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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Ten Commandments of NFL Betting

With a little more than a month until the Hall of Fame game, it's time to start your preseason NFL betting workouts. I suggest going through the schedule, looking at roster changes, and saving up some money to be an impact player right out of the gate. To help you achieve great success in the sexy collection of non-independent events known as the NFL season, I give you commandments nine and ten, along with the others.

1. Thou shalt not bet on one shitty team to beat another shitty team.

Even though the shitty team may be playing a team that may be perceived as being shittier than the shitty steam, the team you are betting on is still shitty, which is a shitty thing to do.

2. Thou shalt not bet on a Sunday or Monday night game that would not be of betting interest had it been played at 1 PM on Sunday.

This is a clear violation of Arnie's 'best practices', but my success in these games is piss poor. An example of this kind of game from last year would have been a Dallas/Atlanta game in early November. At that point both teams looked decent but either side could have won and I probably hadn't seen either team enough to feel confident. Rule #2 will tell me to just watch the game and save my money for snuff films and precious ammo.

3. Thou shalt not place any wager on a game involving the Lions unless it also involves a Super Bowl contending team and the bet is against the Lions.

It is never a good idea to bet on the Lions, but since they sometimes beat teams in the shitty to upwardly average range, betting against them should be avoided as well.

4. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wager.

After placing a wager or a series of wagers, nothing is more fun that calling up your gambling buddies to tell them your picks. It doesn't matter how shitty you did the prior week or how much you're up or down for the entire season. The biggest lock-of-the-century bet is always the one you just made. Often, the confidence of the degenerate friend of yours that is on the phone with you announcing what will probably be a real Hindenburg of a bet will trick you into wanting to make the same bet yourself. "Ooh, I like that", you say to yourself. Plus, you like the idea of both you and your dawg watching the game together and both winning on it. This rarely, if ever works out. Instead, you will probably both end up miserable like Arnie and I were after getting taken to the cleaners when the Packers lost that playoff game at home to Atlanta. You don't want to put yourself through that, where you could be left as prey for the funny figured sister of your friend, who is looking for someone who's down on his luck.

the butler, over at Mile High Ramblings, wisely suggested to avoid placing five team parlays just because of the huge payout. I give a slight modification:

5. Thou shalt not parlay more than three wagers.

"How much is that gonna pay out?"
"A little over seven hundred."
"Whoa! That's awesome. And seriously, I like all five of those. That thing is money."
"I know, it's like, just give me the money now, right?"

WRONG. Once in a great while, you or one of your gambling buddies will win a big parlay which is really a curse, like winning a few hundred the first time you play roulette. By the time you win your next one you will probably be a year or two older and a whole lot poorer because of all the failed attempts to hit the big jackpot. There is nothing more annoying (and we've all been guilty of this) than listening to someone tell you how you got screwed out of your parlay by the team that totally should have fucking covered but just ran the clock out, while all four of the other teams came through like an erection. Don't be that guy or you will say something like this to your friends on the phone or at the bar:
"I fucking hate Florida State. A five-team parlay I had. The first four came through without a trace of sweat. I threw in Florida to win because they were -1300 against Clemson. I mean, it wasn't adding to much but it was a fucking lock so why not throw it in, right? And they can't even beat a shitty fucking Clemson team."
This, ladies and gentleman, was yours truly. And don't say that that kind of shit doesn't happen in the NFL. Remember the Texans beating the Colts in Indianapolis last year? This brings me to...

6. Thou shalt not believe any event with a money line will occur with certainty.

Hey, Mr. Smartypants, thinking of putting a grand down on a really good team to beat a really shitty team? You'll probably win, but you won't win that much. If you escape this week and even next week doing this, you will probably think you're a fucking genius and won't shut up to your friends about how great this strategy of betting large amounts on 'sure things' is. Until you go and lose once, wiping out all of your profits and a lot more. Sometimes even the games that are so sure things that there isn't even a money line fuck up. Remember the Texans. What does this mean? It means that you shouldn't bet your fucking mortgage payment on a football game, even when it's the Chargers hosting the Cardinals.

