Welcome to the regularly scheduled programming for Prospector Sam! I hope that the food coma and hangover have subsided by now (mine have not, but I have no self control), and you’re ready to jump into the weekend slate of sports. You better be, because it’s a big fucking weekend.
Do you prefer standard American fare like football and basketball? Great, you could basically overdose on it. Are you the guy/gal who likes to show how worldly you are by watching European soccer? We’ve got you covered. Are you a weirdo who watches tennis or UFC or one of those other fringe sports? Well, there is something for you too I guess (but you won’t be getting any information about that here). I, for one, am filled with both excitement and fear. One thing you will learn very fast about this blog is that I will not provide objective journalism on the teams I care about. I am a die hard Tottenham, Patriots, and Syracuse Basketball fan (good luck connecting those dots) and I will openly discuss my emotional state when it comes to their games. I think it would be weird if I didn’t, if we’re being totally honest. People write about sports because they are fans, and pretending that I didn’t have a vested interest in certain teams would be disingenuous at best. I will not shy from talking about my fandom and the emotional toll it takes on my mental health, and this weekend I get the pain/pleasure of watching all three of them play. Oh, and I’m a BC Eagles fan too, but we can just agree that rooting for their football team is an exercise in masochism and move on.
Normally, I will be providing a rundown of my takes from the previous week in bullet form to recap all of the big news and funny moments that I found to be noteworthy (there’s a joke to be made about using a sifter to separate the rock from the precious metals, but I’m not clever enough to nail it). I’ll be skipping that practice this week because you could fill a goddamn novel with all of the events from sports on Thanksgiving week, and because I’m just getting my feet wet here. Dimers is a real company with respectable people coordinating the business, and I need to give my blog a bit of time before I start showing my true degenerate colors. I’m also in the middle of moving 800 miles to a new city, starting a new job, and searching for a home to live in. I care about you all very much, but I don’t want my fiancé to kill me in my sleep because I’m spending more time writing about sports gambling than I am worrying about the things I “should” be focusing on (I would argue that this is my priority, but I don’t think I win that fight). I’m also hoping to get college basketball picks into the blog at some point, but books wait until 10PM the night before to release the lines which is a real pain in the ass for getting those in. I’ll leave that as a TBD until I figure out a plan. With all the administrative notes wrapped up, lets get into my picks for the weekend.
Gambling is about picking your spots to find value. Even if you want to, you just can’t bet on every game. Value can come from a line you think is wrong, or it can come from the odds being off for a certain bet (two sides of the same coin, really). Winning is obviously the biggest priority, but betting based on value is an important tool in a gamblers belt. This game is a prime example of finding some extra value. Liverpool are still the best team in the Premier League even though they’ve had a bit of shaky start to the season. We saw that quality last week in a 3-0 massacre of fellow contenders Leicester. But, as it currently stands, Liverpool are getting just -165 odds on their money line at Brighton, and that payout is crazy for this matchup. Brighton probably are a bit better than their table position reflects, but they concede a ton of goals (15 through 9) and don’t have the guns to keep up with the top sides in the League. The Gulls will look to take points against the mid and low table teams, but trying to pull points from clubs like Liverpool just isn’t in the cards for them. If Brighton sit back and limit Liverpool’s chances they have a prayer of staying in this game, but I think Liverpool has too much quality for them to handle. You have to bet a bit more for a decent payout, but I would have expected the money line to be -200 or worse here. At just -165, the value is there for sure.
💰 Pick: Liverpool Moneyline
God, do I fucking hate Chelsea. In the pantheon of teams that I despise as a sports fan, they are pretty damn close to the top. I would give a lot for us to bulldoze them into the ground this weekend, and recent form suggests that Spurs have a shot to pull this one out. But on the road against an in-form Chelsea team, I don’t love them here. These two clubs are probably playing the best soccer of anyone in the League, and Chelsea’s quality has even carried over into their Champions League performances. This game is a must watch even for the casual fan, but the final score line is one I would hesitate to throw money on. As a fan of Spurs, my instinct is always to expect the worst and prepare for collapse, so that’s where my head is taking me, but I’m way too biased to trust (I’m nothing if not honest with all of you). There is a good bet to be made here though, and its on under 2.5 (+112). These two teams have the best defensive records in the League, and in a crucial matchup between top sides I don’t think we will see a ton of aggressive or risky play. Especially with Mourinho at the helm for Spurs, expect both teams to prioritize limiting their opponents chances and to hope to catch a good bounce or counter attack opportunity. It may not be the most fun bet to make as a fan, but from the standpoint of winning money its solid. I see this game probably ending 1-0 or 1-1.
💰 Pick: Under 2.5
What fucking planet are we living on here? Wolves are +270 to win this game against an Arsenal team that couldn’t score a goal against my 16 year-old cousins’ high school team? Give me a fucking break. Yes, I know that Wolves are also not looking all that great right now either. In fact, both of these teams have scored 9 goals and given up 10 through 9 games this season. But that should tell you that this game really is closer to a toss up, especially because neither has a great chance to put 3 or 4 in the net and blow the doors off their opponent. It’s going to be ugly, boring, and is a prime candidate to end up in a draw or 1-0 win. So what’s the bet here? I’m going with a favorite strategy of mine, which is the win with a no bet on the draw. What that means is I can take Wolves, and if the game ends all even I get my money back. Wolves are +168 on that bet, which is great value here. As I’ve said, neither team is all that impressive right now, but Wolves form has certainly been better as of late (8 points in their last 5 games compared to Arsenal’s 4). If I had to pick one of these teams to pull out a win it would be them, but I’m not confident enough to risk putting the draw in play. Give yourself a bit of downside protection and go with the safer bet.
