Ballin' on a Budget Wild Card Weekend Results, Super Bowl Value Picks

Ballin' on a Budget Week 5 Picks

I’m confident. This is the week we climb into the green. Even while picking at a 55 percent clip, we’ve just been putting the bulk our money on the losing picks, even when we get 3 or 4 out of 5 picks right in a week. To combat this, we’re going to put the exact same amount of money on all five picks this week. That way, if we get 3 out of 5, we will make some money, as opposed to the last two weeks where that was the case and we actually lost a couple dollars.

There is lots to like this week and actually, the over/unders look more intriguing than most of the point spreads. We’ll take a deeper dive into why that is and what you can expect from Week 5.

Week 5 Picks

Broncos to beat the Jets (-110)

Denver will be playing the Jets on the road and are one-point favorites, so we might as well pick them straight up to get a little more value. The only place that will hurt us is we will lose the bet if there’s a tie. After nearly knocking off the Chiefs at home on Monday Night Football, not only will the Broncos be hungry, they will be desperate. Now at 2-2 and seeing Kansas City might not be slowing down anytime soon, the Broncos need this win more than the Jets do.

Imagine that Broncos pass rush against rookie Sam Darnold, who has struggled mightily lately. It’s just hard to imagine a world where Darnold makes the plays he needs to in order to win this game. Denver is playing on a short week, so it might not be pretty, but expect them to get the job done. Since we’re just betting them straight to win, that’s all they have to do for us to be in the money. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Texans -3 vs. Cowboys (-110)

Houston finally got its first win of the season last week thanks to iffy decisions from the Colts. When Indy could have punted in the closing minute of overtime to basically ensure a tie, they went for it on fourth and 4 and didn’t pick up the first down. The Texans then just had to drive 10-15 yards to get into field goal range, which they did and kicked the game winning field goal as time expired. Deshaun Watson is starting to get some of his playmaking ability back and it looks like Houston could finally hit its stride.

They’re at home, which helps a ton. Dak Prescott did have his first above average game in recent memory last Sunday, so we will see if his strong play continues. You shouldn’t rely on that happening, though, especially against a stout Texans defense. With Houston looking to build some momentum and climb back into the playoff picture, it’s safe to pick them as field goal favorites at home. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Ravens-Browns OVER 47 points (-110)

Let’s stop fooling ourselves into thinking these AFC North match ups are defensive showdowns anymore. The truth is, most of the defenses in the division stink. Cleveland actually probably has the best one of the bunch. The offenses are something to like, though, and that’s why I love this over. Cleveland has been involved in shootouts ever since Baker Mayfield took over and win or lose, they’re putting up points. This should be a competitive game and the only way we fall to the under is if this becomes a battle of field position in the first half.

With the way Cleveland’s been playing the last two weeks, expect this to be a competitive game. It’s not hard to imagine both teams climbing into the 20’s. It will all come down to these teams cashing in red zone trips with touchdowns instead of field goals. Both Baltimore and Cleveland rank in the top 10 (Baltimore fourth, Cleveland ninth) in touchdown percentage inside the red zone, which is a good indication the over has a great chance of hitting. Let’s hope for another shootout. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Jaguars-Chiefs UNDER 49 points (-110)

The Chiefs are coming off an emotional win on a short week. Jacksonville will now be the second tough defense in a row that Patrick Mahomes and Co. will have faced. He struggled early against Denver, but figured things out late. Can he do it against the best defense in the league? It’s going to be tough. By no means am I saying the Chiefs can’t win this game, but this might finally be their first low-scoring affair of the season.

Really, our biggest fear should be Blake Bortles having another stellar performance and putting up points for the Jags, but he’s been so up and down, it’s hard to say he will be effective. If the Jaguars get up early and the Chiefs are playing catch up, this thing is going to go over in a hurry. Under pretty much any other scenario, it’s likely we’ll see the under. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Dolphins-Bengals UNDER 49.5 (-110)

It seems like the Dolphins were exposed as frauds last week with their blowout loss against the Patriots. Cincinnati also seemed to cement itself as an AFC contender with a big come-from-behind win over the Falcons to improve to 3-1. With Joe Mixon potentially back in the fold, the Bengals’ offense will be that much more explosive. This should be a Bengals win, so we just need to hope they’re limited to around 30 points.

