Well, Prospector Sam got off to a rocky start last week. And not the good type of rocky, we’re talking pyrite. Sure, I went 5/10 overall on the week with some solid soccer picks, but Thanksgiving got everything off on a bad note and I never dug out of it.
We’re just going to have to get back on that horse and start climbing the mountain again. There’s gold to be found ‘round these parts if you can beat all the other rascals to it! (ok I’ll stop, I may be a seasoned writer but I haven’t quite perfected the Prospector shtick yet). Time for the week in review:
⛏️ What a boring matchweek of soccer. Other than a disgusting collapse by Southampton, I’m struggling to think of any game that were objectively enjoyable to watch. Do better, gentlemen.
⛏️ Liverpool dropping points to Brighton may have been the highlight of the weekend. This team is a far cry from the side that ran away with the Prem last year, and I don’t think you can blame it all on the injuries. Salah needs to get his (MO)jo back (yeah, I’ll see myself out)
⛏️ A month into the season I called Carlo Ancelotti a borderline genius for taking Everton to the top of the table. That may have been, well, a bit of a gun jump. It was a solid victory for Leeds though.
⛏️ Sheffield should just be relegated now. We would all be better off if you swapped them out for one of the top teams in the Championship. a potential rule change to consider for the future?
⛏️ Hey Southampton, maybe try defending Cavani in stead of ball watching. You ruined all of my United relegation hopes, and that’s the only thing I asked for this Christmas.
⛏️ I couldn’t have nailed the Spurs-Chelsea game any better. Boring, slow, almost no opportunities. It was awful to watch, but a point away to a title contender is a positive result for me. Oh, and another week on top of the table is pretty cool too.
⛏️ Just kidding about Liverpool, Arsenal losing to Wolves was definitely the highlight of the weekend. God, are they bad.
⛏️ I think one favor I can do myself this year is to stop betting on any more Leicester games. They are just an absolute wild-card. But I won’t, because I’m a dumbass.
⛏️ Moving on to college football, shout out to Oregon for imploding and formally removing the Pac 12 from playoff contention. It’s time to accept that it’s a “Power 4” at this point.
⛏️ Alabama - good at football. If you’re a weirdo who likes betting futures, just take whatever odds you can get on this team to win the CFP.
⛏️ Aside from that, it was a pretty boring weekend. Some shaky play from A&M and Florida gave them a little bit of a scare, but everything turned out as expected.
⛏️ The biggest story of the week was actually Sarah Fuller playing for Vanderbilt. I tuned in to watch Vanderbilt-Missouri, something I never thought I would do. Vanderbilt should be ashamed for not even getting her into field goal range. Those nerds ruin everything.
⛏️ Clemson – Also good at football. Too bad they play in a conference filled with garbage programs who don’t give them a fight.
⛏️ Speaking of nerds, tough day for the Northwestern Wildcats. That rise and fall was pretty impressive. Watching them play OSU in the Big 10 championship will be depressing for everyone involved.
⛏️ I didn’t watch a ton of college basketball this weekend. I started to get excited for the season, and then my Syracuse Orange almost lost to Bryant on Friday. I decided it was better for my health to give it some more time...
⛏️ I did tune in for the end of a few upsets though. Virginia losing to San Francisco was fun, both to see them lose and because it reminded everyone that Tony Bennett’s boring style of play can cause some absolute nightmare situations (remember UMBC...)
⛏️ Watching Kentucky lose is great. Its like watching the Yankees lose. They should try it more often, for my sake.
⛏️ Overall, I walked away from college basketball this week thinking “it’s still football season, I don’t have enough time for this.” It was a good reminder of how dominant football has become.
⛏️ Speaking of, the NFL was definitely more fun than college football. Those good vibes started with the Patriots winning again, despite it probably being bad for their long term goals. I’m always happen to see them take a W, but I almost wish BB would just embrace the tank. Oh, and Cam Newton sucks.