💰 Pick: Wolves Win – Draw No Bet
This is just a game you have to bet on. One of the best rivalries in college football, the best matchup of the weekend slate, and a game that is going to have a boatload of points. I promise to hand select the best bets I can find for you all on any given weekend, but there are other factors I have to consider for my readers and the importance of the game is one of them. Hammer the over here. Alabama is far and away the best team in college football, and I really want to take them to cover this spread. They probably will. But this is still a huge rivalry game and funny things can happen in matchups like that. 24.5 is just too much to give up on this one, even if it probably is the right bet to make. The over is a no–brainer though. Alabama’s offense averages almost 50 points per game this year. Let that sink in. Oh, and that isn’t even padded by the 2 or 3 joke games they normally play a season against Northern Alabama or some other crappy school looking for a payday. That is 50 points a game against SEC opposition, including two wins over top 10 teams in the most recent playoff ranking. At just 62.5, the over is as easy as it gets. Sure, Auburn slows games down with their running-based offense, but they average over 400 yards given up per game. Against Alabama, that number will be higher and I think the Tide easily put up 40+ points. The key to this bet is the other side of the ball, and whether Bo Nix can move the Tigers down the field. Despite shaky play this season, Auburn has improved as of late and have won their last 3 games with 30+ points scored in each. Alabama has some weaknesses on the defensive end, especially against the passing attack, and I think Nix will do enough to get a few touchdowns on the board. The weather doesn’t present any issues right now (60s, no rain), but that would be the only thing to check up on as game time gets closer. Ride the over here as long as nothing changes.
💰 Pick: Over 62.5
After giving you the prime matchup of the week, I decided to take a hard U-turn and give you one of the most boring and unwatchable games to bet on. Why? Because I am committed to finding the best bets for all of you, my loyal and trusted fans. The fact that CCU is only a 17-point favorite here is crazy. This team has been impressive all year, and Grayson McCall is one of the best QBs in college football right now. The Chanticleers average 20 PPG more than their opponents for the entire season, which includes wins over solid teams like Appalachian State and Louisiana Lafayette. But somehow they’re only giving up 17 to the 2-9 Texas State Bobcats? That doesn’t make a lick of sense. I will say, the Texas State has gotten better as of late, but when they play respectable opponents they’ve been blown out. They lost by 21 to Appalachian State, and by 38 to BYU. I just don’t see how they stay close in this game against a Coastal Carolina team who is playing great football and who needs style points to prove they deserve a higher ranking. Look for CCU to win this by closer to 30.
💰 Pick: Coastal Carolina -17
Trying to pick only a few games from the NFL slate is brutal for me. I gamble on pretty much every game on a weekly basis, and I’m used to writing about every one of them. Trying to whittle down to just 3 best bets is like asking a toddler to pick a couple of toys to keep and to throw out the rest. I managed to do it for all of you, but it was painful. This is a pretty important game between two teams tied atop the AFC South, and it shapes up to be a solid matchup. But, while it will be a close game, I also think the over/under is way too high. These teams give up around 46 PPG total on the year, and the Colts’ defense is particularly stout. You would need the Titans over-perform against them to hit this over, and their play as of late doesn’t suggest that they can. This team performs well when Derrick Henry gets 20+ touches and they control the clock. If Vrabel is smart, they will ride him heavily all game which will slow things down and eat time. On the other side, the Colts offense just doesn’t have a ton of firepower, and Rivers is really showing signs of slowing. They’ve put up some solid score totals over the last few weeks, but the offense doesn’t look all the impressive to me on the whole. At over/under 51, I think this game stays below and ends up around the 45 point range. It isn’t my favorite bet on the board, but it is one I feel fairly confident about.
💰 Pick: Under 51
This is a layup. Walk in, throw down as much money as you feel comfortable, and walk away. The Chiefs are a much better football team than the Bucs. Tampa Bay has a ton of great players, but they don’t fit together at all and the team as a whole is not as good as those individual pieces. They have shown signs of brilliance, and if they game planned to get the ball in the hands of their best players more they would probably look better on the field (just watch Mike Evans’ touchdown last week). But Bruce Arians has proven to not have an effective plan for using all of the talent at his disposal, and this team is losing games it shouldn’t be. Oh, and Tom Brady is clearly over the hill. As for the Chiefs, there isn’t much to say that the rest of the sports media hasn’t talked about ad nauseum. They haven’t looked all that impressive in their last couple of wins, but this team has the most complete roster in the NFL and are the odds on favorites to win the Super Bowl as of now. They are on the road, but giving up just 3.5 points on them in this one feels like a steal. I see them winning this one by closer to a touchdown.
💰 Pick: Chiefs -3.5
I’ve been pushing the idea that the Seahawks aren’t a great football team for the last few weeks, and they’ve pretty much proved me right. This defense is a nightmare, and Russell Wilson needs to pull it together if they want to have a shot at being competitive in January. That said, they are still an above-average NFL team with some crazy talent on the offensive side of the ball. The Eagles have absolutely nothing. This team has been floated by the fact that they are still in first place in their division, but the product they’ve put out on the field has been pretty atrocious. I have absolutely no clue how Carson Wentz is still a starting QB right now, and it is killing this team that he is. 14 TDs and 14 INTs through 10 games is an unacceptable stat line, and they should have moved on to Hurts weeks ago. But, while they are still sticking with that ginger headed buffoon, there is some value to betting against them. The Seahawks biggest weakness, as everybody knows, is their secondary. Lucky for them, they are facing a QB who won’t be able to exploit that weakness because his passing play has been awful. You need to put points on the board to keep up with this Seahawks offense, and I don’t trust Wentz at all to be able to handle that task. This game honestly feels like it could be a blowout, and giving up just 5 points is an easy bet.
💰 Pick: Seahawks -5
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