Sports gambling column: Week 20

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Yeah, I took a break before the Super Bowl just like the Rams and the Patriots did. Hopefully, this column is a little more exciting than Super Bowl LIII, which was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever.

Who could have predicted that two of the league’s best offenses would combine to score a paltry 16 points? Not the analysts, not CBS’s Tony Romo, and certainly not the version of me that made seven different bets on the big game last week. Here they are with their explanations, in descending order of how confident I was in them when I made them (1 being the most confident bet).

7: Patriots running back James White to all players in receiving yards (+700)

As you’ll see as you read on, I was basically all-in on White being a major factor in this year’s Super Bowl. As you know if you watched any of the game (I don’t blame you if you turned it off), he was not anything close to that. This was one of those bets that I just had a good feeling about, even if that feeling was wrong. I liked White’s chances against the Rams’ subpar linebackers, and the Patriots love to control the clock with short passes to White. White had a huge role against a good Falcons defense in Super Bowl LI, and I thought he might surpass that performance here, given he had 15 receptions and 94 yards against a good Chargers defense in the Divisional Round this year. But I probably should have paid more attention to how the Patriots gashed the Chiefs in the AFC Championship because running back Sony Michel was one of the few sources of offense on Sunday, and he did this with 18 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Julian Edelman was the matchup the Patriots preferred in the passing game, as he had 141 receiving yards and was named MVP of the game.

6: White to score the Patriots’ first touchdown (+450)

I was pretty confident that White would score at some point in the game, but those odds weren’t nearly as good as the ones for this bet were. I liked the Patriots to get White involved early, and I envisioned Romo talking about a masterful screen play that set up White to score the Patriots’ first touchdown. Unfortunately for me and for all the people watching the game, there was only one touchdown even scored in this game, which ended up being a death sentence for more than half of the bets I made on the Super Bowl.

5: White to have the first reception for the Patriots (+250)

I had too much faith in White. That is all.

4: Patriots fullback James Develin to score a touchdown (+1200)

Like the previous bet I covered, I had a weird feeling that this would happen. The power running game that the Patriots employed during these playoffs played into me making this bet, as did esteemed gambler Sal Locono (commonly known as Cousin Sal) making it a point to bet on this. I couldn’t believe Bovada was giving out +1200 odds on this, and I had to take a bet that would pay out $120 on a $10 bet, especially because I felt good about it.

3: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to score a rushing touchdown (+1000)

Ok, now this one actually has some facts to back me up. As of Nov. 8 2017, Brady had the highest success rate (success means getting a first down/touchdown), 91.1%, of any active NFL quarterback. I loved the odds, and we all know how many touchdown drives end on the opponent’s one-yard-line. I thought Brady might punch one in.

2: White to score a touchdown (EVEN)

I thought this would for sure happen sometime during the game, but the Rams defense held up pretty well the whole game. When the Patriots finally got close to the endzone thanks to a long completion to tight end Rob Gronkowski, I was ready. But, they handed the ball off to Michel, which was a gut punch. White didn’t deliver at all for me.

1: Romo to predict under 7.5 plays correctly (-145)

I just figured the CBS executives would tell Romo to tone it down a bit after he predicted almost all of the Patriots’ plays in their final two touchdown drives in the AFC Championship, and I was right. I don’t know how many plays Romo called out this time, but I’m certain it was less than 7.5 and Bovada already told me that I won the bet.

If you’re keeping track, I only won one of the seven bets I made. That’s disappointing, but I actually ended up making money on the Super Bowl. Before the Super Bowl, I was about $49 in the red, and now I’m just over $40. That’s because Oct. 23, I bet $5 on both the Rams and Patriots to win the Super Bowl (I talked about both in my Week Eight Column) at +280 and +550 odds, respectively. That Patriots bet might’ve been my best yet, as it was at +550 odds and required almost three months of foresight. The Patriots are the only thing that we can rely on in the NFL, and I’ll enjoy making money on them until they stop winning. I have no bets I want to make this week, so I’ll wait until the Oscars. Until then, get ready for the NBA, because the NFL season is sadly over.

 

Money spent to date: $210

Winnings to date: $170.99

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