Last week was about as vanilla as it’s possible for things to get when Gamblor is involved.  The computer only made three bets, all of which were hedge bets on visiting underdogs (St. Louis, San Francisco, and Buffalo), and all of which were approximately $10.  There were a few other picks for each model, but the dollar amounts were well below the $5 minimum, so only the three bets I mentioned above were placed.  Ultimately, the computer was 1-1-1 for the weekend on its bets for a tiny loss of $1.21, which means that for the second week in a row, the computer has broken even.  That’s likely to change this week, with a huge bet on the Chargers coming up.  Let’s hope that Gamblor can finally start climbing out of the hole that it’s in.

I don’t normally use this space to talk about fantasy football, but that’s what I’m going to do this week.  There’s a general philosophy that your early picks in a traditional fantasy draft should be spent on running backs.  I think that’s horseshit.  As the currently disappointed owner of Chris Johnson, I’m finding that that my later picks at running back (Ahmad Bradshaw, who I took in the 5th round, and Fred Jackson, who I took in the 9th) have been much more productive.  The thing about running backs is that they’re just too unpredictable.  Adrian Petersen is pretty much the only one who has consistently been a safe bet.  Pretty much all of the big-name backs have had dud seasons here and there, and it’s pretty difficult to predict whether or not they’re going to actually deliver.  Of the ten hottest running backs coming into the 2011 season (C. Johnson, Rice, Peterson, McCoy, Foster, Mendenhall, McFadden, J. Charles, Gore, and F. Jones), only five are within the top 50 points producers in a traditional format.  These five (McCoy – 6th, McFadden – 9th, Peterson – 12th, Rice – 14th, and Gore – 23rd) have been putting up good points this season.  The other five (Foster – 67th, Mendenhall – 80th, C. Johnson – 115th, F. Jones – 125th, and J. Charles – out for the season) have pretty much been busts.  Compare this to the five most desirable quarterbacks (Rodgers, Brady, Vick, Brees, and Rivers) and you’ll see that quarterback is a much more predictable position.  Of these, the top four are performing at a reasonably high level (Rodgers – 1st, Brady – 4th, Brees – 8th, Vick – 13th) and the fifth (Rivers – 55th) is still putting up respectable numbers.  Who won my fantasy league last year?  The guy with Tom Brady.  Who was his top running back?  Arian Foster – who he had taken in the 6th round.  Who’s leading my fantasy league this year?  The guy with Aaron Rodgers.  Who’s his top running back?  Cedric Freaking Benson.  While it’s obviously important to solidify your running back base, if you don’t get one of the top quarterbacks, you’re pretty much screwed.  If you leave a quarterback for the later rounds based on the philosophy that there’s a bigger disparity between the top running backs in the league and the top quarterbacks, you’re going to get stuck with Ryan, Freeman, Cutler, or Romo, and the guy who spent a second-round pick on Tom Brady will already have a seventy point edge on you just six weeks into the season.

Away Home Spread Gamblor’s Pick Bet Amount Son of Gamblor’s Pick Bet Amount Overall Pick Overall Bet
CHI at TAM 1 TAM $3.29 TAM
WAS at CAR -2.5 WAS $6.46 WAS $6.46
SND at NYJ 2 SND $171.49 SND $48.10 SND $219.59
SEA at CLE -3 SEA $5.29 SEA $5.29
HOU at TEN -3 HOU $14.27 HOU $14.27
DEN at MIA -1.5 DEN $16.72 DEN $16.72
ATL at DET -3.5 ATL $6.52 ATL $6.52
KAN at OAK -4 KAN $10.59 KAN $10.59
PIT at ARI 3.5 ARI $9.94 ARI $9.94
STL at DAL -12 STL $0.71 DAL $0.52 STL
GNB at MIN 9 MIN $6.84 MIN $6.84
IND at NOS -14 NOS $0.77 NOS $44.83 NOS $45.60
BAL at JAC 7.5 JAC $22.92 JAC $45.46 JAC $68.38


