The 2022 football season started off with a long, happy bang, then we rode the roller coaster, got back on the tracks and went through the playoffs on a road as bumpy as one alongside a New Orleans levee.
Put it all together, and as Frank Sinatra once said, “It was a very good year.” However, as you’ll read below, we’re done with the hype. Done with looking back. Done with hyperbole. Even done with Aunt Mabel? (Man, I will miss her.)
That being said, before I hand out the picks, I want to repeat in this spot something I have had the privilege of saying this same time, on the same channel: Thank you so very much for following this column each week – whether this was your first go-round or whether you have been with me since the beginning.
I hope I helped mix in a little fun with a little profit-making, and I am already looking forward to September 2023. We’ll see you then, as we’ll be back for another sarcastic, informative ride with Mabel, Drunk Joe and all of our friends. Most of all, we’ll be back with you.
Now enough of the sap, and let’s get to what you came here for …
Any comments, questions, gratitude or hate mail is welcome at [email protected].
NOTES: All spreads, money lines and over/under totals (as of late Thursday night) are provided by FanDuel Sportsbook. We started the season with a mythical bankroll of $1,000. Our totals for the past week and the season are at the bottom of this column.
SUPER BOWL LVII BEST BETS
1 / Kansas City money line (+104) over Philadelphia
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Sunday (Fox).
My biggest question about the Super Bowl is – and has always been – do we really need two weeks of hype to talk about how great a matchup we have? Nearly every year it’s the same thing: “This could be one of the greatest Super Bowls ever.” Blah, blah, blah.
Hardly anyone ever says, “This Super Bowl is going to stink and be boring.”
Well, I am here to tell you I think there’s a real chance this one stinks and will be boring. And that’s ahead of time – not at halftime when the talking heads say in near unison, “I never saw this coming.”
For most of the past three months, the Chiefs have been the highest-rated team in football by many, including just about every oddsmaker out there. From mid-October until about 12 days ago, the team with the shortest odds to win the Super Bowl was Kansas City. Then, what happened? The Eagles walloped the quarterback-less 49ers, while the Chiefs nearly needed overtime to beat what possibly could be the second-best team in football.
And? Why did that change the odds and the numbers so much? Makes zero sense to me.
While I most definitely could be wrong about this game potentially being a blowout, I will be super surprised if I am wrong about which team is better and which will win.
I hear the same thing day after day after day: The Eagles’ defense is so darned good. Kansas City hasn’t seen a defense like this. Philly’s skill players are so much better. They’re better in the trenches. Their running game is better. HORSE HOCKEY!
How in the hell could anyone possibly know this? Here’s the full list of quarterbacks the Eagles have defeated on the way to being compared to the 1985 Chicago Bears: Jared Goff (by 3), Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, Trevor Lawrence, Kyler Murray (by 3), Cooper Rush, Kenny Pickett, Davis Mills, Matt Ryan (by 1), Aaron Rodgers (until he got hurt, then Jordan Love), Ryan Tannehill (until he got hurt, then Malik Willis), Daniel Jones (until he got hurt, then Tyrod Taylor), Justin Fields (by 5), Davis Webb (who?), Daniel Jones again and, well, the 49ers didn’t have a quarterback for most of the NFC championship game.
They lost to Taylor Heinicke, Andy Dalton and Dak Prescott.
No Josh Allen. No Joe Burrow. No Tom Brady. No Justin Herbert. Hell, not even Derek Carr. The Chiefs played all those quarterbacks and beat all but Allen. They beat Herbert and Carr twice.
There’s no way to know how good Philadelphia truly is. Yes, it’s not their fault their schedule sucked, but what difference does that make?
Meanwhile, we certainly know how good Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are. And then there’s Andy Reid vs. Nick Sirianni. That’s a whole ’notha story, as I can’t wait until Sirianni panics and goes for it on fourth-and-4 from his own 34 in the second quarter down 10 and hands the Chiefs a gift touchdown.
Besides the futures I already had on the Chiefs, this bet I have added on the money line here is the largest amount I have ever put down on one game EVER, and I have been betting on Super Bowls since I had a nice chunk on the Giants money line to dethrone the undefeated New England Patriots a decade or so ago.
I get why Aunt Mabel and people who don’t know what they’re talking about are taking Philly. (And they’re taking them in droves.) They have always been the “who looked better last week” kind of crowd. I don’t understand how anyone who truly knows anything about football can put any stock in the Eagles.
Maybe they’ll be asking me that question on Sunday at about 9 p.m. But I highly doubt it.
SCORE PREDICTION: Chiefs 27, Eagles 10. (Under 50.5)
2 / More points scored in the second half (and potential OT) at -145
I love this bet not just because the trend has been for more points to be scored in the second half – as it has in five of the past six Super Bowls – but because it’s straight logic. Teams tend to start slow in big games and sort of feel each other out, especially when they haven’t played one another.
This one is no different. Although Philadelphia has been known this season to be a hot-starting team, I still think even if they open up well, they will do it more by the run game. And that takes time off the clock.
In the second half, there will be more of a propensity to throw the ball – whether both teams are going back and forth at one another like in a heavyweight fight – or whether Philly has to throw the ball a ton to try and catch up.
