Chris’ Gambling Column Week 16

Only two weeks remain in the regular season and I have one piece of advice to give: don’t take it for granted. If you’re like me, you love the NFL and look forward to Sundays just so you can crash on your couch and watch the games. Even though there will still be playoffs, it won’t be the same as having a full slate of 14 games in a day (and for 20 teams, they won’t even be in it).

Likewise, don’t take it for granted betting-wise. The postseason brings new challenges, as certain trends like coming out flat or looking ahead don’t really exist because teams truly have the “one game at a time” mentality. Different forms of analyzing need to be used for betting on playoff games, and sometimes you’ll still be surprised. So take advantage of the regular season while you still can. We don’t know what kind of football we’re going to get in 2015.

Five Star Bets

Broncos (-3.5) over BENGALS, Confidence Rating, 4.5/5

So Johnny Football made me look bad last week…time to go the other way and bet on a top QB, Peyton Manning. I’ve gotten burned picking against Denver before, so now I’m on their side. This will be Manning in primetime and a vaunted defense against Andy Dalton. And being that the Broncos absolutely need this game for homefield advantage (and they’ve got the Raiders next week), they’ll be on top of their game. Meanwhile, Cincinnati, the inferior team, just blew out Manziel in his first start, and the media is back on them. However, this is a sandwich game for the Bengals in between two important division games. They know that if they beat Pittsburgh next week, they’re in the playoffs, so this one doesn’t matter too much. I expect them to lay an egg against Peyton Football.

RAMS (-5) over Giants, Confidence Rating: 4/5

The Rams are coming off a close loss and have had ten days to prepare for this one. Not that they’ll really need it; their pass rush should destroy the Giants offensive line. People have faith in New York again after back-to-back wins and after seeing the promise of Odell Beckham Jr. But let’s look a little closer into those wins. They were over Tennessee and Washington, two teams in complete disarray, and they came right after an epic collapse in Jacksonville. Meanwhile, let’s not forget that St. Louis has been hot the past month or so, including a victory over the Broncos in the Edward Jones Dome, where they’ll be playing Sunday. The Rams are clearly the better team, and they should be pissed coming off a loss that should have been a win. Meanwhile, it’s time to take advantage of the public being back on the Giants.

Both bets: Bet $20, win $18.18; Bet $100, win $90.90

Tantalizing Teaser

JETS (+16.5) over Patriots, Confidence Rating, 4.5/5
The Jets showed they’re still fighting for Rex Ryan by beating the Titans, even if it hurts their draft stock. Remember, Geno Smith was a Nick Folk blocked field goal away from beating the Pats in Foxboro earlier this season. New York tends to play well against New England, and they should in this one, being that it’s Ryan’s swan song against the Pats, and he usually gives Belichick a run for his money. But keep in mind that this is the 2014 Jets and the 2014 Patriots, hence the teased line. New England is on a roll, but that’s way too many points on the road. Hopefully the Jets don’t crash and burn like they have money times this season.

SAINTS (PICK EM) over Falcons, Confidence Rating 4.5/5

This is yet another line that is fishy to me. In the past, lines like Steelers -4.5 at the Jets or Cardinals -3 at the Falcons made no sense at the time. Ben Roethlisberger was throwing six touchdowns on everyone and the Jets had hit rock bottom. Similarly, the Cardinals were covering left and right, while the Falcons were a mess. Despite any other factors, these lines were much too low, leading me to think that the opposite would happen. The Saints just blew out the Bears (cool!) and have ironically been miserable at home this year. They shouldn’t be favored by this many points over anyone. Meanwhile, Atlanta has gotten back on track, playing the Steelers and Packers close, and they know that if they lose this, their division hopes are over. So because this is so fishy, I have to go the other way and pick New Orleans. Just with a teased line though, I can’t trust the Saints fully yet.

REDSKINS (+14.5) over Eagles, Confidence Rating: 4/5

Well, here I am, betting Washington again…they actually covered the teased line last week, as my whole teaser hit (woohoo!). Now they get a reeling Eagles team that has lost two straight and doesn’t play as well on the road. The Redskins have a bad defense, but it can at least generate a pass rush that can continue to get turnovers from Mark Sanchez. It also seems like Robert Griffin III is now playing with a purpose. After turning in his best effort of the season last week, it seems like he knows what’s a stake for his future outlook in these two games. Philly needs this game more, but don’t underestimate Washington’s role of playing spoiler.

Two-team teaser: Bet $20, win $18.18; Bet $100, win $90.90

Three-team teaser: Bet $20, win $32; Bet $100, win $160

Moonshot Moneyline

Chiefs over STEELERS, REDSKINS over Eagles, Vikings over DOLPHINS, CARDINALS over Seahawks

Get ready for a wild moonshot moneyline with some big payouts…Running on all cylinders, the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers are bound to disappoint, especially since they can lock up a postseason bid with a Week 17 home win over a team they crushed a few weeks ago. Kansas City needs this game much more, and although I worry about them falling behind in this one, their offense should be able to take care of the horrid Steelers defense…This is a revenge game for Washington, who lost to the Eagles in a surprisingly close game in the beginning of the season. In that game, it was Foles vs. Cousins. This one is Sanchez vs. Griffin. I’m not really sure which matchup the Redskins would rather have but it could be the latter…Miami is basically done, and they’ve been flat for the past month. Meanwhile, it looks like the Vikings are truly interested in playing hard for their coach, Mike Zimmer, even though they can’t make the playoffs. The same can’t be said for Joe Philbin, who could be on his way out…This game is a complete shot in the dark. Should Ryan Lindley and Kerwynn Williams be able to beat that Seattle front seven and the Legion of Boom? Absolutely not. But the line (Seahawks (-8.5.) is way too many points to give to Arizona at home, especially when they’ve somehow found ways to win/cover all season long.

Bet $5, win $733.30; Bet $10, win $1,466.61; Bet $20, win $2,933.22

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