Week 05 NFL Thursday Night Football pick from the world renowned handicapper, Colin Wynner.
Arizona (-1.0) @ St. Louis – The odds-makers still aren’t buying the Cardinals. It’s as if they don’t think the Cardinals can continue the 15 consecutive fumble recovery streak. Still, just a single point? (Grown to 2.5 since Wednesday [insert your personal favorite lewd joke here]) One lousy point for a 4-0 team that has beaten the best team in the AFC (Patriots) and the current leader of the toughest division, allegedly, in the NFL (NFC East). As Cris Carter would say, “Come on, Man! You gotta give this Cardinals team some love.”
If you’re looking for further confirmation that the odds-makers believe that this Cardinals team is a desert mirage, look no further than the Super Bowl odds – still +2200. Anyone who follows futures knows that the days of being to hammer out a bet with reasonably high odds on a fringe, under the radar team are long gone. In fact, the bookies are more skittish about the futures than Jesse Pinkman on the day long “buried cash digging” adventure with Mike, the one where he had to stay clean for an entire day. A mere sign of life from a team will cause an immediate unprovoked reaction to drop the odds like Lindsay Lohan at the end of a Hollywood party.
But what doesn’t make sense here is that at the highest, odds for playoff teams would be around 15-1, but more like 8-1. And take a look at what these criminals do to the NFL division odds where there are 4 teams, and the worst of the worst, the no shot in hell teams are roughly 18-1 at the beginning of the season. In the interest of a fair comparison, let’s say the Browns were 22-1 to the AFC North prior to the year. For the same price, would you want the Browns in AFC North prior to the season or the Cardinals now at 4-0?
The point here is that in the futures world bookies don’t have to be accountable. They can make every team 2-1 and call it a day. Of course, the counter to that is “well, if every team was 2-1, their handle would go way down.” Puh-lease! Most gamblers are going to gamble regardless of how high the odds are stacked against them. Don’t believe me! Remember when Indian Casinos only offered Blackjack Machines? There were packed even though they only paid out at 97%. Wait, those machines are paying out 97%, wow that means I will only lose 3% of the time. I need to get over there. See what I mean.
How ridiculous is the normal protocol for lowering odds? Well, for example, the “American League Wild Card Play-In Game” participants (Can we get some shirts made up for this major accomplishment?), the Orioles were 150-1 to win the World Series prior to the season. After starting out a very mediocre 9-7, the Orioles dropped to 100-1, like, oh shit this team actually team has a pulse and the corresponding immediate drop.
With roughly a third of the season in the books, the O’s that sat atop the AL East with a 29-20 record. Every team in the division was within 4.5 games of first place. Now mind you, this isn’t the AL Central, it’s the AL East, where you have, with special thanks to Super Punch Out, King Hippo or the Toronto Blue Jays, Bald Bull, better known as the Tampa Bay Rays, what we thought was going to be Mr. Sandman in the Boston Red Sox, of course they turned out to be Glass Joe and Mike Tyson, pre-Miss America rape, jail sentence, losing contract with Nintendo. Translation, no one was scared of the Orioles, well nobody was scared of the O’s except for the books who over-reacted by lowering them to 30-1.
The interesting thing is one would think that if the Orioles odds dropped, another team, specifically one within the division would rise. Not the case. As when the O’s were 150-1, the Yanks were 13-2, Sox 10-1, Rays 18-1 and Jays 40-1. The drop to 100-1, saw the Yanks at 7-1 (slight increase), Red Sox 18-1 (on the heels of another wretched start), Rays at 18-1 and the Jays at 22-1. When the O’s went to 30-1, the rest of the division look like this: Yanks 9-1, Sox 20-1, Rays 9-1 and Jays 20-1. The ultimate squeeze!
Now if the books had to offer the opposite side of every future bet, that would make a big difference. For example, I might have no problem laughing my ass off at the books while betting the Red Sox not to win the WS at, let’s say -3000. You see once they started getting pounded in the ass like the future lifer, Jerry Sandusky, they might consider setting a more reasonable line or give up a major pay day to all those “nots”. Of course, they also have your money for 4 months of interest earning and the heavy juice between the “yea” and “nay” bets. But there is a reason they don’t offer that, its value for bettor!
Now consider that over-reaction to the O’s, doesn’t it make sense that the books should be reacting to the Cardinals the same way? There are even similarities between the O’s and the Cardinals, (a). Both teams have a dominate team in the division that one would likely see as very difficult to over-come; and (b). Both teams have been, at least according to basic stats, lucky to be where they are. The O’s were almost out-scored by their opponents on the year, despite posting 93 wins. The Cardinals are literally three plays away from being a very Cardinal-esque 1-3. Yet, the odds-makers completely over-reacted to the O’s and not so much the Cards.
So, why the long odds? Very simply it appears that the odds-makers aren’t worried about this team winning the Super Bowl or even coming close for that matter. Fair enough, but if the Cardinals take care of business in the next three games, all games they figure to be favored in, they will be 7-0 and heading to the playoffs even if they experience a 2011 Buffalo Bill collapse. Hmm, the time might be right to throw down some “future” coin on this team. Just saying, you heard it here first!
As for tonight’s game, the Rams have been extremely fortunate to win their two home games. Therefore, I believe they have created a false illusion that they are a good home team, one that is capable of continuing to beat better teams at home, despite not being favored to do so. The biggest question I have for this game is what happens when “luck” meets “luck”? Well, then you have to go to talent. The Cardinals have a big advantage in overall talent.
My guess is not all that close, something like Arizona 31 St. Louis 13. I am making it a Contest pick.
Pick: Arizona -1.0 (-2.5)
Note: I use the LVH Lines from vegasinsider.com. The Super Contest lines are not live, but instead are set and held the entire week. In cases where I’ve made a contest pick, I will use that line, as opposed to the current line. Yeah, it’s a bit of a cheat and you wouldn’t be able to get that line once you’ve printed out my picks to head to the betting window but in the rare event that I win a contest bet but caught in the middle on a live play, rest assured I will adjust my record.