Bad Beats: Listen To Peter King At Your Own Peril

A weekly look at smart plays, oddball propositions and all your tales of gambling woe.

Handicap Zone

It's hot-seat week in the NFL, and a loss could doom any number of coaches, whether they cover the spread or not. For the rest of us, here's your guide to a profitable week 4. (My picks are underlined.)

Giants -9 at Chiefs:
A Giant blowout is just too obvious an outcome here. Even Peter King, who openly condemns gambling, thinks this line is ridiculously light. Remember, at any moment the Giants can play down to the level of their opponent (around this time last year, the Giants were cruising to a 5-0 start when they lost a sloppy Monday night game to the Browns). The lesson: No Eli Manning team should ever lay 9 points on the road, especially when Peter King is backing them.

Bengals -6 at Browns:
While it's fashionable right now to hate on Eric Mangini, it's also extremely correct: He's an arrogant, antisocial cheapskate who can't motivate his players. Regardless, when your team is a 6-point home underdog to the Bengals, you've either hit rock- bottom or the Bengals are actually improved (this year it's both). Cris Collinsworth observed on this week's Inside the NFL that, unlike the girls he's conquered, the Bengal's defense was finally willing to "hit back " against the Steelers last Sunday, thanks to the relentless play of Rey Maualuga and Roy Williams. Collinsworth also began a promising anecdote with "Boomer Esiason sent some girls over to my hotel room..." but then quickly cut himself off when Warren Sapp started cracking up.

Jets +7 at Saints:
This week's best game may also be the hardest to handicap: Brees & Co against the Jets' shut-down secondary (minus injured DBs Lito Shepard and Donald Strickland). "With all those DBs on the [injury] report, you would think I would feel nervous, but we're only playing New Orleans," Rex Ryan Told the Daily News. Who knew Rex was so cheeky? Still, sarcasm will not cover Lance Moore. Oh, and Gregg Williams has the Saints playing some aggressive defense now, too.

Seahawks +10.5 at Colts:
For a banged-up defense that just lost Dwight Freeney, the Colts are giving a ton of points to a respectable Seattle club. Last Sunday night, the Cardinals wrote the formula for getting embarrassed by Indy: Drop back 52 times, abandon the run and invite their freakish defensive ends to tee off on your immobile Quarterback. Even Jim Mora, who gets his rocks off bashing kickers, knows better than come with that junk. Plus, Seneca Wallace is not the statue Kurt Warner is, and Seattle can actually run the ball this year behind a refreshed "Orange" Julius Jones, averaging 5 yards per carry.

Packers +3.5 at Vikings:
Seemingly every time these two teams play, the home team is favored by about a field goal. But the Packer's strengths—drop back passing and pass defense—won't play well this time in Minnesota. Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 12 times this year, and that number figures to increase with Jared Allen and the Williams Sisters flying around the turf. Even scarier, Chad Clifton has missed practice all week, so interior guard Daryn Colledge may have to block Jared Allen...And there's some subplot here, too. Whatever it is, I'm sure Drew has it covered.

Dolphins +1 at Bills:
Dick Jauron, the Vegas favorite to be the first head coach fired, has been shafted by some bad luck: His secondary has been depleted by an unlikely combination of burglary, vandalism and injury. And suddenly, with Whitner, McKelvin and Scott sitting out, Terrance McGee is the last man standing in the Bills' secondary. McGee was torched by Ted Ginn for 175 yards in his last game against the Dolphins. This time Chad Henne will be throwing the football, meaning God knows what. Also, Marshawn Lynch returns from his gun suspension and is reportedly ready to resume "Beast Mode." All those variables make this game completely unbettable.

Raiders +9 at Texans:
Another loss to the Raiders could spell the end for Gary Kubiak. The Texans came into their last game against Oakland touchdown favorites, and got whipped 27-13. Nnamdi Asomugha held Andre Johnson to 19 yards on 2 catches. Not much has changed since that game in December, only now Steve Slaton is useless, the Texans are dead last against the run and the Raiders finally have Darren McFadden at full health to ram it down their throats. As long as their perpetulally-worsening QB's responsibilities are kept to a minimum, the Raiders should be able to chew enough clock to keep this one close...If they can stop Kevin Walter.

Ravens +1 at Patriots:
Speaking of dynamic whites, Wes Welker is back in town. Welker has missed the last two weeks with a knee injury and will be a game-changer if he's 100%. His stand-in, the possibly Jewish Julian Edleman has done a good job impersonating a possession receiver, but Brady's true white knight is Welker; nobody is better at bailing Brady out of those maddening camouflaged blitzes—which Baltimore will likely bring on Sunday. Logic points to the Ravens winning, but this could be one of those rare games best enjoyed without gambling.

