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Picking football games (against the spread), volume vii

Hey! I have a computer that’s up and running again. I got a new MacBook, because MacBook is life and buying MacBook’s is just what I do. Now I can get back to the more important things in life, like picking NFL games for fun — since I’m definitely not betting again for a (little) while (probably).

Last week was the week of I Don’t Know What The Fuck I’m Supposed To Do, and this week is the week of Let’s Roll The Dice On Desperate Underdogs. Below are 10 selections, and the home teams are in CAPS:

1. Broncos (+8) over EAGLES (-115)

This is the most desperate pick of all the desperate picks, a desperate team that needs a win. Denver just changed their quarterback, so maybe that’ll light a fire in the offense and they can keep the game close. Ultimately, it might only take 17 points to win this matchup, and the Eagles will need to score more than that to cover an 8-point spread.

Really, though, I’m just looking for who can make the AFC West a competitive race. Right now the Chiefs (6-2) are runaway favorites to win the division; the Broncos (3-4), Raiders (3-5) and Chargers (3-5) are already 2 and 3 games behind in the loss column. If you wanted to bet on Kansas City to secure the division you would have to lay a whopping 8-to-1. In other words, you would have to bet $800 to win just $100. Every other team is at least a 10:1 underdog according to Bovada.

2. GIANTS (+4) over Rams (-115)

3. Bucs (+7) over SAINTS (-115)

Again, it’s desperation week. The Saints should win this game, but Jameis Winston and the Bucs offense can’t be bad all the time, can they? Broken clocks and what not. It’s a Division game, and I think Tampa can at least keep it close.

Surprisingly, the Saints came out of nowhere and actually have a good shot at winning the NFC South. This, mostly, because no other team in the division seems all that interested. The Panthers are playing uninspired, the Falcons are still in the Super Bowl coma, and the Buccaneers just straight up suck. But the NFL is weird, so I’m guessing this the week Tampa Bay decides to show up.

4. PANTHERS (+2) over Falcons (-110)

5. TITANS (-3.5) over Ravens (-110)

6. Bengals (+6) over JAGUARS (-115)

7. SEAHAWKS (-7.5) over Redskins (-105)

I will not ride with Washington again this season. I’ve been burned, and I’ve learned my lesson.

8. COWBOYS (-2) over Chiefs (-115)

Vegas thinks this is going to be a shootout, something like 28-26 (the o/u is 54). I think it pretty much has to be, since the Chiefs can’t stop anyone on defense and the Cowboys strength, its running game, is Kansas City’s weakness.

The Chiefs have no serious competition in the AFC West at the moment, so they don’t need this game the way Dallas does. The Cowboys are already in the hole in their own division because the Eagles are running away and hiding. Look for Dallas to light it up and win a game in the 30’s.

9. Raiders (-3) over DOLPHINS (-120)

10. Lions (-3) over PACKERS (+105)

Overall record against the spread: 34-24-2 (58.6%)

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World Fucking Series

It was 2011 when the Rangers made the World Series for the second consecutive season. The year before they lost in five games to the San Francisco Giants, who would go on to win titles in 2012 and 2014 as well.

In 2011 the Rangers had assembled the most talented team in MLB. I’m talking peak Josh Hamilton, the best season of Mike Napoli’s career, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Elvis Andrus… I could basically comb through each spot on the 25 man roster and it would be occupied with someone good.

The starting pitching was also pretty good. The bullpen, with all of Neftali Feliz, Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Koji Uehara, was great.

General Manager Jon Daniels, the architect of the Rangers sharp ascension, essentially made the roster dummy-proof. That detail is important, since the guy who managed the team on the field — Ron Washington — was regularly regarded as one of the two- or three-worst tactical managers in MLB.

He couldn’t fuck up the lineup card because pretty much everyone in the lineup could hit. He couldn’t fuck up a call to the bullpen because pretty much everyone in the bullpen — but particularly his few most trusted guys —had nasty stuff. (Ron still found ways to screw up, but I wouldn’t blame either of the World Series losses squarely on him. Even though some do.)

