Gambling will gut you.
After years of preparation, in 2018 I finally got the courage to put down a significant amount of money along with my cousin to join the Westgate SuperContest.
Last Sunday was the first time my picks actually mattered – if I had the best gambling year of my life, I’d have a shot at splitting a $US1.5 million grand prize with my cousin. I was ready to live the fantasy.
Then my picks went 1-4. Gross. Even worse, those losses came in a myriad of gut-punching ways. The Giants were an inch away from scoring a two-point conversion that would have saved me a loss, and the Steelers somehow blew a 14-point lead to the Browns to settle in a tie.
Thankfully, not all my bets were losers. We hit our moneyline underdog with the Chiefs beating the Chargers outright, an easy two-team teaser with the help of the Ravens and Vikings, and also cashed our Monday Night Chaser. Even with a brutal stretch of SuperContest picks, I survived with my bankroll intact.
There’s only one thing to do after a rough week – dust yourself off, check your wallet, and charge back in.
Below are our picks for Week 2 of the Westgate SuperContest, along with some of our other favourite bets on the slate.
SuperContest Pick 1: Indianapolis Colts (+6) over Washington Redskins
Week 2 is all about avoiding overreaction, and this line looks about three points too high based on where it would have been before the Redskins big win in Arizona to start the season. I think that game spoke more to the Cardinals deficiencies than anything else, and while Indianapolis won’t be world-beaters this year, they can certainly keep pace with Washington.
Andrew Luck can basically will the Colts offence to 20 points or so on his own, and the Redskins haven’t won their home opener in four years.
SuperContest Pick 2: Atlanta Falcons (-6) over Carolina Panthers
Despite a disappointing performance against the Eagles in Week 1, this feels like a great spot for the Falcons to bounce back to get their 2018 campaign on track.
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offence shot themselves in the foot time and time again against Philadelphia, coming up short in the red zone on several crucial possessions. That’s a testament to the Eagles defence, and while red zone struggles have been a theme for the Falcons, the Carolina defence they will face on Sunday is not at the Eagles’ level.
Atlanta hasn’t lost to the Panthers at home since 2014, and with Carolina stuck recovering from several key injuries, I think the Falcons do enough to cover here.
SuperContest Pick 3: Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) over Kansas City Chiefs
This is another great example of an overreaction game. The Steelers looked awful in their Week 1 tie with the Browns, blowing a 14-point fourth quarter lead to a team that hadn’t won a football game in close to two years. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs now possess the greatest offence the world has ever seen.
I don’t buy it.
Whenever the public is all over one side of a bet, it’s usually best to go the other way, especially when the public falls in love with an underdog. According to the Action Network, 75% of bettors have taken the Chiefs in this game, which is right now the most heavily bet game of the board.
Look for the Steelers to bounce back at home – I’m not saying it will be easy, but I think they figure out a way to win by a touchdown.
SuperContest Pick 4: Detroit Lions (+6) over San Francisco 49ers
After getting crushed by the Jets on national television, it’s certainly understandable that some bettors don’t want to touch the Lions this week. But again, this line feels like an overreaction to the recent past, rather than a true representation of how these teams stack up.
This game opened with the Niners at 3-point favourites, with bettors jumping on San Francisco with such fury that the line has since swung three points. Matthew Stafford isn’t going to throw four interceptions in back-to-back games, and Las Vegas usually isn’t three points off its line. Close your eyes, take the points, and check the box score in the morning.
SuperContest Pick 5: New York Giants (+3) over Dallas Cowboys
While the thesis of Week 2 gambling I’m trying to convey is “don’t overreact to one performance,” sometimes you can’t help yourself.
Sure, it was just one game, on the road, against a solid Panthers team, but the Dallas offence looked horrendous. Just unbelievably bad.
The Giants are stacked with weapons that went slightly stifled by the Jacksonville defence, but I do not doubt that Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. would like nothing better than to announce the arrival of their 2018 season on national television.
LAST WEEK: 1-4
Eliminator Lock: Saints and Rams
So, if you listened to me last week and picked the Saints in your Eliminator pool, my apologies. If its any consolation, we were eliminated alongside basically 60% of all players who were also backing New Orleans.
Lesson learned: Don’t back the biggest favourite on the board Week 1. Duly noted.
That said, one benefit to losing Week 1 is that some leagues will let you buy back in, as long as you can nail two eliminator picks in Week 2 and pay for another entry.
So to get ourselves back into the Eliminator challenge, we’re backing the Saints again, along with the Rams. Both teams are heavy home favourites playing lesser opponents, and both teams have something to prove.
Easy money, let’s get back in this thing.
Money Dog: Buffalo Bills (+280) over Los Angeles Chargers
Wait wait wait wait!
I know, it looks bad. The Bills got run out of town by the Ravens in Week 1, and then the Ravens got run out of town on Thursday night, so by the transitive property of trash football, the Bills are a tire fire.
But hear me out. Nathan Peterman is gone, and the Bills are now in the hands of rookie Josh Allen. The Chargers are a west coast team coming east and are favoured by an inflated line to a home dog coming off a huge loss. It’s a perfect storm of bad gambling karma against Los Angeles.
Further, the last time these teams met was the infamous Peterman game! There are Bills players who’d like another shot at the Chargers without being hampered by five first-half interceptions.
Don’t get me wrong; there are other underdogs I think could win straight up on the board – any of the dogs from our SuperContest picks, for instance. But after winning our Money Dog last week, I’m feeling frisky. If you want to put a few bucks on a longshot, this is a fine time to bet against Philip Rivers.
Weekly Tease: Saints (-3.5) and Broncos (-0.5)
Last week’s Weekly Tease was the easiest winner we had all week, with the Ravens running away with the win over Buffalo and the Vikings taking care of business at home against the Niners.
This week, we’re going to keep the magic going with another six-point, two-team teaser at -110 odds. First, we’re bringing the Saints down to 3.5-point favourites over Cleveland (am I setting myself up to get burned by the Browns again? You bet I am.)
Along with the Saints, we’re pairing the Broncos just to win as they host Oakland in Denver, hoping that the thin air at Mile High will leave the Raiders short of breath.
Monday Night Chaser: Seahawks @ Bears Over 43
One saving grace of last week’s brutal stretch of betting was our Monday Night Chaser hitting, with the Rams and Raiders coming just under the total. For anyone that wound up chasing their lost funds on that, you’re welcome.
This week, we’re betting the over on the Bears and Seahawks Monday night matchup. Given the reputations of these two teams, it feels like we’re set for a defensive matchup, but I feel in this case that might work in favour of the over. Between the Bears fearsome front four and the porous offensive line of the Seahawks, it’s not hard to imagine Khalil Mack immediately taking over yet again, causing turnovers and shortening the field to make for some quick scoring.
Now check out our best bets from this weekend’s college football action
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