3 / Patrick Mahomes to throw fewer than 294.5 yards at -110
This number his skyrocketed like the space shuttle heading into orbit, before finally settling in and hovering like a balloon carrying Dorothy and her little dog, too.
One thing we know is Drunk Joe rarely – if ever – bets an under. (Unless he’s confronted by a police officer and is asked if he thinks his blood-alcohol level is above or below the legal limit. But that’s for another picks column.) And in Joe’s mind, he thinks Mahomes could throw for 400 yards. (He probably thinks Hurts can, as well.)
This opened around 278, and the sharps jumped on it before the public could. At 278, I would have been tempted to play the over. At 295½, I think you’re getting 17 yards of value. And yes, 17 yards actually means something.
Kansas City is going to try and establish a running game, especially early. And if they have the lead I think they’re going to have, there won’t be many reasons to throw the football in the fourth quarter.
4 / Jalen Hurts to throw at least one interception at +106
I have already gone on ad nauseum at what I think about Philly’s schedule, and that correlates to Hurts taking a huge jump in effectiveness this season. And although throughout his career he hasn’t been one to throw many interceptions, he hasn’t been in a game anything like this in his NFL career. The only games one can (sort of) compare it to are the Bucs in the opening round last year (two picks) and the Giants this year (no picks).
Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo will throw all sorts of different pressures at Hurts, many of which he has not seen much of this season, and that will force him into making some key mistakes. At least one of them is going to turn into an interception.
5 / Travis Kelce to win MVP at +1600
This simply is about value. We’re not getting crazy here with just 10 bucks, but in thinking Kansas City will win the game, there’s about a 70-percent chance Patrick Mahomes is the MVP. There is absolutely ZERO value on betting him at +125 or the like.
In comes Kelce. While Philly will be guarding him closer than anyone else, he is still going to get his. And it’s certainly enough to take a flier on a 10-1 shot on the cheap.
HOW WE DOIN’?
Note: TIES ARE NOT COUNTED IN MY RECORD, which could result in a different total of games in the “straight up” and “against the spread” categories, as well as with totals.
Best bet: 0-1 (-$44). All games against the spread: 1-1 (.500). Straight up (no spread): 1-1 (.500). Over/Under totals: 1-1 (.500).
Best bets: 2-2 (-$34). All playoff games ATS: 6-6 (.500). All games straight up: 7-5 (.583). Over/Under totals: 7-4 (.636).
FINAL REGULAR SEASON
Best bets: 52-37 (.584; +$284). All games against the spread: 134-125 (.517). Straight up (no spread): 157-107 (.595). Over/Under totals: 143-123 (.538).
(click on week to view)
Championship games: 0-1 best bets (-$44); 1-1 ATS; 1-1 straight up; 1-1 over/unders
Divisional round: 1-0 best bets (+$50); 2-2 ATS; 2-2 straight up; 2-2 over/unders
Wild card: 1-1 best bets (-$40); 3-3 ATS; 4-2 straight up; 4-1 over/unders
Week 18: 3-2 best bets (+49); 11-5 ATS; 11-5 straight up; 6-10 over/unders
Week 17: 3-2 best bets (+66); 6-7 ATS; 10-3 ATS; 5-8 over/unders
Week 16: 3-2 best bets (+39); 6-9 ATS; 10-5 straight up; 10-5 over/unders.
Week 15: 3-2 best bets (+$37); 3-11 ATS; 7-8 straight up; 11-5 over/unders.
Week 14: 1-4 best bets (-$74); 5-8 ATS; 8-5 straight up; 8-5 over/unders.
Week 13: 1-4 best bets (-$70); 9-6 ATS; 7-7 straight up; 6-9 over/unders.
Week 12: 3-2 best bets (+37); 11-4 ATS; 12-3 straight up; 8-7 over/unders.
Week 11: 1-3 best bets (-$81); 5-7 ATS; 9-5 straight up; 7-7 over/unders.
Week 10: 2-3 best bets (+$16); 7-7 ATS; 6-8 straight up; 6-8 over/unders.
Week 9: 4-1 best bets (+52.40); 9-2 ATS; 9-4 straight up; 5-8 over/unders.
Week 8: 4-1 best bets (+$69); 9-6 ATS; 13-2 straight up; 6-9 over/unders.
Week 7: 3-2 best bets (-$5); 5-9 ATS; 6-8 straight up; 9-5 over/unders.
Week 6: 4-1 best bets (+$62.60); 9-5 ATS; 8-6 straight up; 6-8 over/unders.
Week 5: 3-2 best bets (+$2); 10-5 ATS; 9-7 straight up; 10-6 over/unders
Week 4: 4-1 best bets (+$37); 9-6 ATS; 9-7 straight up; 10-6 over/unders
Week 3: 3-2 best bets (-$5); 5-11 ATS; 8-8 straight up; 8-7 over/unders
Week 2: 4-1 best bets (+$57); 7-9 ATS; 9-7 straight up; 12-4 over/unders
Week 1: 3-2 best bets (-$15); 8-8 ATS; 6-9 straight up; 10-6 over/unders