So you get the point. Texas was pretty damn strong that year. They comfortably won the American League West, beat the Rays 3-1 in the Division Series, and defeated a Justin Verlander/Max Scherzer/Miguel Cabrera-led Tigers team 4-2 in the AL Championship Series. They then went on to face St. Louis in the World Series, a club that barely snuck into the playoffs as an 83-win Wild Card team. (This was the final year of the old, four-team playoff field. In 2012 they implemented the winner-take-all Wild Card format.)

I don’t think about this series very often, and I probably talk about it even less. In a Sports Fan kind of way it still hurts. And you’ll understand, surely, since in every meaningful way it was the most painful series, and more specifically Game 6, in my life watching teams play ball. Sports was never, and never will be, the same again.

Because of the silly home-field advtange rule, the one that made the All Star Game winner the host of the World Series (another item that has since been changed), the 83–win Cardinals hosted the 96-win Rangers. The two teams split those first two games in St. Louis. The series went back to Texas for games 3, 4, and 5.

I don’t remember much from Game 3 because that was the night Trey’s older brother got married, and there weren’t any TVs at the venue. I updated it on my phone, just smashing the refresh button on ESPN dot com. But it was the only game of the series that wasn’t worth watching, really. So the timing was lucky for me. Albert Pujols hit three HRs, and the Cardinals won 17-7 or some shit like that.

Down 2-1 in the series doubt started creeping in, but my spirit wasn’t broken. I knew the Rangers had the better team, and it always came back to that with me. People love can-do narratives and cute stories to explain away the cold hard boring truth, but I always roll with the talent. Feel good, feel better, tell yourself what you need to. The reality is all that matters.

The Rangers took Game 4 and Game 5, and traveled back to St. Louis with a 3-2 lead in the series. Game 6 had all the makings of Texas Rangers glory, and a first World Series for one young man from California who was as loyal and dedicated as anybody, circa 1997.

So this was it. The Rangers led 7-5 with two outs and two men on it the bottom of the 9th. This was Game 6, now. Neftali Feliz, Texas’s closer who threw 100 mph before every major league bullpen had multiple guys who pitched that hard, was on the mound.

Within one strike of immortality, Feliz threw his hardest pitch of the night, a fastball off the outside corner to the right-handed David Freese. In a quick stroke, like a guy throwing his bat out there to save his club’s season, Freese hit it opposite field, off the base of the wall in right — a play known infamously as The Ball Nelson Cruz Should Have Caught — which was good for a game-tying triple. The score was 7-7.

That by itself would have been heartbreaking enough. Freese ties the game with a triple, the next guy drives him in, hallelujah that’s all she wrote. That would have hurt.

Only, that’s not what happened. The Rangers stranded that runner, and the game went to extra innings. Texas still had a chance to win.

Miraculously, even after the punch to the gut, the Rangers retook the lead. Josh Hamilton smacked a two-run homer in the top of the next inning, and again Texas had a two-run lead.

Surely the Cardinals couldn’t come back from a two run deficit twice, right? That shit would be ridiculous.

And since I’m writing this, you know that’s exactly what happened. Again the Rangers had two outs, and again there were two strikes. This time it was Scott Feldman pitching, and it was Lance Berkman who got the hit — a single, of the broken bat variety, off of a well-placed cutter riding in on his hands. Two runners scored. The game was tied again.

That’s what happened. David Freese went on to hit a walk-off HR against Mark Lowe in the 12th. Cardinals won 10-9, and the World Series went to Game 7.

That night I was crestfallen. You can’t get any closer to the mountaintop, to winning a World Series, and the Rangers were there twice in a span of about 25 minutes. Just one more strike, that’s all they needed. Twice. And twice they were knocked down to a rung more closely resembling the middle, which at that point felt like the lowest that low could go.