Chargers +6.5 at Steelers:
There's a growing sense of panic in Pittsburgh, as the Steelers haven't covered a spread since—waddaya know— last year's divisional playoff against San Diego. The two teams have shared some historic gambling moments, all of them ending in Steeler victories. But with Troy Polamalu now out of the picture, San Diego is finally poised to take revenge by exploiting Pittsburgh's 15th ranked pass defense—if they can overcome a bucket of injuries and Norv Turner.

Cowboys -3 at Broncos:
The Broncos are frauds, despite Josh McDaniels riding a cushy schedule to early success. Their fraudulent run defense will finally be exposed this week when the Cowboys' big O-line wears them down, Marion Barber's health notwithstanding.

Rams +10 at 49ers:
Frank Gore's out, Kyle Boller's in! No wonder this game is tied with Bucs/Redskins for lowest point total of week (37) and most unwatchable game of all time.

Bad Beats: Readers Share Their Tales Of Woe

I can give my 2 worst bad beats, and they are both doozies.

1) In 2006, I'm playing a 4 or 5 team teaser (can't remember at this point). My first game up is Michigan St. vs Northwestern. I've got State (I think like pick 'em or -1). Northwestern goes up 35-3, and I figure I'm screwed. State then goes on to pull off the biggest comeback in the history of college football to get the win by 3. I win the other games, and am left with Miami Fl. vs Duke, and I've got Miami like -9 or -10 (this is when they stunk, but its Duke, right?). Miami is up by 6 with about 5 seconds to go, and Duke is on the 5 yard line going for a touchdown. Only way I win is a pick 6. Sure enough, Duke throws a quick out, Miami picks it off, and the corner starts running for the end zone with nobody in front of him. I jump off the couch and start screaming and dancing. How cold this be happening? I mean, nobody actually wins with these kind of great stories! Then, at about the 40 yard line, he starts screwing around with his
teammate, and inexplicably FALLS DOWN. Game over. I lose. I have fucking hated Miami since I was a kid, and this just shows you should never fucking bet on a team you hate, because having to root for them will screw you.

2) Just to show what a complete degenerate loser I am, last march madness I had a 2 team parlay, and after winning game 1 my 2nd game was a CIT (one of those ridiculous post season tourneys that's below the NIT). I had Oakland University on the money line to beat Bradley. The game wasn't on TV, so I was reduced to watching the gamecast on ESPN.com and watching the refresh on the play-by-play. Oakland is up 2 after a ball goes out of bounds, and the refresh says the clock goes to zero. I assume I have won and shut the laptop off. Then next morning, I'm watching the AM Sportscenter, and see that with like .4 seconds left, Bradley hit a 70+ foot shot at the buzzer to win by 1. I actually got beat on a low-level-only-degenerate-addicts-would-bet game on a full court shot. There is no way a single person in the entire world won any money on that shot, but I lost. Gambling sucks.

By the way, I kicked ass today with U of Minnesota, Boise St., and Middle Tennessee St. And lost on Miami again vs Va Tech. Obviously, I learn my lessons well. (Ed)

I am willing to venture a guess that this is the only letter you will get from a guy that was hoping for a push.

1995, I am a freshman and living in the dorms. Duke-North Carolina that night, and about ten guys on my floor and I are ready to take the Heels over a totally undermanned Duke team—in all, we had about 600 on the game. I had 75 of my own hard-earned (and by that I mean I opened up the envelope that had my student loan check) cash on the game. Not a lot of money now, but to an 18 year old, thats like betting your first born.

Carolina is laying 3 points. It was a lock! However, Duke did not get the memo. Its a fantastic game throughout, back and forth. The game goes into overtime.

Carolina is up 3 with about 3 seconds left in OT, and Serge Zwikker gets fouled. Two shots. This fuckstick misses both, so at this point, my friends and I are pissed that we arent going to end up covering, but at least we arent losing.....

After a timeout, Jeff fucking Capel gets the inbounds pass and heaves a shot from half-court.......and drains it. Double overtime.

Ok, so we're not dead yet. Carolina rises above the surge that the Capel shot gave the Devils and takes a 4-point lead with about 30 seconds left. We're just barely hanging on to a cover, and that goes away when the Blue Devils score. Carolina goes back downcourt, Jeff McInnis (I think) gets fouled, but he misses TWO MORE FREE THROWS THAT WOULD HAVE COVERED THE SPREAD. So we are now cheering for Duke to score so we can get a 3rd OT.

