Inside Slant: Week 10

Dave Larkin breaks down some under-the-radar bets to consider this week. 

I don’t claim to be an expert at betting football games.

After all, gambling is, by definition, a bit of a toss-up. If you manage to come out of a season with anywhere around 55% of your bets earning a profit, you can afford to pat yourself on the back. Getting to that point is the hard part, but my aim is to help you do that across a season with some under the radar wagers.

What gambling on football does allow us to do is have a little bit of fun with games we might not normally be interested in. While wagering on the spread and total points is the norm, your best bet might be to eschew these and go with more unconventional options.

It was another tough week for yours truly, but the trick is to be steadfast and stay true to what has gotten you there. Attempting to rationalise why you lost bets is a fruitless exercise, especially if you have dealt with a bad beat.

So, let’s go back to the well this week and see if we can get back to winning ways. It has to happen one of these weeks, right?


WEEK 9 RECAP

LOSS: Away team total points: Jacksonville over 17 points at Kansas City @ 5/6

The Jaguars’ putrid offense did its usual disappearing act for the first few quarters and only came alive when the game was out of hand. The time to consider a quarterback change is long past. The Chiefs defense performed well when it mattered, but it is hard to feel too bad about a bet that could have easily gone the other way.

LOSS: Home team total points: Oakland under 22.5 points vs. Denver @ 10/11

Sometimes it is nice to admit you are wrong, and in this case I was sort of strangely glad to lose money. It has been the longest time since the Raiders were relevant and in with a legitimate chance of not only making the playoffs, but making waves once they get there. The win over their arch rival Denver was quite a thing to behold. The trend suggested the Broncos defense would be able to limit the Raiders to under 21 points, but the lack of explosive plays from the Denver offense really hampered them defensively.

WIN: Total points under 41 – Detroit at Minnesota @ 10/11

My only correct pick of the week, and this time the trend came off for me. The Vikings continue their insane run of under games, despite Vegas setting low totals time and time again. The Lions fought hard to steal this one in overtime, but this inept Minnesota offense will be seeing plenty more under bets coming their way.

LOSS: Philadelphia to beat New York Giants @ 59/50

This is another game that could have gone the other way. The Eagles’ playcalling let them down as Doug Pederson continued to call zone read and quarterback sweep plays on fourth down. Had the Eagles taken those points instead of playing with a devil-may-care attitude, they might have stolen this one. Instead, the Giants got the job done with a late defensive stand. 

WEEK 9 RECORD: 1-3
SEASON RECORD: 15-20-1 (0.416)


WEEK 10 PUNTS

Home team total points: Baltimore over 28 points vs. Cleveland @ 10/11

The success rate for betting on 10-plus point underdogs over the last decade stands at 56.1%, but I am shying away from the easy pickings here. The Ravens probably shouldn’t be 10.5-point favourites over any team, although the Browns are that bad. Baltimore’s offense has a chance for a ‘get well’ game here against an inferior opponent on a short week. Home teams tend to have a big advantage on Thursday nights, so expect a heavy dose of Terrance West – and a stifling defense – to see Baltimore put up a nice score. Prediction: Browns 14, Ravens 31

Longest successful field goal: C. Santos (Chiefs) at Carolina @ evens

The dependable leg of Cairo Santos has been a huge asset for the Chiefs this season. Through eight games he has successfully converted 18 of 21 attempts and seems comfortable with longer boots as well. The Panthers defense has looked like a totally different unit after the bye. They should give the Chiefs offense enough problems to force them into field goal attempts. Add in the fact that Panthers kicker Graham Gano has been struggling recently and Santos’ odds of evens look very appealing.

Total points over 50.5 – Atlanta at Philadelphia @ 10/11

A staggering 88.9% of Atlanta’s games (8 out of 9) have gone over the total, sure signs that both Vegas is not setting the totals high enough and the Falcons offense is a unit on fire. The Eagles defense did not play up to its potential in New York, but even an improved effort is no guarantee they will stop Matt Ryan. One of the leading contenders for the MVP award, Ryan has made the quarterback position look easy with his effortless drives and clutch throws. Even with the total being 50.5, the Eagles have enough to at least cause Atlanta’s defense some problems and put up a decent score. Prediction: Falcons 31, Eagles 24

New York Jets (-2) vs. Los Angeles @ 20/21

Having witnessed the Los Angeles Rams fall over like a tortoise unable to regain its balance last week, I am fairly confident the Jets can do a job on them here. Why the line is only two points is baffling to me. As bad as the Jets have been at times, they are at least capable of scoring points – unlike Jeff Fisher’s team. Could this be the week we finally get a glimpse of Jared Goff? Unlikely, but it won’t matter: the Jets should win this quite handily.


Make sure to check back next week for more betting tips ahead of Week 11’s slate of games. Follow me on Twitter @davlar87.