This week, we’re going to start this article off with non-betting related writing. If you’re just here to read my bets to make money (either through agreement or opposition) skip to me taking New England again.
If, however, you’re in the mood for a little insight into the creation of Owl Eats Football and my goals here, then this intro is for you.
Those of you who know me personally know I left a steady career to pursue something that I have put on the back burner for years. Owl Eats Football was my way of creating a reality for myself that reflects my dreams, passions, desires. This website was my way of speaking into existence my identity as a sports writer.
Amazingly, to me at least, it has begun working.
Through the creation of this website I gained confidence and began applying to jobs in this arena. I didn’t hear back from many, but as I kept writing and applying, some started to respond. Recently, I got accepted to my first paid sports writing position (if you’re interested in reading that, then there will be more details following, but for now just take my word).
It isn’t glamorous and it is not highly paid (but once I put all my earnings on my best bets, then I’ll be making double). To have reached this point, though, is more meaningful than I can communicate to you in this section.
Perhaps in five years I will be writing articles for ESPN, or perhaps this will be the start of a mediocre side gig. Either way, though, trying to do something unconventional and different can be scary, and to be even moderately successful is a great feeling. I hope that you reading this can find some solace, motivation, inspiration, happiness knowing that it is possible to shake loose from a situation that does not make you feel yourself. That it is possible to change courses and create the reality you want.
But this introduction isn’t just a Disney monologue about chasing dreams, it is also an announcement that Owl Eats Football is changing.
Based on the responses of the loyal readers (shout out to Jim, Helen, Robert, Marty, Kyle, and Devon) as well as the numbers, it seems as though the content that gets the most attention is the betting content. As such, the site will be transitioning away from the fantasy world and will focus on the betting world. This is going to free up my time as I start to expand my work, but also will allow me to put more time into the gambling side of things. Most of your favorite articles will stick around - A Monday Recap, a Tuesday Early Best Bets, and Thursday Best Bets. Depending on how everything goes we may even add a Prop Bet Saturday article, but we’ll have to see.
I’ll still be playing fantasy and you can find me on any of the DFS sites (stueast13). Here, though we will focus on winning bets and analyzing lines, over/unders, money lines, props, parlays, and teasers.
If you’ve read this far, then you also deserve one more thing: a huge thank you. Thank you for taking time out of your life to read my website, thank you for supporting someone doing something that defies a lot of logic, thank you for accepting this venture. I will not forget you all when I am sitting on my yacht writing for millions...although you might have to remind me not to forget you.
With all of the mushiness out of the way, here are this week’s Best Bets:
NE -17 vs NYG
Oh baby, a lot of people’s relationships were saved by the Patriots pulling out a cover against Washington.
After advising you to empty accounts behind your significant other’s backs, it paid off as the Patriots managed to win by 26 against a hapless Washington team that fired its coach the next day.
Some out there may point out that this win looked bad and that we should be downgrading the Patriot’s side after such a disappointing showing. My argument is the exact inverse. If a terrible Patriots performance garners a 20 point win against a terrible team, then we should bet even more confidently on them against bad teams.
If they perform poorly, they cover. If they perform well, they cover.
And guess what? The team the Giants are bringing to Foxboro is bad.
The Giants will be without their best tight end, their two best running backs, and their #1 wide receiver. Their #1 wide receiver this game hasn’t taken a snap all season.
In addition to all of this, the Giants start a rookie at quarterback who threw for 182 yards at home against the Vikings. I would say Bill Belichick eats rookie quarterbacks for breakfast, but football coaching robots don’t eat food.
In 24 career games against rookie QBs, Belichick is 19-5 and 12-0 at home.
I could go on and on about how the Patriots have been up by at least 26 in all games against opponents with losing records or how the Patriots are giving up less than 7 points a game (and it’s only that high because Jarrett Stidham threw a pick 6) or how the Giant’s secondary is full of players who refuse to be within ten yards of a receiver.
Instead, though, I’ll just leave you with last week’s win as your guiding light. Even if the Patriots bomb for two or three quarters they can cover.
Adults empty your bank accounts, kids “borrow” your parents credit car, babies ask for an advance on those college funds. This is the game to double your wealth.
NO PK @ JAX
I’ll admit, I was ready to throw down some money on Jacksonville here. I thought Vegas and the public would go name recognition and give the Jags a bunch of points because they are a franchise battling for recognition while the Saints are perennial NFC runner-ups.
Instead, though, Vegas is giving name recognition to Gardner Minshew.
I know I am a broken record on this point, and Minshew is electric, but I swear this is a case of a mania out pacing the actual reality of a player. He is iconic in his appearance, fearless in his play, and he has a name that it is impossible not to say with a smile on your face.
