INSTANT UPDATE: Many of the lines have moved since I ran the simulations yesterday. I normally mention which games have changed up here in an update, but this week there’s just too many (10 of 16 lines have shifted since Tuedsay) so the changes are reflected down below. The only really notable one is the Detroit game – the line has moved from +4 all the way to +6.5. The computer no longer thinks this game is a trap; its previous combined bet of $55 (the biggest of the week) has slipped down to just $22.
WOW!!! Son of Gamblor swung for the fences on its first week in action…and man did he ever connect. In an astonishing debut, Son of Gamblor made the most of his opportunity to gamble with real money and went 6-0-2, hitting a $224 bet on the New York Giants, a $72 bet on the Kansas City Chiefs, a $40 bet on the Washington Redskins, and a $40 bet on the Detroit Lions. Gamblor had a pretty great week of its own, going 9-4-3 with a weighted win percentage of 89.6%. The total profit for the week was a tidy $647.02. Which means, barring some sort of catastrophe, I’ll be playing with house money for the rest of the season. I couldn’t be happier, but for anyone who is impressed enough to be jumping in with both feet, I advise a bit of caution. Gamblor and Son of Gamblor aren’t designed to perform at this level consistently. That’s just not possible. I can guarantee that the pendulum will swing back soon enough, and in all likelihood it will be a very long time before I see a week this good again, for either program.
Son of Gamblor wasn’t the only one who delivered an incredible performance during its first week on the job. Gaining a grand total of 231 yards on the ground, Arian Forster of the Houston Texans delivered not only the greatest debut rushing performance in the history the NFL, but the second-highest rushing total of all time for opening weekend (second only to OJ Simpson’s 250 yards that opened up his 1973 campaign – the same year Simpson eclipsed the 2000 yard barrier). Fantasy owners throughout the country who were gutsy enough to put Foster in the lineup for his very first game in the league cackled with glee as the undrafted former Tennessee Volunteer piled up three touchdowns and led the Texans to a 34-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
To celebrate Son of Gamblor’s triumphant introduction to the world of sports gambling, and pay tribute to Arian Foster’s amazing day, I thought for this week’s feature I’d take a look at 5 of the greatest rookie debuts in professional sports history. You’d better watch out – these sons of bitches are mean.
5. Boxing – Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson began his professional career as a boxer on March 6, 1985, at the age of 18. In his first bout, Tyson knocked out his opponent Hector Mercedes in first round, after only one minute and 47 seconds. Tyson’s trademark fury is obvious from the word fight, he swings away at Mercedes as though he’s still in the gym hitting a bag. He’s completely oblivious to any of Mercedes’ attempts to retaliate, and while the fight technically ended as a knockout, it’s actually more of a submission. Tyson would go on to fight 15 times during his first year, and won 26 of his first 28 fights by knockout or technical knockout.
4. Major League Baseball (Pitching) – Juan Marichal. Stephen Strasburg’s strong debut performance for the Washington Nationals got a lot of attention this year, but Juan Marichal’s debut for the San Francisco Giants on July 19, 1960, is roundly recognized as the greatest pitching debut in history. Marichal struck out the first two Philadelphia Phillies batters he faced, and carried a no hitter as far as the eighth inning before giving up a leadoff single – the only Phillies hit of the game. He pitched the complete game, a 2-0 shutout, giving up just one hit and one walk, and striking out twelve. Marichal went on to have a similarly spectacular career, being named as an All-Star 10 times (and the the MVP of the All-Star game once), and having his number (#27) retired by the San Francisco Giants. He’s also remembered for an incident where he hit Dodger’s catcher Johnny Roseboro in the head with a bat.
3. National Basketball Association – Wilt Chamberlain. While Allen Iverson had a very memorable debut (30 points, 6 assists) playing against fellow rookie Ray Allen, the incomparable Wilt Chamberlain easily made the biggest mark on the NBA in his debut for the Philadelphia Warriors on October 24, 1959 against the New York Knicks. Wilt Chamberlain was already a well-known player, having led the University of Kansas to the national title game in 1957 and having spent a year with the Harlem Globetrotters in lieu of his senior year of college. Chamberlain put up 43 points and hauled in 28 rebounds during his major league debut. Over the course of his 14 years in the NBA he went on to score career totals of 31,419 points, 23,924 rebounds, and 20,000 women.