At some point during the 9th inning, and again in the 10th, the game turned into a life experience. And when Texas inevitably lost, there was some sense of shell-shock. It all happened so quickly, and in retrospect it seems like a devestating movie playing in slow motion, and forever. The details of Game 6 are still so fresh and vivid to me, even six years after the fact.

Reminders, I grant you, of how good life was as a 21 year-old, that this one baseball game held such magnitude and importance to who I was and how I spent my time every year.

I texted my friend that night, the one I felt compelled with to share all these things that haunted me so, and I said there was no point to watching Game 7. The World Series was over. There was just no way the Rangers were going to win at that point.

And I got called a quitter. I was being a coward. These were my guys; this was my team; if I turned my back on them then, what kind of a fan did that make me?

The next night I found something to do. I went out. Game 7 was on, but I spent little time watching it. Maybe a couple innings, maybe a couple hitters. I don’t really remember.

The Rangers lost that 6-2, and lost the World Series 4 games to 3. So, I was right. My instincts were right.

And yet, as someone who doesn’t regret how I have gone about my business, who tries to learn from these things, I absolutely should have watched Game 7. I should have been big enough to see my guys go down, even though that’s not the outcome I wanted.

The following season, in 2012, the Rangers acquired Yu Darvish and he became a mainstay in their rotation, which is right where he was in 2017 when they traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Last night, Yu Darvish started Game 7 of the World Series for the Dodgers, and he pitched terribly. The Astros, Texas’s biggest rival, won the World Series 4 games to 3.

So, really, everything is about the Rangers. From this prism we have come full circle, from Texas losing the World Series in 2011 to acquiring Yu Darvish in 2012 to trading him in 2017 to having him, of all pitchers, on the mound as the starter when the Dodgers lost their own Game 7.

This is sad to me.

Nothing will take away the pain of the 2011 series with the Cardinals, but Darvish had the chance to make amends. Like it would have been a Ranger winning the World Series, even though he was no longer pitching for Texas.

Baseball will break your heart. The Texas Rangers will break your heart. Yu Darvish, through his successes and failures since coming to the States in 2012, will break your heart.

The only thing that is for sure, is that I love baseball more than baseball loves me. It’s an unrequited love to the fullest extent.

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Picking football games (against the spread) in review, volume vi

I recently made 10 NFL picks against the spread (ATS). This post is to take account of those picks.

1. Dolphins (+3) over Ravens

Actual score: Ravens 40, Dolphins 0

Outcome: Loss

2. Patriots (-7.5) over Chargers

Actual score: Patriots 21, Chargers 13

Outcome: Win

3. 49ers (+13) over Eagles

Actual score: Eagles 33, 49ers 10

Outcome: Loss

4. Atlanta (-5) over Jets

Actual score: Atlanta 25, Jets 20

Outcome: Push

5. Panthers (+2) over Bucs

Actual score: Panthers 17, Bucs 3

Outcome: Win

6. Raiders (+3) over Bills

Actual score: Bills 34, Raiders 14

Outcome: Loss

7. Washington (+2) over Cowboys

Actual score: Cowboys 33, Washington 19

Outcome: Loss

8. Saints (-9) over Bears

Actual score: Saints 20, Bears 12

Outcome: Loss

9. Steelers (-3) over Lions

Actual score: Steelers 20, Lions 15

Outcome: Win

10. Chiefs (-7.5) over Broncos

Actual score: Chiefs 29, Broncos 19

Outcome: Win

Volume vi record: 4-5-1

Overall record against the spread: 34-24-2 (58.6%)

I called it in a recent blog because I already knew: this was a difficult week picking football games. For the second time, and second week in a row, I had a losing batch of picks.

The correlation makes perfect sense: as Vegas has gotten smarter with its lines over the last few weeks, my winning percentage has fallen. I can’t help the first part of that equation. The more games that get played, the more information they have, and thus the more difficult it is to beat the house.

I need to stop betting on the Redskins. They hoodwinked me on Monday Night Football about a month ago when they gave the Chiefs a good run in Kansas City. The last two weeks I have picked them (plus the points) against divisional foes, and they’ve let me down both times. I will try to adjust accordingly.

