Kickers and pleasers: Just another Sunday wagering on professional football

Ah, the never-ending joy of wagering on the NFL.

One thing many people overlook about the sustained success of both college and professional football is not only the excitement and unpredictability the sport brings and the gladiator-like nature of the game but perhaps most importantly, football sets up perfectly for wagering.

Dabo SwinneyFor example, I was nowhere near a sports book for Monday night’s championship game but when Clemson scored that final touchdown, while it may have seemed meaningless to the some trust me, there were literally hundreds of millions of dollars that changed hands, a lot of happy people and a lot of pissed off motherfuckers.

The spread in that game was six-and-a-half.  That final Clemson touchdown cut the lead from 45-33 (‘Bama covering) to 45-40 (‘Clemson covering).

Anyone who called that a meaningless touchdown knows nothing about the sport.

The very nature of scoring in football also allows for different types of wagering.  It’s as if the two were made for each other.  For example, if you liked ‘Bama to win big, you could have pleased your bet, buying six or so points and increasing your payback.  Of course, in this situation, you would have lost.  If you liked ‘Bama to win but not cover, you could have teased your bet down six points and in this case, you would have won, just not as much money.

Clearly, as with any wagering, there’s danger involved, particularly when you’re pleasing points.  That’s why the payout is so high.  High risk, high reward.  In doing so, and this is important, you’re taking the chance that Las Vegas is far off on their point spread which, as frequently as Vegas tends to be right, it’s also perfectly possible, in fact far more likely, that they whiff on a few games.

That’s exactly what Milhouse and I were hoping last Sunday when we pleased four different wagers, the two point spreads and the two over/unders in the NFC wild card playoff games.  And boy, were we right… almost.

I can't feel my faceMilhouse and I were in agreement on both games.  As much as I liked Seattle to win, he convinced me otherwise by throwing a few meaningful statistics my way.  A) I had routinely underestimated the Minnesota Vikings all season long, which was correct.  B) Home playoff underdogs historically fare well and with two of them losing on Saturday, odds were in favor of the third one pulling out a victory.  And C) in perhaps the coldest playoff game ever played, anything was possible.

Since the Seahawks were favored by four-and-a-half, our six point pleaser made perfect sense.  All Minnesota had to do was win by a point-and-a-half, or basically just win the game.  We also pleased the already low under of 40 down to 34.  That seems astronomically low for an NFL football game but in this case, it made good sense.  Once word got out that the weather was going to be well below zero, Las Vegas couldn’t catch up to that number quickly enough.

As it turns out, we ended up losing the four-team pleaser when Vikings kicker Blair Walsh went laces out and missed what would ordinarily be a 27-yard chip shot.  Not only was it the shortest field goal ever missed in the final two minutes of a playoff game in NFL history, Walsh hadn’t missed one that short all season.

But here’s where things get to be a real kick in the pants, pun wholeheartedly intended.

The early game was only half of our pleaser.  In the later game, we liked the Packers (+1) to beat the Washington Redskins in a high scoring game.  So we combined the early two outcomes with Packers (-5), which hit, and pleased the over/under of that game up from 48 to 54.  Remember, pleasing is moving points in a direction you’re confident enough to wager on to increase your payout.

The Packers won that game by a final score of 35-18: total points scored 53.  Early in that game, Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins missed an extra point, which would have made the total 54.

Aaron RodgersFucking kickers.

What’s more disturbing than the fact that there are NFL players named Dustin and Blair is that Dustin and Blair cost Milhouse and me the opportunity to cash in on a 45-to-one wager.

That’s right, that’s what a four-team pleaser pays out: 45-to-1.  And we missed it by two lousy kicks.

Had Blair and Dustin come through, the good doctor and I would have been popping bottles, perhaps even bought a kicker of our own with the winnings.  Of course, Dustin’s made extra point would have resulted in a push, narrowing the 45-to-1 payout down to about 17-to-1, but that’s still a hell of a lot better than losing.

I’m sure Blair Walsh and Dustin Hopkins have more important things to worry about than our slightly misguided wagers but fuck ‘em, this is my website and I’ll talk about how their gaffes affected my winnings if I want to.  If they want to start a sports blog about how their ineptitude costs their teams the game, then more power to them.

Okay, deep breath. Whew, better.