⛏️ What the hell happened in Atlanta? I still don’t fully understand. This Raiders team beat the Chiefs, but barely looked like they knew what a football was on Sunday. They’re joining Chicago as a team whose record does not adequately reflect how bad they are.
⛏️ Hope is gone for a 6-10 winner of the NFC East. The Bengals ruined all of the fun for everyone. Which, coincidentally, must be what it feels like to root for them on a regular basis...
⛏️ Adam Gase still has a head coaching job in the NFL. Aspire to that level of job security.
⛏️ The Broncos situation was a nightmare. I get it, they knew the Saints would beat them regardless, and it wasn’t worth pushing the game back. But watching Denver try to compete was a waste of everyone’s time. At least pretend you have a plan, Goodell.
⛏️ Hey Bucs, thanks for the terrible backdoor cover. Assholes.
⛏️ The Bears season is just a comedy at this point. Trubisky back in, and he fumbles THREE TIMES in a blowout loss to their rival. Nagy has to be done, right?
⛏️ Speaking of awful backdoors, the Eagles 2-point conversion; woof. I hope you all read my post early enough to take them at -5.
West Ham aren’t getting a ton of love right now, but they’ve snuck their way into the top 5 spots in the league. They certainly aren’t going to finish there, or probably anywhere above 8th, but East Londoners’ form has been impressive over the last few weeks. That said, we’ve seen a smattering of teams reach the precipice of the table over the beginning of the season, only to see them all come crashing down. It was Everton, then Villa, then Southampton, with each dropping off substantially. So, lets take a step back from betting on West Ham, another over-achieving club, to stay hot. In stead, lets take over 2.5 goals, which brings some decent value at -132. United don’t play any defense, and their goaltending play has been shaky all season (regardless of whether De Gea is in or not). The Hammers will be able to exploit them for a goal or two easily. On the other side, United have found some offensive form with the arrival of Cavani, and look dangerous on the attack with him in the lineup. I like them to push forward in this game as well, since Ole knows his job is hanging on by a VERY thin thread. That all suggests a high scoring affair to me, and I think over 2.5 covers easily in this one. Put down a little more money to get a higher payout and walk away happy.
💰 Pick: Over 2.5 (-132)
FUCK. YES. Do I love me a good old North London Derby, especially when Spurs have been playing well and the Gunners look like trash (we can ignore the Europa League). Still, this matchup always plays tight and it scares me that my boys are favorites here. But only -105 to win against an Arsenal side in 14th place with a -2 goal differential? Come on. Arsenal are in free fall, and their offense is in shambles. I’m very, very biased, so take my words with a grain of salt, but Tottenham are at home, on top of the table, and have the best goal difference in the League. What could go wrong..... (please don’t answer that). Seriously though, at -105 that line is a gift, and the only reason that its not way lower is the name “Arsenal” on the fixture list. With the way the Gunners are playing this year, it might as well say Crystal Palace or some other middling side.
💰 Pick: Spurs ML (-105)
The other top matchup of the week features a battle that I think will turn out to be a dud (Cold War-esque? A lot of posturing but no actual shots fired). Liverpool are still a solid team this year, but their offense just isn’t clicking in the same way it was last season (yes, I am aware they lead the league in goals but anyone who has watched them can tell that the flow is not the same). The storyline created by Jota matching up against his old club creates some intrigue, but Wolves are going to pack themselves in and try their best to make this game a dull affair. They’re pretty good at it too, and have allowed just 11 goals on the season. This matchup will be dictated by who can impose their style of play, with Liverpool wanting to open the game up and create flow while Wolves will do the opposite. It’s a bit of a risk, especially if an early Liverpool goal breaks the protection of a tie for Wolverhampton, but I like Wolves’ chances to slow this game down and make things hard on Liverpool. Expect them to sit 9 behind the ball all evening and frustrate their opponents, while putting very little effort into trying to score until the 70th minute mark. At +112 for under 2.5, I think the payout is good for the money too. If you’re feeling risk averse, you can always go -240 for under 3.5.
