Gambling State University: Week One

No One Is Gonna Hold The Texans Back From Stomping All Over The Dolphins
Photo Credit: AJ Guel

They say money can’t buy happiness. Well, you should see the smile on my fucking face on on a Fall Sunday. And yes, we’re talking about NFL gambling. Want to know my strategy? First off, you bet, you don’t gamble. Betting is making the best educated and informed decision you can. Gambling is what my college roommate “Pussy Titus” used to do. “Pussy Titus” wasn’t actually a pussy when it came to gambling. He was more of a meathead idiot without the muscles. “Pussy Titus” gambled on games with little to no information at all. Guess what? It didn’t work for him and it won’t work for you.

Most weeks I’ll usually bet three games. If I’m great, I win three out of three. If I’m good, I win two out of three. Yes. Here and there you’re going to take your lumps. You can’t win every bet, but then again no one can. But if you’re disciplined, you can make money. I’ve been betting the NFL for eight seasons now and have made some serious coin in six. My bets range anywhere from fifty dollars to a thousand, so by my wager you’ll be able to gauge my confidence. What I’m selling you, you can’t buy. I’m selling you the world’s rarest commodity: certainty in an uncertain world. I’m so confident I won’t get murdered in a dark alley for these picks that I want you to go out and buy a car. Buy a new house. Go into debt. Why? Because you’re about to make bank.

More after the jump:

The PickHouston Texans -12 points vs. Miami Dolphins
The Texans play host to the laughing stock of Hard Knocks: the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins will be starting converted wide receiver and now rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The problem with the Dolphins isn’t Tannehill, it’s… well, everything else. While Misses Ryan Tannehill might not look good in the years to come, chances are Ryan Tannehill well. But that time isn’t now and won’t come until the Dolphins surround him with a team. At the moment, the Dolphins have no one at wide receiver and boast a mediocre backfield at best. The offensive line is respectable, but their best lineman (Jake Long) is already playing with a sprained MCL. And on defense, it can be argued that the Dolphins just got rid of their best defensive player in Vontae Davis via trade. This leaves the secondary exposed.

With Davis’ departure, Andre Johnson will be matched up on Sean Smith. While Sean Smith is a capable corner, he isn’t exactly in the same class as Johnson. Advantage Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. What complicates matters for the Phins is that Joe Philbin hasn’t done anything to win over the locker room since arriving. The Dolphins don’t have any sense that they want to rally around a coach that is cutting and trading their best players in hopes of rebuilding for the future rather than making a run right now. And believe me, coaches matter (ie. Jim Harbaugh).

The Houston Texans on the other hand are competing for a Super Bowl. Houston has one of the best defenses in the league (even without Mario Williams) and probably the most balanced offense in the NFL. The Texans, led by Arian Foster, feature the second leading rushing attack behind only the Denver Broncos last year. Expect Foster (and/or Ben Tate if Foster’s knee becomes an issue) to gash this defense forcing the Phins to commit to the run, leaving the deep ball open for Andre Johnson. I could go on and on about how this game can get ugly, but I won’t. So, I’ll leave you with this: a home opener pitting a Super Bowl contender against arguably the worst team in the league has to instill confidence in any bettor. While twelve points is a lot to lay, you have to smell fear in your local bookie and that’s why this spread has moved from 7 to 12 (the line while I currently write this article). Overall, the Texans defense should provide the offense with extra opportunities making for a more than comfortable cover. Take the Texans in this one and don’t think twice.
The Prediction: Texans 34, Dolphins 9.
The Bet: $250

The Pick: Seattle Seahawks -3 points at Arizona Cardinals
Yes, I know. The preseason is the preseason. But as of this moment, as a bettor, the Seahawks have me six and three-quarter inches hard. Granted there’s some chub left on the table, but as you can tell I’m excited. Why am I excited? I’ll tell you. So far, the only rookie quarterback who has looked better than Russell Wilson is Andrew Luck. The problem right now is the Seahawks know they’re good. Why? Because they keep hearing it. Some prognosticators are even predicting them to get by the Niners and take the NFC West. While I won’t go that far, I will say that the Seahawks can and will beat the Cardinals in their two meetings in 2012.

Something tells me that the Cards get out to an early lead in this one. But if you’re a faithful bettor you shouldn’t fret; they play sixty minutes for a reason. Expect the Seahawks to come roaring back and for the most underrated defense in the league to pressure John Skelton. Skelton, who beat out Kevin Kolb in an uninspiring QB battle, can be expected to turn the ball over against this (forgive the pun) ball-hawking defense. By my account, Skelton’s good for at least two interceptions and a fumble against a defense that was top 10 last year statistically. A defense which, if you have to know, will be better.

Marshawn Lynch at the moment is listed as questionable with back spasms. My inkling is that in an NFL opener, “Beast Mode” will do everything he can to get on the field. In the event that he can’t go, the Seahawks have a capable backup in 2012 fourth round draft pick Robert Turbin. Yes, assuming Lynch plays, the Cards will stack the box forcing Wilson to throw. This actually excites me. While Wilson is a rookie and stands only 5’11″, he does have 58 collegiate starts under his belt and impressive collegiate numbers as a passer. What’s more encouraging is that when a play breaks down, Wilson can run. And I mean really run. Guy ran a 4.5 forty at the combine. That’s fast enough to get away from any NFL linebacker not named Patrick Willis.

How about a stat? Pete Carrol is 4-1 against the Cards in his coaching career, and some of those wins came with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. If we can agree that Russell Wilson is more competent than Tarvaris Jackson (since Tarvaris lost his starting job to Russell), maybe you can see what I do. An eleven point Seahawks win. That said, expect Larry Fitzgerald to be Larry Fitzgerald but for the Cards offense to be inept otherwise. In the battle of the birds, take the Hawks.
The Prediction: Seahawks 24, Cardinals 13
The Bet: $150



About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.