So what’s to be learned here?  I’m not here to tell you to always go with your instinct.  That’s clinically proven to work about 50% of the time.  I am here to tell you that Las Vegas isn’t always right.  Just pick and choose your spots wisely.  Pleasing bets is definitely one way to make wagering on games more exciting and make your winning ticket far more profitable.  Just understand the risk you’re getting yourself into… and the damage a missed kick can do to your day.

14 thoughts on “Kickers and pleasers: Just another Sunday wagering on professional football

  1. Scott Norwood is rolling over in his grave…Oh wait! He’s still alive! Damn Kickers!

  2. That Clemson TD was a thing of beauty. Covered the 6.5 to win the Rogers pool and my share was $425…glorious. Myself and 2 other guys always enter 1 sheet each. However we split the money. Well if your sheet wins you get half and the other two split the other half. One of my partners won the whole kit and kaboodle…$1700. So that was not a meaningless TD 🙂

  3. NICE damn work, D.

    I ended up finishing third in Dan’s pool edging out your brother from another mother, Steve the Beave.

    Here’s hoping talking a little healthy sports talk on the Chump helped in some small way in picking your winners.

  4. Wagering in sports is the life-blood of Vegas . That being said , casinos this past fiscal year lost over $625 million . I don’t think Clemson was ever really in with a chance of winning the game, but it made for one hell of a spectacle.

    DeShaun Watson and Derrick Henry are very special talents.

    So after five years of ineptitude with Billy King as general manager of the Nets, their billionaire owner, Mikhail Prokhorov fires the GM and head coach Lionel Hollins. Yet idiots felt , it was best, if front office had a payroll at one time in excess of $120 million , meant it would lead to success and their winning an NBA title ? Let’s hope the likes of Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless keep on using crack in their mocha-latte’s .

    Jon Gruden might be interested in returning to the NFL he’s said to be interested in coaching the Indianapolis Colts ? Though Eagles’ owner Jeff Lurie may or not be interested in hiring the former Bucs’ head coach.

  5. Al…

    It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Las Vegas took a hard look at how it’s running it’s numbers.

    One need look no further than the fact that if you bet every NFL underdog to win this year, you would have won money. I’m sure they weren’t all that happy about that.

    Re: the Nets, Mikey the Russian should really give me a stab at his franchise. I’ll guarantee him a playoff spot within three years.

    And Gruden to the Eagles? As much as I know he likes being in that booth, I imagine the Eagles is a job opening he’d at least have to somewhat entertain.

  6. It happens, Burnsy.

    And for me, sure, winning the money is nice, but it’s also about the bragging rights of saying, yeah, we called this wager.

    Would have been a nice one, that’s for sure.

  7. Glad I’m not a wagering man as I am a Bama guy. That last Clemson TD would have hurt. But you know I have to go there as a UA alum – Roll TIde! I thought it was one of the more entertaining title games (especially if you didn’t have $$$ riding on it). Good luck to Florida next year – did I hear your suspended QB is transferring or did I imagine it in my drunken stupor?

  8. Nope, Moose, you got that right.

    Grier’s gone.

    As far as I know, Treon Harris isn’t going anywhere but there’s another quarterback already on the roster who they like and yet another, the kid from Louisiana, who is supposed to be the second coming.

    But then again, so was Grier.

  9. Florida will have 5 QB’s on campus. Treon (please no), Purdue Grad transfer Apple something, Luke Del Rio (Jack’s kid) and likely starter honestly. Two freshmen, Kyle Trask from Texas and the prize recruit Feliepe Franks.

    Del Rio transferred from Oregon St. and sat out this year. He was able to practice so he knows the offense. He will likely win the job. He is better than Treon by miles by all accounts.

  10. I don’t think he has as much upside as Grier, but I don’t think he needs to either. Just be a lot better than Treon and we will be fine. It was annoying watching the bowl games and just about every team I watched had some kid slinging it around. Yet we can’t even complete a forward pass most of the time.

    Muschamp wanting lifelong gator fan Derrick Henry to be a LB instead of a RB tells me all I need to know about the former regime. The guy left us with Grier and pretty much nothing else on offense. I hope S. Carolina suffers.

  11. We saw what Auburn did this year, D.

    At least it keeps the UF-USC rivalry healthy.

    Let’s see what Coach Mac can do with a nice full season of recruiting and a ten win season under his belt.

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