Three of the more dependable teams have been the Chiefs, Steelers, and Jets. I’ve correctly picked the Chiefs five weeks in a row. I’ve picked the Steelers to cover three weeks straight, and I’ve been rewarded with three wins. Meanwhile the Jets, who are supposed to be bad but are playing Not That Bad, have delivered back-to-back pushes. Which isn’t a loss!

Officially, yesterday I bet a three-team moneyline parlay. I picked the Falcons (-150) to beat the Jets, the Eagles (-800) to beat the 49ers, and the Panthers (+110) to beat the Falcons. That bet paid off at about 3-to-1, which was a decent come up. I only wish I had bet more than $50.

In the afternoon I took a shot at a two-team parlay against the spread, which didn’t really matter since neither the Redskins (+3) or Seahawks (-7) could come through for me. Both those bets were even money, so the parlay would have paid exactly 3:1. Instead, I lost $50. Parlays suck. I took Pittsburgh (-3.5) in the evening game and they won a few bucks for me.

Overall I’m hitting at around a 58% clip, which is good. If I went back and did the math it would probably be worth about +150, or roughly a blackjack. That’s a good return after six weeks and sixty picks.

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A reminder about Trump and Russia, and America

So, today is the day. Today is the day that Democrats have been waiting for since Donald Trump got elected President of the United States.

Former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has been criminally indicted by Robert Mueller on corruption charges. This means something, I’m sure, but it does not prove collusion with Russia, though I doubt very much that it will be reported as such by the mainstream media.

Here’s the thing: Manafort’s corruption is not news. Back in February The Intercept exposed the money laundering scheme, which involved off-shore companies and $19 million in New York real estate purchased over a five-year period. This is a problem, as is most illegal activity, but it isn’t damning evidence of anything we don’t already know. This is normal corruption, the same thing that has been enjoyed by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama before.

But let’s take this back. Let’s do a thought experiment real quick:

Let’s say the Democratic leadership gets exactly what it wants. Let’s say Manafort is only the first domino to fall, and eventually Donald Trump gets impeached for all this Russia stuff.

1. Does it change that Hillary Clinton and the DNC were caught cheating Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic Primary?

2. Does it change that the Democrats are still fighting tooth and nail to protect the failing Obamacare, and denying Medicare For All to the will of the people?

3. Does it change that, since the election of Trump, the Democrats have done nothing meaningful to change its unpopular policies?

4. Does it change that, despite the fact that Hillary received more than three million votes, the Republicans won the electoral college in a landslide?

5. Does it change that the Democrats have moved even further right since Trump’s election, by virtue of allowing PAC money in the DNC?

6. Does it change that the DNC deliberately refused to fund Progressive candidates during special elections over the last year?

7. Does it change that, just last week, the DNC purged the only four Bernie supporters who were on the leadership council?

These things really happened. I will grant you that I have been skepical of any meaningful revelations coming from the Trump/Russia thing, only because since the beginning I thought it was an excuse from the Hillary campaign to remove blame from her for losing the 2016 election to a game show host. Probably the most embarrassing thing that could happen to anyone, ever.

Democratic leadership like Obama and Clinton and Nancy Pelosi and Tom Perez don’t like me. Or, at least they wouldn’t if they knew me.

Republican leadership thinks I’m a communist bastard, I imagine.

But as per usual, I’m on no one’s team here. I just want to see evidence. Democrats can jump with joy at what comes of all this bullshit, and Republicans can all kick and scream and call it fake news. Whatever.

I’m more concerned with the Democrats, right or wrong about Russia, refusing to change their corporate-friendly policies. They still don’t want single-payer healthcare. They still don’t want to end the disastrous trade deals that have turned working class people into Trump supporters. They don’t want to end fracking. They don’t want to end the wars. They don’t want kids to go to college for free.