But by the numbers? He is a quarterback who takes a lot of sacks, fumbles frequently, and is bailed out by long Leonard Fournette runs.
In his four games as a starter, Minshew has taken 11 sacks and has fumbled an insane 7 times. In his four starts, the Jags are averaging 18 points. In his four starts, the Jags have beaten Tennessee and Denver and lost to Houston and Carolina. The clear distinction there is that they beat bad teams and lose to good teams.
New Orleans is a good team. In Bridgewater’s three starts, are averaging 25+ points a game and have scored 30+ in two of those. They have won a shootout on the road, they have won a defensive battle at home. They have beaten two playoff teams, they have beaten a hot Tampa Bay team.
On Sunday, Bridgewater will be throwing to the two best offensive weapons on the field. Although DJ Chark and Leonard Fournette are enjoying amazing seasons, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are the players they aspire to be.
It is not as easy as saying the Jags are overrated, but in this case they are being given too much credit for a respectable run with their back up.
While everyone else is infected with Minshew Mania, let’s sit back and sip our Bridgewater serum while we win some money.
MIA +3.5 vs WAS AND Over 41 (AND unofficially MIA to win +155)
I know what you’re thinking: TWO BEST BETS ON THE WORST GAME IN NFL HISTORY?!? ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!
The answer may be yes, but I think this is a classic case of perception outpacing reality.
Let’s take these bets one at a time. First Miami +3.5.
Someone has to win this game.
I know it is gross and makes me wish I didn’t watch football, instead spending Sundays outside breathing fresh air, but this is a leverage point.
Here are the facts:
Washington just fired its coach, the new coach has talked about running the ball more (even though they have the fourth highest rate on first down in the league), they got blown out by the Pats at home last week, they travel to Miami, they don’t have a qb.
Miami is coming off of a bye week, they have had the same coach all season, they have started the same QB multiple weeks in a row, they are at home.
I am not getting on a soap box for this one, but for Washington to be favored on the road in the midst of the season they are having is down right irresponsible.
Now onto the over 41.
This contributes to my thinking on Miami winning, but the fact is that Josh Rosen has made some throws this season and his weapons (Davante Parker, Preston Williams, possibly Albert Wilson, Kenyan Drake) are all actual NFL players who will be lining up against a putrid Washington secondary. Miami will score points.
On the flip side, it is scary to hear Bill Callahan (new Washington coach) say that they will run the ball more, but he is also saying he will be starting Case Keenum.
This season, when Keenum starts and finishes a game, Washington has scored 21 points per game and Keenum has thrown for a total of 8 touchdowns. He has a clear connection with Terry McLaurin, but also spreads the ball around enough to average 310 yards passing per game in those contests.
If Miami gets out to a lead exploiting the Washington secondary, Keenum will be forced to sling the ball all over the field and the scoring could leap off the page.
Both of these teams are bad, but the defenses are their weaknesses and Miami is in the better situation.
You don’t have to like it, and you shouldn’t respect it, but as a gambler you have to acknowledge it: this game offers some winning bets.
Let’s swallow our pride and take a stance.
ATL -2.5 @ ARI (contingent on Julio Jones playing, otherwise substitute first other best bet)
This bet is essentially my personal hell.
The board this week offers a lot of great opportunity, but if I am being honest with myself and removing all of the possible biases I have, I think this is one of the top five bets of the week.
It is my personal hell, though, because both of these teams are wildly unpredictable and do things that defy logic. Sometimes, though, you need to travel through hell to experience heaven. With that being said, here is some logic to backup this pick.
So far this season, Arizona has been downright bad at winning games. They do all of the things a team that loses does, and that makes them a prime target to bet against.
Some examples: they lead the league in field goals and lead the century in field goals of 20-29 yards through five games; they are horrendous in the red zone, rarely scoring when they get in close; their coach has shown poor understanding of leveraging situation to maximize his teams win probability; they do not throw enough deep passes.
Mixed in with all of this is the very real chance that they could be without two of their most explosive players in Christian Kirk and David Johnson. Although they have plenty of players to step in, their offense clearly changes shapes without these pieces. Last week they saw only limited success against a Bengals team that is at the bottom of the league in defense.
But, you are saying, Atlanta is also at the bottom!
And you are correct, but there are three differences between Atlanta and Cincinnati's of the league: Atlanta wants to win.
Currently, Atlanta is in a division that has two starting QBs out, and although their backups continue to win games, the Falcons still fancy themselves as a team with a chance if they can get things together. Also, do not underrate the fact the Dan Quinn is coaching for his job. This team is desperate to win, while Arizona is just happy to be an NFL franchise.