2. Major League Baseball (Hitting) – J.P. Arencibia. I remember hearing about this on ESPNews the night it happened this summer. Plenty of major league players have hit a home run during their first game in the major leagues. Many have hit home runs during their very first at-bat (107, according to baseball-almanac.com). Of these, 26 players managed to do it on their very first pitch. Two players (Kevin Kouzmanoff of the Cleveland Indians and Daniel Nava of the Boston Red Sox) managed to hit grand slams on their very first pitch. But the best single-game performance by a rookie in their debut has to be awarded to J.P. Arencibia of the Toronto Blue Jays, who made his debut against the Tampa Bay Rays on August 7, 2010. In addition to blasting a two-run home run facing his very first pitch in the major leagues, Arencibia went on to hit another home run (only the fifth player in history to hit two home runs in a debut) and added a double and a single, going 4-5 for the game with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI’s in a game the Blue Jays won by a score of 17-11.
1. National Hockey League – Mario Lemieux. Mario Lemieux began his career amidst some controversy, after tense contract negotiations with the Pittsburgh Penguins when he was named the first overall draft pick in the 1984 draft. But any doubts about his worth were silenced almost immediately when he first took the ice for the team on October 11, 1984 against the Boston Bruins. During his very first shift on the ice, Lemieux stole the puck from legendary Bruins defenseman Ray Borque, slipped away on a breakaway, and scored a goal on his very first shot in the NHL. The remainder of his career speaks for itself, as his introduction to the Penguins ushered in an era of NHL and EA Sports dominance that lasted until his retirement in 2001.
And now, on to the picks. Both Gamblor and Son of Gamblor have scaled things back considerably this week. Gamblor has picked a clean slate of underdogs, while Son of Gamblor only likes two favorites (Atlanta and Cleveland) for negligible bets. The Detroit game is the only true trap that the computer suspects.
Gamblor’s Pick: Pittsburgh (+5)
Bet Amount: $34.03 (Hedge)
|COMMENTS: Pittsburgh came up big last week, but they won’t be able to summon the same magic twice in a row – especially not on the road. The Steelers defense will keep Chris Johnson bottled up for a while, but eventually he’ll break free, and Pittsburgh’s own offensive contribution won’t be enough to make up the difference.|
Gamblor’s Pick: Miami (+5.5)
Bet Amount: $13.07 (Flip)
|COMMENTS: I feel like this one comes down to whether or not the Vikings can get their offense back in synch. I’m not sure that’s ready to happen yet. Miami might not have the same aerial weapons as New Orleans, but they should be able to imitate their ground game, which is what ended up being the difference in the long run. I don’t think Farve is on the same page with his receivers yet, and Miami should be able to keep this one close enough for the spread to factor in. Gamblor doesn’t think the spread is as big as it should be here, and Son of Gamblor agrees, throwing in $9.40 on the Dolphins.|
Gamblor’s Pick: Arizona (+6.5)
Bet Amount: $6.85 (Hedge)
|COMMENTS: I think Atlanta bounces back with ferocity at home, and Arizona’s marginal win over St. Louis would have me very worried if I were a Cardinals fan. Not to mention that it’s Arizona’s second week in a row on the road. Son of Gamblor likes the Falcons here, but only for $0.21.|
Gamblor’s Pick: Cincinnati (+2.5)
Bet Amount: $31.12 (Hedge)
|COMMENTS: I’m not at all happy about this one. Gamblor thinks the spread here is just about perfect, which is the recipe for a large hedge bet on the Bengals. I disagree, of course – Cincinnati got humiliated by the Patriots in their debut this season, while Baltimore battled through a tough Jets defense to secure their win. Playing on their own home field will give the Bengals enough of a boost to keep the score low, but they’ll lose by a field goal or so and the spread won’t be enough to get them over the hump.|
|KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Gamblor’s Pick: Kansas City (+2)
Bet Amount: $13.28 (Hedge)
|COMMENTS: Apparently Gamblor is as impressed by the Chiefs as everyone else is after their victory against the Chargers, but don’t expect the same intensity out of them here. Even though Jamaal Charles is averaging 5.9 yards per carry and is in the front end of his career, Todd Haley thinks it’s a good idea to have him split carries with Thomas Jones, who averages 4.0 yards and is on the tail end of his. Essentially, Kansas City’s idiot coach is cutting their offensive production in half (since the Chiefs can’t stretch the field with Matt Cassel’s derringer of an arm). As in the Bengals game, I’m expecting a low score, but a margin of victory for the Browns that eclipses the spread. Son of Gamblor agrees with me, wanting to put down a negligible bet of $0.46 on the Browns.|
Gamblor’s Pick: Chicago (+7)