What they want is what their donors tell them to want. The same can also (obviously) be said about their GOP counterparts, but there is one distinct difference:

The Democrats nefariously campaign like they are on the side of the labor, or everyday man and woman. They say all the things that make people feel all warm and cozy inside, then when they are elected they go right ahead and pass right-wing legislation to help their millionaire friends.

So like I said, this Paul Manafort stuff could lead to something bigger. But right now it’s old news, and there’s a long way to travel and a lot of dots that need to be connected before anything real happens to a Donald Trump, who predictably can get absolutely nothing done. Almost an impossible idea given that the Republicans have control of all three chambers.

So while the Democrats jump with joy, remember that none of this really means anything right now. It’s really just another chapter in the story of How Democrats Can Distract You instead of talking about how they failed the American people in 2016 by running Hillary Clinton — the only candidate capable of losing to Trump.

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Picking football games (against the spread), volume vi

I’m not gonna lie to you. This week is easily the toughest I’ve had picking games, mostly due to the fact that Las Vegas is getting sharper with its lines. This week’s slate features six spreads of at least 7.5 points, and just four road favorites.

Anyway, I expect my 30-19-1 record to take a meaningful hit this week, but here goes nothing. All home teams in CAPS:

1. Dolphins (+3) over RAVENS (-115)

2. PATRIOTS (-7.5) over Chargers (-110)

3. 49ers (+13) over EAGLES (-115)

Aside last week’s 40-10 loss to the Cowboys, San Francisco was having a great season against the spread. Still winless in their overall record, the 49ers are actually 5-2 ATS in 2017.

The Eagles have only one loss on the season, but they just came off a big divisional win against Washington and I’m betting they are due for an emotional letdown this week. Take the points.

4.  Atlanta (-5) over JETS (-110)

5. Panthers (+2) over BUCS (-110)

I still haven’t left the Carolina bandwagon, even though I probably ought to. Cam Newton is coming off another bad loss, and we’re kind of getting into the Put Up Or Shut Up portion of the season.

I haven’t paid enough attention to Tampa Bay this year, I just know they haven’t been very good. Truth be told, I don’t think their situation is relevant in this matchup. To me it’s as simple as the Panthers being the better team, and if they show up they will win.

6. Raiders (+3) over BILLS (-135)

7. WASHINGTON (+2) over Cowboys (-105)

8. SAINTS (-9) over Bears (-110)

9. Steelers (-3) over LIONS (-105)

10. CHIEFS (-7.5) over Broncos (even money)

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The scorpion and the frog

Have you ever heard the story of the scorpion and the frog? If you already have, that’s cool. If you haven’t, it goes something like this:

One day there’s this frog hanging out in a river, and the water keeps rising. On a nearby lilipad is a scorpion, just helpless, recognizing its own mortality.

So the water keeps rising. The frog seems content paddling along, even with these adverse conditions. The scorpion, meanwhile, is pretty fucked. Once the water reaches a certain level it will submerge. And probably die.

So the scorpion makes a plea to the frog, asks for a ride to the other side of the river, to safety. The frog laughs, asks “Why would I trust you? If I give you a ride you are just going to sting me.”

The water rises some more, and the scorpion becomes frantic. “Please,” it says. “If you don’t help I’m going to drown. I promise I won’t hurt you.”

Finally the frog obliges, swims over to the lilipad just in time to rescue the scorpion. The scorpion hops on the frog’s back, and they begin their journey to the other side of the river.

As they make their way across, suddenly the frog feels a pinch on its back, realizes it has just been stung. “What the hell?” the frog asks. “You just stung me, now we’re both going to die.”

”I’m sorry,” the scorpion responds. “It’s just my nature.”

When I was younger, like a decade ago, I had this weird obsession with capitalizing Heart and Nature whenever I wrote (online or otherwise). I stole it from Nathanial Hawthorne, because there was a time when he was an influence on my writing.

There’s heart and there’s nature. I have spent the better part of the last ten years trying to understand what made me the person I am, and how I can learn from the errors I’ve made to carve out a better path moving forward.