7. Thou shalt remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.

There is no regular season sporting event as fun to watch as a college football game between two national powers. There are shitloads of them throughout the season and this is why college football reigns supreme over all other sports--until you get to the 'postseason' when the NCAA wipes away any and all legitimacy from the season. If you don't agree with me, you need to experience one of these games in person as well as an NFL game between two rivals. Then tell me which one was a better time.

That said, college football Saturdays are not when you want to be sweating out a tough parlay. Crazy shit happens all the time in college football and this is why it is best practice to save your wagering for Sundays, when the professionals go to work. Remember some of the stupid shit you did when you were in your late teens and early twenties? Imagine if someone was betting on whether or not you would make it to class at 10AM. Don't bother thinking about who has the better run defense, the ATS record at home, or any of that shit. Just enjoy the game and save your wagering for the Sunday Sabbath, the day of Lord Tomlinson.

8. Thou shalt not make foolish wagers following the outcome of a significant wager.

What does a raging alcoholic the morning after drinking at an open bar event and the exponential distribution have in common with a successful gambler? The memoryless property. After losing, say, one hundred dollars on the 1PM games, going heavy on a team that is +260 to win during one of the 4PM games looks awfully tempting. "When life fucks me, I fuck back!", you say. If by chance you had a big win or two in the early games and find yourself sitting on a nice big balance, you probably want to get right back in the game and continue what you started. Among the bets you want to put down is inevitably a throw-away bet or two. "Shit, I'm up a shitload. What's twenty-five bucks to me at this point? I'll just put a couple long shots out there and see what happens." Scenario one: by the time the sun goes down, it's clear that you're going to be down $150. Scenario two: You turned your big day into just barely enough to cover your bar tab, if that. Wait until your emotional high or low zeros out before making your next move. Bet like Kenny Rogers attacks cameramen. Without any emotion whatsoever.

9. Win or lose, thou shalt act like thou hast been there before.

You see the same scene almost every time you walk into a casino from the garage area or other entrance. A group of dudes is walking out in the opposite direction. Hours ago they all walked in together, each full of energy and confidence, ready to earn the money they will later use on strippers and get loaded on free (or un-free, if you're in Detroit) drinks along the way. Their exit, in contrast, is not as cohesive in spirit. One or two of them are talking loudly about the big double downs and splits they won, two others are talking just as loudly about the hands they totally got screwed on, and the other parties are quietly walking alongside them, brow furrowed, right hand in pocket holding Swiss Army knife, ready to shut them the fuck up forever.

The same kind of loudmouthery goes on with NFL betting. "I can't believe he didn't hit that field goal. I could have hit that fucking thing!" or "That's right, bitches; that's what I'm talking about! I totally nailed that parlay. Sometimes it's just too fucking easy! Why didn't I put more on that bet?"

Do everyone a favor and just shut the fuck up. Win or lose. If someone asks, tell them, but in a blase tone. Act like you've been there before, asshole, because we all know you have.

10. Thou shalt not giveth the points in a tight spread.

[insert team name here] -2.5 (-110)
[insert team name here] -145
It's quite the dilemma. You really like a certain team in a match up with a tight spread, like 2.5. You're damn sure that they're going to win the game, and the money line is what you really want, but that -145 is pissing you off. "If they're going to win, they're probably going to win by three, right?", you say to yourself. Your brain is working harder than than it has since that time when that girl called you up telling you to come over now, but you didn't recognize the voice or the number. In the end, you give the points and your team wins by two, and you want to blow up the team bus. This is why, in a game with a tight spread, choose the money line over giving the points, if you like the team that is favored. Why? To be aligned with the head coach, who just wants to win.

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  • At 5:16 PM, Blogger My Hero Zero said…

    As the world's worst NFL gambler, I appreciate the commandments (little "c.") I do, however, have a question re: #2 and #3. Does betting on a Thanksgiving Lions game mean I'm twice-damned?

  • At 4:32 PM, Blogger the butler said…

    I swear to God my friend, Shane, and I are Commandment #9 personified. Every single week, 'round about half-time of the first set of Sunday games..."why the hell didn't we take the [insert name of team winning by two TD's]"

    -side note- never go to any casino in Iowa. Payed $5 for a damn bottle of Bud while sitting at the friggin' blackjack table. And they also have no sports book.


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