Looking at the Atlanta skill players, this is a matchup that should allow them to get that job done.
With three receivers who can make plays and a tight end who is at the top of the league in performance so far this year, Matt Ryan should theoretically not leave the field without scoring a touchdown on every drive.
Certainly Atlanta’s defense has similar issue to Arizona, but this is a bet that more of the Falcon’s drives end in touchdowns while the Cardinal’s drives end in field goals.
If you have followed the Cardinals at all this season, that is the safest bet there is.
Other Best Bets
PHI +3 @ MIN
Call this a gut pick, but I think Philly is a great team with some bad injury luck and I think Minnesota is a good team with problems beating good teams.
Without going too deeply into the numbers, my perspective is that the Vikings win games they can get the lead in. They have beaten Atlanta, Oakland, and the Giants because those teams cannot stop the run and the Vikings can pound the ball down their throats.
Against the Packers and the Bears, however, Minnesota has struggles to get the offense going and they have lost.
Philly is the best in the league at stopping the run, and they have an offensive line and a quarterback playing at an elite level.
I believe in the Philly franchise as a legitimate player in the NFL, and I would not be surprised if the Vikings miss the playoffs.
In a game though should come down to Kirk Cousins versus Carson Wentz, my money is going down on the guy whose team actively wants to have the ball in his hands.
LAR -3 vs SF
There are a million statistics out there, but this one leapt off the page to me.
With extra time to prepare (meaning more than Sunday to Sunday - like first game of the season, after a bye week, or after a Thursday game) Sean McVay is undefeated against everyone except Bill Belichick.
Meanwhile, San Fran is coming off of a Monday night beatdown of the Browns, but a costly one. They will be entering this game against the Rams without their starting tackles and their crucially important fullback Kyle “I don’t want to type out this last name but I’ll do it for the Owl Hive” Juszczyk.
The long and short of it, then, is that the Niners will be weakened in the unit that has helped them run for a league high 200 yards per game, and they will have a tougher time protecting Jimmy G against Aaron Donald.
This bet is also partly a statement against all the Rams hate. Yes Jared Goff is not an amazing QB, but McVay is an amazing coach and the Rams still have electric skill position players.
The Rams have faced three opponents who currently have three or more wins. On the other side, San Francisco has faced none.
I don’t love this pick, but I like it.
KC -4 vs HOU
This is like one of those math problems in high school.
If x then y.
In this case x = Patrick Mahomes + Tyreke Hill and y = Kansas City win
To give you some insight into my thinking, I bet this line in a parlay with the Saints and Patriots lines. I feel good about those and bet them separately, but by including this line in there I have a potential big win if these guys play.
If however Mahomes is stuck throwing to Byron Pringle all day, I didn’t have to lose too much. It maximizes the effects of them playing while minimizing the effects of them sitting out.
And to be clear, the Chiefs can win this game either way. While America is abuzz with Deshaun Watson-Will Fuller syndrome, they are overlooking that this team has scored below 20 twice and 28 or under in every game but their last.
I like the leverage these injuries give us and the fact of the matter is that Houston is an inferior team playing on the road against a disrespected Chiefs team.
Take this line any way you want it. I took it in a parlay, and will take it straight up given the right injury news.
The Big Money Makers
So, we have lost our way a little here.
After a first week of total success it has been abject failure the last two weeks.
I will point out that were it not for the Ravens last week, we would have won some money, but that would make me sound like a sore loser, so I’m not going to mention it.
Instead I will give a shout out to Owl Hive super member Kyle for pointing out some gambling logic. On teasers, “crossing zero” is a negative value bet because you are sacrificing that point’s value (understanding that a tie is extremely unlikely).
In other words, by teasing a line across zero, you are actually only teasing by the equivalent of five points because -.5 to +.5 only matter in the event of a tie.
Armed with this knowledge and inspired to read more into the philosophy of gambling, our bets are only getting stronger. Therefore, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that these parlays and teasers are guaranteed to be better than all of the ones that came before them.
Whether they win or not is beyond the scope of my philosophy.
Here they are:
TEASER (6.5 points)
NO JAX over 38.5
WAS MIA over 35.5
SF LAR under 56.5
PHI +9 @ MIN
NE -11.5 @ NYG
DET +10 @ GB
$25 to win $137.50
PHI to win (+120)
DAL to win (-350)
NE to win (-1250)
BAL to win (-570)
NO PK (-105)
25 to win $150.70
MIA to win (+160)
NE to win (-1050)
NO to win (+105)
TEN to win (+120)
$15 to win $177.64