What I can’t avoid is which character, between the scorpion and the frog, I am. I’m the scorpion. I have always been the scorpion. I always will be the scorpion. It’s just my… you get it.

I took a personality test when I was a junior in high school. It turned out I was the only kid in my English class — or any of that teacher’s English classes that year — with this particular personality type. That same day I learned it’s the same personality type that every starting NFL quarterback has: ESTP. (Apparently Donald Trump and I have something in common.)

I take the Kiersy test every couple of years just to make sure I’m keeping it real with myself, and the results always show the same thing. I am an ESTP, and there is nothing I can do to change that.

As such, it’s my nature to press buttons and push boundaries, and oftentimes it puts me in situations I have to problem-solve my way out of. Almost like life by itself is too boring, or not nearly enough, and I am playing a game within the game.

This isn’t all the time, of course. It’s not even a conscious thing. More so, it’s something I have reflected on months — or years — after the fact, when I see my self and my actions more clearly.

You can call it luck, call it white privaledge, call it whatever you want: I have received enough second and third chances to fill a delicate hourglass. I have fought for every meaningless inch, have argued every petty issue on the table. And I could probably persuade myself that I’ve lost that fight to this point, but only because I’ve never settled for a loss when I would have been wise to.

There was this thing my teacher read to the class, about my specific personality type. He said if the ESTP doesn’t have honest, reputable work, they are more prone to making money under the table, or illegally. I grew up on Good Fellas so I thought it was badass at the time.

Now that I’m 27, I don’t think it’s as cool. And the reason I don’t think it’s as cool is because it’s probably true. It’s probably dead-on as a matter of fact.

I used to know a girl who said I seemed like the type to get married young and have kids. That I didn’t seem like the type of person who would get tattoos. And she volunteered that, no matter what, she didn’t want such a normal life.

It all seems kind of stupid now, but I originally took these observations as disrespectful. Don’t ask me why. I assume more than anything I felt like I had some sort of control, and I didn’t appreciate anyone else telling me who I am or what kind of person I was, or seemed like.

Yes, the idea that I’m 27 and unmarried probably says something about me to some. The idea that I have a bunch of tattoos probably says something about me to others.

But a normal life, as fine as that is, was never what I signed up for. I have written a good amount about why having high expectations is something to strive for. Because even if you fail or fall short, there is a strong chance you will be in a better situation than if you carried no expectation to begin with.

I consider myself a reasonable person with fairly reasonable goals and ambitions. That’s the simple version of me, and most people, I’d guess.

I think if you ran a million simulations of my life there would be times I became a Congressman or Senator, other times I became a lawyer or engineer. I’m sure a decent percentage of the million simulations I would have ended up a professor, or teacher of some kind. This range of outcomes was (and is) right in my wheelhouse and probably represents the mean.

But I think about myself as the scorpion, what’s in my nature, and I do have some problems. That must seem so big of me to admit, I know. A feeling I can’t seem to shake is that, I imagine, a healthy portion of my million simulations ended up in prison for some white collar crime, or dead from substance abuse. As much as 15 or 20 percent, I would guess.

This is a thought exercise more than anything. I don’t long for a life of crime, or of overdosing on some really good shit. It’s just an honest assessment.

If this was sports and I was an up-and-coming prospect, I would be considered someone with a high ceiling but a dangerously low floor. I’m either bang or bust. A lottery ticket, essentially.

With where I’m at right now, I would say I’m doing pretty well for myself. But that’s life. Most young people, not so unlike you or I, have a way of convincing themselves they are doing well for their age. That, obviously, gets leveled off by the idea that we still have so far we need to go to get where we want to be.

But if you are here, alive, then you at least have a puncher’s chance. We all have a million simulations, yet the only one that really counts is the one that’s ongoing. That YOLO shit.

Who knows what is left to prove, or who is left to prove it to. Some of my biggest motivations derive out of pride and spite, but both are designed to convey the same message: go fuck yourself.

I’m not totally sure where this simulation is headed, but I feel like I have an idea. One way or another I am going to get ahead, and I have no plans of looking back when that moment arrives. No matter where you get your motivation I only hope you can do the same.