Computer’s Pick: Tampa Bay (+1)
Bet Amount: $3.29 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: The Bears looked awfully sharp against Minnesota, but I don’t think they’re going to look so great here after flying all the way to London.  I haven’t figured out how to deal with these London games as far as Gamblor is concerned (and there haven’t been enough of them to overcome any kind of statistical noise), so if this required a bet I would probably just skip it.  As it happens, I think this game is probably a coin toss – the teams are pretty evenly matched with Chicago having a tougher schedule thus far, so it makes sense to take the single point here.
Computer’s Pick: Washington (+2.5)
Bet Amount: $6.46 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: Washington seems to have morphed overnight into the version I expected to see at the beginning of the season.  Rex Grossman stepped out and served up heaping bowls of interception, and the team reacted pretty predictably by falling to pieces.  I don’t really think that benching him was an overreaction; he was never that good to begin with.  Beck won’t be any better.  I think Carolina will exploit Washington’s lack of team chemistry, and finally win the turnover battle in a game.  This is an upslope game for the Panthers – I think this is where they finally get into gear this season.
Computer’s Pick: San Diego (-2)
Bet Amount: $219.59 (Consensus)
COMMENTS: It surprised me that San Diego is a favorite in this game, because they really haven’t been as dominant this season as I expected them to be.  A big part of that is the lack of Antonio Gates; without him the Chargers passing game isn’t anywhere close to where it could be.  Ryan Matthews has been having a breakout season, but the Jets will be able to clamp down on him if the Chargers try to keep the ball on the ground.  I don’t have any huge qualms about the computer’s bet here – it’s a big game for both teams, and if they both deliver their A games I think the Chargers are a slightly better team.
Computer’s Pick: Seattle (+3)
Bet Amount: $5.29 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: The Seahawks pulled off a miracle victory against the Giants last week, but I don’t think that will change the direction the team is headed.  They really can’t do anything well, and even though Cleveland has many of the same issues, I think their almost-comeback last week against the Raiders will provide them a bit of a boost.  Plus, I hate betting on Seattle.  They almost always let me down.
Computer’s Pick: Houston (+3)
Bet Amount: $14.27 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: I’m hoping for a shootout here, but with Andre Johnson still hobbled, I don’t think it’s very likely.  It’s possible that Chris Johnson will finally have a breakout game, but what seems more likely is that both teams will load up the line of scrimmage and shut down the run, while daring the other to attack via the air, which neither is particularly well-equipped to do at the moment.  Which will mean plenty of punts.
Computer’s Pick: Denver (+1.5)
Bet Amount: $16.72 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: On its face, this is a battle between two of the league’s most dysfunctional teams.  But this game should be completely controlled by the Broncos.  Tebow is stepping into his first game as a legitimate starter and he gets to do it in front of a crowd that will be even more supportive than he’d find even back in Denver.  Losing Brandon Lloyd will hurt Tebow in his debut, but not so much as to cost Denver the game.  Miami won’t be getting their first win here.
Computer’s Pick: Atlanta (+3.5)
Bet Amount: $6.52 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: It’s hard to fathom how Atlanta has managed to fall so far, so fast in the wake of their incredible season last year.  But I have the feeling that Atlanta might actually win this game.  Detroit’s tightrope walking finally caught up to them last week, and they’re going to be down as a result.  It’s the perfect time for Atlanta to sneak into town and steal a win while Detroit is still trying to recalibrate things.
Computer’s Pick: Kansas City (+4)
Bet Amount: $10.59 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: I’m not sure whether Carson Palmer is likely to start this game, but regardless of whether he does, the Raiders are in a bit of trouble here.  Hue Jackson’s call to go for it on 4th down on Houston’s 10 yard line near the end of the game last week was one of the stupidest coaching decisions I’ve ever seen in life.  I like that he’s willing to take gambles – the fake field goal was genius – but that decision (which nearly cost the Raiders the game) was somewhere along the lines of doubling down on a 15 just because the dealer got lucky on his last hand.  Kansas City is finding their footing, and this is a wonderful opportunity for them to buckle down, execute, and reap the rewards of some ill-conceived gambles that the Raiders take.
Computer’s Pick: Arizona (+3.5)
Bet Amount: $9.94 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: It’s the first time these teams have faced each other since the Steelers beat the Cardinals in Superbowl 43, and a lot has changed for both teams.  The Steelers no longer boast the same defensive strut that they used to possess, and Kurt Warner is a distant memory for the Cardinals.  Since dropping their second game of the season to the Redskins, Arizona has been losing by bigger and bigger margins each week, and I think that trend will probably continue here.
Computer’s Pick: St. Louis (+12)
Bet Amount: $0.19 (Conflict)
COMMENTS: This should be a blowout win for the Cowboys.  St. Louis just has absolutely nothing going for them at this point, and Brandon Lloyd will be a welcome addition, but he won’t make any difference just yet.
Computer’s Pick: Minnesota (+9)
Bet Amount: $6.84 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: I can’t believe the Vikings are only getting nine points after the drubbing they took on Monday night.  The only way this spread makes sense is if Vegas is up to something – which they usually are.  Asking the Packers to win by at least nine points seems too good to be true.  Which is why I’d be very wary of betting on this game.  I’m not thrilled with the computer’s bet here, but I think somehow it’s going to turn out to be on the right side.
Computer’s Pick: New Orleans (-14)
Bet Amount: $45.60 (Consensus)
COMMENTS: Another Superbowl rematch, once again with one of the original quarterbacks removed from the equation.  This spread is much more reasonable, but I think it’s actually going to turn out to be too much.  The Colts defense is going to want some revenge against the Saints, and Curtis Painter is actually seeming to get the hang of not turning the ball over for easy touchdowns.  I don’t think Indianapolis has much of a chance to win this game, but I don’t think it’s going to be a blowout – their defense has too much pride to let that happen.
Computer’s Pick: Jacksonville (+7.5)
Bet Amount: $68.38 (Consensus)
COMMENTS: And here’s another spread that doesn’t make too much sense.  The only explanation is Baltimore’s lack of offensive firepower.  But the Ravens have only put up less than 29 points once this year.  Jacksonville’s only chance is if they manage to bog the Ravens down into slow drives and keep them out of the end zone.  That’s definitely a possibility, but I don’t see it as being a very good one.  I have a bad feeling that Gamblor is going to blow a sizeable chunk of money on this game.


W L P Weighted Wins Weighted Picks Weighted Win % W L P Weighted Wins Weighted Picks Weighted Win %
1 7 6 2 331 1305 25.4% 5 3 497 2739 18.1% -$375.32
2 7 7 579 1184 48.9% 3 5 1897 4154 45.7% -$66.41
3 11 5 548 686 79.9% 3 4 935 1402 66.7% $136.36
4 6 10 143 572 25.0% 1 7 34 2711 1.3% -$404.87
5 6 6 1 376 679 55.4% 2 3 1 110 287 38.2% -$0.56
6 2 6 1 50 127 39.4% 3 4 28 51 54.2% -$1.21
Total 37 34 3 1977 4426 44.7% 12 22 1 3473 11239 30.8% -$712.01