Bet Amount: $26.77 (Flip)
|COMMENTS: Apparently Gamblor respects Dallas’ offense enough that it thinks a line of 8 points is a trap. I actually agree, but for a different reason – I think Dallas’ defensive line will harrass Jay Cutler and force a number of turnovers, which will in turn produce points. I can’t really fault Gamblor’s logic here, but I just don’t think it will apply. Son of Gamblor is on board with his dad, wagering $10.91 on the Bears.|
Gamblor’s Pick: Detroit (+6.5)
Bet Amount: $3.32 (Hedge and Flip)
|COMMENTS: This is the only game this week that Gamblor (and Son of Gamblor, who fully endorses this prediction with a bet of $18.82) sees as a classic trap. Without Stafford, everyone is expecting the Lions to revert to their original state of helplessness. And everyone seems to think that Michael Vick will be able to carry the Eagles. But it’s Detroit’s first home game of the season, and they’ll be looking to avenge last week’s bullshit loss to the Bears. I feel silly putting faith in the Lions, but they won me money last week and I’m expecting them to do it once again. UPDATE: The line movement makes both systems not so faithful that this is a trap anymore.|
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Gamblor’s Pick: Buffalo (+13)
Bet Amount: $9.34 (Hedge)
|COMMENTS: Glad I’m not wagering too much money on Buffalo here – in my mind, it’s already gone. Sadly for me, I’ll also be facing Aaron Rodgers in fantasy football this week, so I can expect to suffer a loss there as well. All I can hope for is that the Packers approach this like a preseason game and sit Rodgers at halftime so he doesn’t get hurt.|
|TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Gamblor’s Pick: Tampa Bay (+4.5)
Bet Amount: $7.47 (Hedge and Flip)
|COMMENTS: I’m using a provisional spread of 4.5 here – Vegas is waiting to see what Matt Moore’s status is before they post a line. I’ll update later in the week once there’s something definitive.|
Gamblor’s Pick: Seattle (+3.5)
Bet Amount: $2.90 (Hedge)
|COMMENTS: Seattle surprised me last week, but it’s going to take a lot more than one solid home victory for me to have faith in them. Son of Gamblor also likes Seattle, but only for three cents, so I’m not even sure that warrants mentioning. I’ll probably round this one down and avoid betting on this game – I can’t stand the Seahawks and I feel like Kyle Orton and the Broncos will remind us why everyone was so shocked when the Seahawks beat San Francisco last week.|
|SAINT LOUIS RAMS
Gamblor’s Pick: St. Louis (+3.5)
Bet Amount: $28.84 (Hedge)
|COMMENTS: I’m hoping that last week’s embarrassment to the Titans was just a fluke, and that the Raiders actually are capable of being competitive in a football game. I’ll take a flier here and say that they’re going to break their streak of 8 consecutive losses (against the spread) as favorites.|
Gamblor’s Pick: Washington (+3)
Bet Amount: $7.68 (Hedge)
|COMMENTS: A small hedge bet on the Redskins. The Texans looked great last week, and of course Arian Foster won’t be able to repeat such an amazing performance two weeks in a row, but this time around I think the Matt Schaub – Andre Johnson partnership will come to life in this one.|
|NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
NEW YORK JETS
Gamblor’s Pick: NY Jets (+3)
Bet Amount: $14.52 (Hedge)
|COMMENTS: I’m not happy about this one. The Jets are getting waaaay too much credit here based on what happened in their first game against the Patriots last year. I know they’ll be motivated, but Tom Brady is healthy again and the Jets won’t be able to even think about trading scores with them. Could be a very bad night for the Jets.|
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Gamblor’s Pick: Jacksonville (+7)
Bet Amount: None
|COMMENTS: That’s a lot of points for a 1-0 team to be laying to an 0-1 team. I still think the Chargers are going to be very strong this year, but they’re going to be feeling very frustrated with each other after last week’s loss to the Chiefs. It seems like Vincent Jackson’s absence has left a bigger hole in the Chargers offense than anyone would have anticipated – although Legedu Naanee stepped up last week, he’s only 6’2 so it’s going to be tough for Phillip Rivers to float the ball in to him like he could do with the 6’5 Jackson. A few mistakes from the Chargers’ offense will keep this one close enough for the spread to make the difference.|
|NEW YORK GIANTS
Gamblor’s Pick: NY Giants (+5)
Bet Amount: $4.15 (Hedge)
|COMMENTS: Peyton should have little trouble dismantling his little brother’s team’s secondary.|
|NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Gamblor’s Pick: San Francisco(+6)
Bet Amount: $17.64 (Hedge)
|COMMENTS: If Seattle managed to put up 31 points on the 49ers, how many can we expect out of the Saints? 50? 100? I hate getting suckered into picking big favorites, but this seems like an easy victory for the Saints. LATE NOTE: The line change has convinced Son of Gamblor to pick the Saints for a whopping $0.02.|