Hello, folks. Welcome back to Bad Beats, the column you visit for betting advice and sad tales of gambling woe. Read past Bad Beats here. Got any stories for us? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Bad Beats.
We have a really weird—I suppose one could also say "terrible"—weekend of football coming up, and as such, it's time for Bad Beats, everyone's favorite occasional gambling column. Did you know that no two teams with winning records are playing each other? A lot of .500 riffraff against other .500 riffraff, or some good teams against teams they'll kill. Yuck. Look at some of these wacky lines:
Pittsburgh (-4) at Arizona
Kansas City (+4) at Oakland
St. Louis (+13.5) at Dallas
Oddities: The Steelers—the 4-2 Steelers!—laying but four to the woeful Cardinals, who haven't won since the first week of the season; Kyle Boller driving down the line so far that Todd Haley's Wretched Machine only gets four points on the road, despite all its injuries; the 2-3 Cowboys laying nearly two touchdowns to an NFL team! You'd be advised to hop on the Raiders and Steelers at those prices, because, whatever the two teams' troubles, Arizona and the Chiefs are worse, much worse. (The Rams-Cowboys line is trouble either way.)
But none of these is the weekend's jaw-droppingest line. That belongs to San Diego (-2) at the Jets. Anyone who backs the Chargers has lost his damn mind, and, in turn, his money. Because the Jets aren't losing to the Chargers this weekend. It will not happen.
Let's approach this traditionally, first: The Chargers have won four and lost one, the Jets have won three and lost three. Maybe that would suggest betting on San Diego.
But, lord, look at the four wins and the three losses. New York lost to Baltimore, Oakland, and New England, three teams that have combined for a 13-4 record. San Diego beat Minnesota, Miami, Denver, and Kansas City. They're a combined 4-17. And San Diego won those four games by a combined 25 points. The Jets have won their three games (including a victory over those same Dolphins) by a combined 50 points. The Jets lost by nine to the Patriots, the Chargers lost by 14.
And then consider advanced stats, which stand up even straighter for the Jets: Football Outsiders ranks the Jets as the fourth best team in the NFL by its all-encompassing DVOA metric. The Chargers are 22nd. The Jets' defense is second in the league; their special teams is third. Sure, the offense is middling—21st—but they can go the whole game without turning it over, and score a little here and there, and that's usually good enough to win. The Chargers have a 14th-ranked offense, and a 23rd-ranked defense, and a 29th-ranked special teams. This is a juggernaut? Hobbling Antonio Gates and the Tolbert-Mathews tandem? Phil Rivers, who has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, is going to beat Darrelle Revis and Rex Ryan's schemes? Eric Weddle and company will shut out the Jets? Nuh-uh.
Take whatever's left in your account and put it on the Jets. Just this once, believe in Bad Beats.
Michael writes in:
In January of 2009, I was a mere staff writer at SBN mixed martial arts blog Bloody Elbow. (Today I'm a mere editor of that same site.) UFC lightweight champ B.J. Penn was scheduled to meet welterweight king Georges St. Pierre in a superfight for St. Pierre's title at UFC 94. Penn and St. Pierre had met once before at UFC 58, a fight St. Pierre won in a close, controversial decision.
St. Pierre opened as a 2-1 favorite for the second fight, and the Fightlinker blog wondered if any MMA writer had "the balls" to bet on the smaller Penn. As a self-described gambling expert and Penn mark, I issued a challenge to Fightlinker and offered a cross-site wager. They accepted, and agreed upon terms: should Penn win, Fightlinker would have to eat an entire pig's foot; should GSP win, I would have to down an entire bottle of syrup, Super Troopers-style. (Stereotypes are fun.)
The narrative of the fight emerged shortly after the opening bell: St. Pierre was too big and had improved too much for the 168-pound Penn. Penn's corner put the kibosh on the fight after twenty minutes of punishment; their fighter looking wobbled and glassy-eyed while preparing for the fifth round.
If consuming an entire bottle of syrup wasn't painful enough, I made the mistake of purchasing butter-infused maple syrup. I felt like I was chugging quicksand.
Video was recorded for posterity. I fired up Super Troopers to provide the mood (and the contrast of them drinking iced tea in the movie is apparent), and placed a small jar of Vaseline on the entertainment center to symbolize the greasing scandal in the wake of the bout. You can see my mental break around the 1:45 mark. My head nods forward, syrup flying from my lips like a boxer's saliva after receiving a stiff jab to the face. I make the curious decision to wipe my pants and lick my fingers.
I make one last effort to finish the bottle, but tap out poetically 4/5ths of the way into the bottle.
From Julia Taylor-Brown of Glodow Nead Communications:
I thought you'd be interested in hearing that Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House in Charlotte saw a meeting of the minds Wednesday night with past and present Heisman Trophy winners Cam Newton and Bo Jackson. Spotted in a private area overlooking the lobby, we can only imagine they were regaling each other with stories of their Auburn University days.
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House is known for its prime steak, fresh seafood, house made side dishes and decadent desserts. The in-crowd (and hungry athletes) who frequent Del Frisco's favor the 22-ounce Bone-In Prime Ribeye and the 32-ounch Wagyu "Longbone" Ribeye.
From Paddy Power: What will Beyoncé and Jay-Z name their baby?
Consider yourself duly advised.