💰 Pick: Under 2.5 (+112)
Maybe betting the marquee matchup, simply because I felt obligated, wasn’t the best idea. I got killed on the Alabama over (but I NAILED the Coastal Carolina pick, so we’ll call it a wash). So let’s get back to just sticking to the best games I see on the board. This week, I hate all of it. Seriously. I walked down the list of matchups and saw a single line or O/U that caught my eye. Maybe it’s the stress of a new job and new city, or maybe I’m getting more responsible with age (nope, I write about sports gambling as a fictitious prospector, its not that), but I’m just going to work with the one pick that I like this week. I’ll take Oregon to cover this spread. For one, they’re coming off of a disastrous loss to Oregon State that basically ended their playoff hopes, and I like them to bounce back hard from it. On top of that, Cal is really fucking bad. They’re 0-3 to start the year and average just 20 points a game. I’d qualify this pick as more of a gut feeling than a hard analytical selection, but I really think the Ducks come out and blow their doors off. At just a 9.5-point spread, I think they can cover this easily with the gulf of talent between these two sides.
💰 Pick: Oregon -9.5
This is as easy as it gets. Atlanta are the sucker’s champion. They show you all this flashy offensive talent and a roster that should be amazing, and everyone believes in them. Usually it works for the first few weeks of a season before everyone realizes they’re a disaster, but it can also come after the one or two good performances they have every year. Last week they blew the doors off Las Vegas, and now they’re just a 2.5-point dog to the NFC leading Saints. Give me New Orleans ALL DAY. For one, that win last week by Atlanta was as much a product of the Raiders collapsing as it was good play by the Falcons. Atlanta also has receiver injury issues with both Jones and Ridley banged up, and that is going to limit Matt Ryan against a better-than-expected Saints defense. The Saints, meanwhile, basically had a bye-week last Sunday against the Broncos and are getting better as Michael Thomas gets re-integrated. Drew Brees’ injury sets this team back a bit, but Taysom is serviceable enough to move this offense, especially when Alvin Kamara is there to do a lot of the leg work. Overall, I think this line should be closer to a touchdown, and at -2.5 I will hammer the Saints.
💰 Pick: New Orleans -2.5
Don’t look now, but the Texans might be rounding back into form? It will take some time to get the stench of Bill O’Brien out of the building, but there is enough talent down in Houston to give opponents some problems. Oh, and Indianapolis laid an egg last week against the Titans in what could aptly be described as a total dumpster fire. So I like the Texans right? Eh, not quite. I think this game is a tough one to bet, especially because the line is skewed by the last performance each team put out. What I do like, however, is the over. Remember last week when I picked the Colts under and it almost lost by half time? Not doing that again. This defense is susceptible to solid running play, and while the Texans don’t have a great RB to throw at them, Watson can do more than enough of that work on his own. On the other side, the Texans defense is still shaky, especially against the pass (26 YPG), and gives up 27 PPG this season. The loss of Will Fuller to PED suspension hurts this fairly thin receiving corps, but I still think Deshaun can do enough to put points on the board. As long as these teams keep converting redzone opportunities into touchdowns in stead of field goals, which both have done fairly well as of late, I think this over can hit comfortably.
💰 Pick: Over 50.5
Depending on when you took the game, the Eagles walked away with a very slimy back door cover last week. Despite that gambling outcome, they never looked like they had a prayer to win, and as long as Wentz is leading this team they won’t be able to top any of the better rosters in the League. The Packers easily qualify for that category, and I think they torch Philly this weekend. There is just nothing redeeming about this Eagles team, and they only managed to put up 17 points against an abysmal Seahawks secondary last week. Rodgers and Adams will torch them on the defensive end, and I don’t trust this offense to make much of a dent regardless of who they face. I see this being around a 14-point win for the Packers.
💰 Pick: Green Bay -8
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