (Now that I’ve said that the final score will probably be 13-12, or something uninspiring like that.)

I could be wrong about Carolina — because this NFL season is weird and fucked up — but I think they might be the best team in the NFC. They took a loss to the Saints a couple weeks ago, then promptly beat the Patriots and Lions on the road.

Philly has a good football team and they won’t be an easy out on Thursday. But their secondary is all banged up and the Carolina receivers are large and physical, and I’m betting on Cam Newton to bring this one home and maybe, possibly, make me look smart.

The bets: $115 on the Panthers (-3) to win $100; $105 on the over (46.5 total points) to win $100.

2. SAINTS (-4) over Lions, over 51 points

I really like to cheer for the Lions to win, presumably because I am a product of the 1990’s and Detroit is always going to feel like an underdog. Also, Matthew Stafford is a badass and Drew Brees is kind of a dick for not supporting the anthem protestors — but that’s besides the point.

The problem this week is that New Orleans is at home and coming off a Bye Week. Detroit has really had some slugfests through five weeks, and I’m guessing this will be one of those super high scoring games. I’d love to pull the trigger on Detroit +4 points, but my brain keeps telling me not to bet against Brees on his own turf.

The bets: $115 on the Saints (-4) to win $100; $110 on the over (51 total points) to win $100.

3. Steelers (+4.5) over CHIEFS, over 46 points

This is the fishy line of the week. I’ve seen it as high as Chiefs -4.5 points and as low as -3; either way, it doesn’t seem like nearly enough. Consider: the Steelers just lost by 21 points at home to the Jaguars, and have already lost at home to the Bears. The Chiefs, meanwhile, are the only undefeated team in the NFL and find new ways to win impressively each week. How is this line not at least KC -6?

Basically, all signs point to a close game this Sunday. I don’t know why Vegas thinks this, but that’s why it’s Vegas. They know more than I do. Kansas City has built a nice little season for itself up to this juncture, so they should be favored more heavily. Since they aren’t, and since Pittsburgh is the more deserperate team, I would roll with the points and see what happens.

The bets: $115 on the Steelers (+4.5) to win $100; $110 on the over (46 total points) to win $100.

4. Rams (+2.5) over JAGUARS (EVEN)

5. Miami (+11) over FALCONS (-110)

6. JETS (+10) over Patriots (-115)

7. TEXANS (-10) over Browns (-105)

That’s 10 bets, and we’ll see how it goes. As a general trend I expect we’ll start seeing more points across the league. Offenses have been together for 4 and 5 games apiece now, and as a result they should be on the same page more often. (I have no evidence for why I believe this to be true, but it does make logical sense.)


I’m currently attending a DUI program to satisfy the court’s sentence, which was reduced from DUI to wet-reckless.

Anyway, today was my day to talk about who I am and what I do, and what led me to this particular program. I basically just spoke for 20 minutes straight, not including a couple outbursts when I made light of cocaine and painkillers.

Public speaking has never been my bag, but I do know how to fake it. Some of the people who share their stories cry their fucking eyes out. I’m not really that guy, so I go about things a different way. Today, after saying I’m 27 and work as a craps dealer, born and raised in San Bernardino, I opened with:

“I never really tried any cool shit until I was 19,” just so everyone understood this story would be of the lighthearted variety.

It was mostly stuff I’ve referenced on this blog. There was a decent amount of Virginia Tech talk, the relationships I had with my family and best friend, the casino, and what led to the DUI the night of Trey’s wedding.

When I was finished, the counselor thanked me for my honesty. One of the older guys told me that I should take the program more seriously, since it seemed to him like I was just looking to “get it over with.”

At the end, the counselor asked me a question. The question went like this: “When you are by yourself, when you close your eyes, who do you see yourself as?”

I kind of stood there, like a dumbass, in front of everyone, because I didn’t have an acceptable answer for him. The question, I thought, seemed heavy.

I still don’t really know the answer, because in my head it’s so general. Of course when I close my eyes I see success; I see wealth; I see a wife and a couple kids and happiness. The problem is, I don’t think that’s the question that is being asked.

The frustration people have had, and have, with me, is that I come off as a waste of potential. When I was in detention in 8th grade — for showing up late to class too many times — my English teacher gave me a picture one of her old students made for her. It was just a piece of yellow paper, and at the bottom it said “Good Enough Isn’t”.

That’s kind of my life, or at least my mentality for life. I’ve never really needed to work on anything, like actually work, since most things came easy to me. I have always worked just hard enough to be acceptable.

My half-ass effort is typically sufficient. But people, in general, expect more from me — my family, my friends, women I have run around with.

But my behavior has never truly changed. I’ve grown up and all that stuff; I make money and I get along with most people. That is enough for me in the day-to-day. But the jury remains out on what I see when I close my eyes. Just a picture of a person I have yet to become.

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