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Picking football games (against the spread) in review, volume v

Last week I made ten football picks, and one four-team parlay bet, against the spread. This post is to take account of those picks.

1. Raiders (+3) over Chiefs

Actual score: Raiders 31, Chiefs 30

Outcome: Win

2. Panthers (-3) over Bears

Actual score: Bears 17, Panthers 3

Outcome: Loss

3. Falcons (+3) over Patriots

Actual score: Patriots 23, Falcons 7

Outcome: Loss

4. Washington (+4.5) over Eagles

Actual score: Eagles 34, Washington 24

Outcome: Loss

5. Broncos (+1.5) over Chargers

Actual score: Chargers 21, Broncos 0

Outcome: Loss

6. Steelers (-5.5) over Bengals

Actual score: Steelers 29, Bengals 14

Outcome: Win

7. Rams (-3.5) over Cardinals

Actual score: Rams 33, Cardinals 0

Outcome: Win

8. Giants (+6) over Seahawks

Actual score: Seahawks 24, Giants 7

Outcome: Loss

9. Cowboys (-6) over 49ers

Actual score: Cowboys 40, 49ers 10

Outcome: Win

10. Jets (+3) over Dolphins

Actual score: Dolphins 33, Jets 30

Outcome: Push

Four-team parlay: Vikings (-5.5) over Ravens, Rams (-3.5) over Cardinals, Cowboys (-6) over 49ers, Broncos (+1.5) over Chargers

Outcome: 3-1 (Loss)

Volume v record: 4-5-1

Overall record against the spread: 30-19-1 (61.2%)

So two things happened this week. I went to the casino and won a thousand bucks playing craps, and I invested 90% of my Roth IRA account into Ralph Lauren at about $90 per share. It’s down like 80 cents today.

Playing craps was fucking awesome. I took a girl to the casino for a couple drinks, but by the time I finished my first I was ready to hit the tables. I taught her how to play craps six months ago or so, so she was playing the Don’t Pass. Naturally I gave her a hard time about that, just to cury favor from the dealers and players already at the table.

I took out $300, and the dice table was back and forth. I got up a couple hundred then gave it back. With $50 left I told the dealers “I’m gonna go make some money playing blackjack and be right back.”

So I went to a nearby table, bet $50 and won. Then I stacked my bet to $100 and got a blackjack. The next hand I bet $75 and converted a double down, which was good for $150. I tipped the dealer a $25 chip and headed back to the craps table with around $400, where I was greeted with laughter because I had only been gone for like one minute.

That’s when we got on a pretty good roll. I started out with $96 across (including the point), and by the time the roll finished I had $100 each on the 4 and 10, $150 each on the 5 and 9, and $210 each on the 6 and 8. I left like $1,000 on the line, basically.

But in my rack in front of me I had like $1,500, which was helped nicely by hitting a $50 hard six (parlayed from a $5 original bet). The dealers must have made $500 or $600 off me in an hour. Every roll I was betting some longshot for them, and they hit a gang of them.

After that I gave a couple hundred to the girl I was with so she could play baccarat, which is extremely random for a young white girl. It seems like 75% of bac players are old Asian men. She lost the $200, but it was fun to watch.

So gambling has been on my mind again lately. Not sure what that means, but it’s happening. With how aggressively I play blackjack and craps it’s not a sustainable model to gamble with any frequency. But I made a few bucks, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I actually made money at the casino. But that’s why I only go every couple-few months.

On the whole, I’ve been pretty solid at picking NFL games this season. Aside from my losing parlay this week, and taking free money betting on the Titans over the Colts last week, I haven’t actually capitalized off picking said games.

But this is fun for me. I can’t go to the casino again for a while, for reasons I mentioned a couple paragraphs ago, and I don’t have intentions of throwing money away betting against the spread. I still get some satisfaction off picking games on my blog, especially since I’m well above .500 this season, even without the rush of having my money ride on the outcomes.