Of course, now that we are cheering for Duke, the probable rapists miss their chance to tie and send the game into triple OT. Carolina wins by 2. I lose by 1.

I have not bet a college basketball game since. I stick to football (because its so easy to handicap!) (blogsarefun)

After my first semester in college, I had $150 leftover, which put me at a crossroads of sorts. I had to decide whether to hold on to the money or spend it.

OR I could gamble with it and turn it into an easy $300.

It was a no-brainer for me. I looked at the lines for that week's games and saw that New Orleans was a 1.5-point underdog in Jacksonville. I specifically remember thinking "Hey, New Orleans needs to win, and Jacksonville has Byron Leftwich. That's easy." On top of that, anytime you can GET points for betting on Aaron Brooks, you should take it, right? Just before I placed the bet, though, I had an epiphany.

Do I really think the Saints could lose by a single point? How often does that happen? The 1.5 points was essentially a straight-up bet, so I may as well get better odds and place the optimal bet. I'm still not sure what I was thinking. I'm pretty sure the B+ I got in Economics went to my head. Anyway…

I don't remember much of the game except that I was watching it with my father. I didn't tell him I put $150 on this game, which should have tipped me off that it was a stupid bet. I didn't want him knowing because I knew he would say two things.

1. You put $150 on a sporting event!?

2. You bet on the Saints!? You're an idiot, just like your mother.

But this is a game that almost everyone remembers. The Saints, down 20-13, pulled off one of those hook-and-ladder plays at the end of the 4th quarter. I'll never forget jumping up and down as the play was going on, and I went to my knees when Jerome Pathon had daylight into the endzone.

20-20!

Not so fast. I'm already praying for a favorable coin toss when my dad says, "They gotta make this extra point. It's the Saints, for crying out loud. They would miss this." Now, I'm not a violent person, but I had visions of beating him with a stoker at that moment.

Sure enough, John Carney shanked the extra point. It was such a bad kick that I know it was an accident because you can't try to kick a ball that poorly.

20-19.

Again, I fell to my knees, this time because I realized that I put $150 on the fuckin' Saints. Of all the hacks on that team that could have choked, Aaron Brooks, Jim Haslett, Donte' Stallworth, Tebucky Jones, even Johnathan "where's the press box buffet?" Sullivan, the kicker did me in. On an extra point.

The worst part was that I could have gotten the Saints with the 1.5 and won my bet. I'd be sitting on an extra $150, which as a freshmen in college would have gotten me about 1,000 Keystone Lights, a necessity when you're scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to get laid in Upstate New York. Instead, I was broke and decided it would be a good idea to get pulled over the following week for speeding. I'd say I was racially profiled, but I'm white and was in Texas. And I was going 88 in a 55. That was a fun $300 ticket. (DirkToberFest)

While perusing the forums of a sports gambling community site, I found this gem posted by an unlucky bastard. God bless this pour man's soul, Brett Favre truly is the devil:

Wager details for ticket number 13808178-1:

Wager Type:Parlay (3 team)
Wager Status: Loss
Risk / To Win Amount: 200.00 / 5,608.00 (nul) Accepted 9/27/2009 11:59 AM - EST
Lost: 200.00

Item #1
Wager Type: Money Line
Outcome: Win
Sport / Period: NFL Football / Game
Selection:
Jacksonville Jaguars 9/27/2009 1:00:01 PM - (EST)
+175

* Event Notes:

NFL Week 3 - Regular Season

Item #2
Wager Type: Money Line
Outcome: Win
Sport / Period: NFL Football / Game
Selection:
Detroit Lions 9/27/2009 1:00:01 PM - (EST)
+220

* Event Notes:

NFL Week 3 - Regular Season

Item #3
Wager Type: Money Line
Outcome: Loss
Sport / Period: NFL Football / Game
Selection:
San Francisco 49ers 9/27/2009 1:00:01 PM - (EST)
+230

* Event Notes:

NFL Week 3 - Regular Season (Jonathan)

Share your bad beat with the world. E-mail us at tips@deadspin.com. Subject: Bad beats.

Sissy Prop Bet Of The Week: New Fella, Ella, Ella Edition

Via BetUS:

"JT and Rihanna to Make Relationship Public"
Yes before Oct 31st: Even
No not before Oct 31st: -140

"When the Relationship Ends, Who Dumps Who"
JT dumps Rihanna: -300
Rihanna dumps JT: +120
Neither they get married: +500

"Which Stars Next Album Sells More Copies"
Justin Timberlake: -140
Rihanna: Even