Sports gambling column: Week Seven

It’s finally time. Time to gamble again. Time to choose what bets I want to make again. Time to start checking the Bovada website three times a day again. It’s finally time.

Today, my Bovada account will be unlocked. It’s been exactly one month since I disabled it myself, and exactly one month since I placed bets on the Bengals to win the AFC North and the Chiefs to win the AFC West. It’s been a long month since then, and while I haven’t exactly felt a strong urge to gamble during my hiatus, I was a little bummed out that I didn’t get to bet on any NBA futures this year, as all of the propositions were taken off the website after the season started. But, I’m kind of glad I did, because I was planning on taking the Cavaliers to win more than 30.5 games, and right now they’re 0-3. But, overreacting early in an 82-game season is dangerous, so I still have a chance. Regardless, it’s time to find a $10 bet to make, and I’m going to mix things up and rank my five favorite potential bets, in descending order.

5: Colts to win AFC South (+2000)

Well, there’s a chance this could happen. The Colts currently sit dead last in the division at 2-5 but have had some heartbreaking losses thus far. They barely lost to the defending Super Bowl champions on the road in week three, then went and lost a baffling three-point overtime game to the Texans the next week. Add those two close losses to a shellacking of the Bills last week, and you’ve got an interesting team, to say the least. While they will likely have to go 6-3 or better the rest of the way to end up winning the division, the Colts still have five division games left to make up that ground, meaning they are not as big of a longshot as their record might suggest. At +2000 odds, I could win $200 on a $10 bet. I might bet this one, or stick it in my back pocket to jump on later if someone important on any of the other AFC South teams suffers an injury, or if the Colts’ chances to win the division improve.

4: Beto O’Rourke to win one of Texas’ U.S. Senate seats over Ted Cruz (+400)

I know that Texas is historically a red state. I know that despite some of the large cities in Texas mostly voting liberal, Cruz will win the rural areas, as Donald Trump did in 2016. But, O’Rourke isn’t that far behind in most polls, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he won. Besides, what really would make betting this fun is the fact that, unlike all other bets, I actually have influence over the outcome. I turned 18 in July, and I’ll probably vote this weekend. I’m definitely voting for O’Rourke, and I do have some faith that if Texans my age will go out and vote, O’Rourke can win this thing. As we’ve seen time and time again, voter participation is crucial in deciding an election. If Texas’ teenagers vote blue, it’s going to be close. The odds aren’t great on this one, but it is a really fun bet.

3: Chiefs to win AFC (+220)

Even though the Chiefs are 5-1 and are coming off a dominating 45-10 win vs. the Bengals, this bet is not as good as it would seem. The Chiefs may very well end up with the first seed in the AFC heading into the postseason, but the Chiefs in the regular season and the Chiefs in the playoffs have always been two vastly different teams. Their coach, Andy Reid, has a history of making bizarre clock-management decisions late in games, to the point where it is almost taboo to bet on his team in the playoffs. In the playoffs last year, the Chiefs blew a 21-3 lead to the Titans at home and lost 22-21 in a game that featured Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota throwing a touchdown pass to himself. Weird things happen in Chiefs playoff games, and they’ve suffered heartbreaking losses recently. The counter to all that is the fact that the Chiefs are pretty much unstoppable offensively, and as quarterback Patrick Mahomes keeps improving, so will their team. They do have a bad defense, but it stepped up on Monday night, holding the Bengals to an aforementioned 10 points. But, I can’t get past all the bad gambling voodoo. I see this team facing the Patriots in the AFC title game, but losing, no matter where the game is played.

2: Steelers to win AFC North (+155)

This would be a hedge for me, as I already took the Bengals to win the division a month ago. Like all the other bets on this list, I would only put down $10, meaning that if the Steelers won the AFC North, I would just barely make back the $20 I spent on the Bengals. If running back Le’Veon Bell was confirmed to be playing in week eight, I would feel much better about this bet and I’d probably pull the trigger on it right now. As of today, Bell is not with the team. Since no one really knows when he’s coming back, this bet is a stay-away for me. If Bell returns soon, and if I can still make my money back from the Bengals bet, then I might just go ahead and spend my $10 on this bet.

1: Patriots to win AFC (+200)

By now, pretty much everyone is tired of the Patriots consistently playing easy opponents, getting shady calls, cheating, and winning/making Super Bowls. But that’s exactly what makes this bet so good. Calls will go the Patriots’ way in the playoffs. We saw it in last year’s AFC title game when Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack was called down on a potential game-sealing defensive touchdown. Because of the shakiness of the rest of the AFC East, the Patriots still have a great chance to get the first seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the AFC side of the playoffs. There are so many reasons why I should bet the Patriots. Mahomes may burn out soon. Coach Reid cannot be trusted in a big playoff game, and frankly, neither can a quarterback as young as Mahomes. I have essentially forbidden myself to bet against head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. I love the Chiefs as much as anyone, but the Patriots are a proven team, and there are just too many advantages to betting them for me to not go through with it.

I will still take a few days to see what bet I end up taking. Remember, these odds can change at any time, so the bet I take may reflect that. One thing is for sure: It’s good to be back. See you next week.


Money spent to date: $70

Winnings to date: $0