As long as they’re held around that mark and the Cincy defense applies pressure on Ryan Tannehill, it doesn’t seem likely Miami is going to be able to keep up. If running back Kenyan Drake is finally able to break out for the Dolphins, it could be a whole other story, but until we see that happen, we’re not going to bet on it. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

The parlay option: If you take your $20 and parlay all five of these picks today, you’re in for a big pay day if we go 5 for 5. If we go perfect on picks this week, it would be a total payout of $507.06. Let’s cross our fingers for that, huh?

Unlike past weeks, we will have a much closer eye on over/unders this week. It should be an interesting slate of games. We’ll check back in later in the week, hopefully to recap a perfect week, and our fourth winning week out of five this season.

Ballin' on a Budget Wild Card Weekend Results, Super Bowl Value Picks

Ballin' on a Budget Week 4 Results

It was another week of treading water here on this column. If it weren’t for an Eagles full-out meltdown, we’d be up on the day and the season. However, they collapsed down the stretch and as a result, we pretty much find ourselves where we were at this time last week: just about where we started. Overall, we went 2-2-1 on the week, but our biggest problem this year has been putting the majority of our money in the wrong places.

For example, we spent $3 of our $20 on the Bears -2.5 against the Buccaneers. They won 48-10. We spent $8 on the Eagles -3 against the Titans and they lost. If we flip those amounts, we’re well into the green on the day. So, going forward, the management of how much we spend on each game will be just as important as the game picks themselves. Let’s take a look at how this week shook out.

WIN: Bears -2.5 vs. Buccaneers (-110): Bears 48, Buccaneers 10.

Mitch Trubisky played like the best quarterback on planet earth in the first half of this blowout as Chicago’s receivers were wide open all day long. Trubisky struck for six touchdowns, five of them coming in the first half and this one was never really close. We knew that being at home would help the Bears and that FitzMagic was bound to come to an end at some point, but we didn’t expect it to be so dramatic.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was so affected by the Bears’ fearsome pass rush that Jameis Winston played in the second half, potentially earning his starting job back. Whatever way you slice it, this Bears defense is scary and if the offense is 70 percent as good as it was today for the rest of the season, other teams are in trouble. Total win: $5.70.

LOSS: Eagles -3 at Titans (-110): Titans 26, Eagles 23 (F/OT).

Our week hinged on this game and the Eagles really screwed us. At one point, Tennessee scored 17 unanswered points to help them force a 20-20 tie going into overtime. They actually held a 20-17 lead before the Eagles tied it with a field goal as time expired. Then, in overtime, the Eagles marched down the field and all seemed right with the world. Carson Wentz orchestrated the drive with ease and it looked like we might escape with our money. Not the case.

Instead, the Eagles drive stalled and they settled for a field goal. That meant the defense just had to get a stop to win the game. Marcus Mariota and Co. promptly converted three fourth downs on the drive, including one that came from a pass interference call and on third and goal with time winding down, Mariota found receiver Corey Davis in the end zone for the game winning touchdown. It was a crushing betting loss and you can blame the Eagles for why our week was average instead of good. Total win: $0.

PUSH: Seahawks -3 at Cardinals (-110): Seahawks 20, Cardinals 17.

This was a sloppy game and it reminds us why the Seahawks are a risky bet on the road. There’s just something about being away from Seattle that turns them into a different team. When they went up 17-10, it seemed like they would be a good bet to cover, but Arizona tied things up. We did get lucky when the Cardinals missed a go-ahead field goal near the two-minute warning.

Russell Wilson took the team down the field and it led to a game-winning field goal at the buzzer from Sebastian Janikowski. It stinks to not get the betting win here, but with the Cardinals poised to win with that late field goal, we will gladly take our money back on this push. Total win: $4.

WIN: Saints -3 at Giants (-110): Saints 33, Giants 18.

New Orleans started out slow, which was worrisome given the spread, but Drew Brees and the offense finally figured it out. They appeared ready to run away with it, only to let the Giants cut it back to an eight-point deficit at one point in the fourth quarter. However, the offense got humming and was able to score a dagger touchdown to extend the lead and lock up the betting win.

If you took the under in this game, you were really sweating it out. It was 51.5 and it ended at 51. It’s almost as if oddsmakers know what they’re doing or something. Total win: $5.70.

LOSS: Packers-Bills over 44.5 points: Packers 22, Bills 0.

Well, it sure is hard to hit the over when one team gets shut out. One might even say it’s impossible. The crappy Bills we all know and love came back today just in time to make our chances of the over lower than zero. Josh Allen looked horrendous and even while looking pretty average, Aaron Rodgers and the Packer offense did plenty to win.

It’s time to admit now that we may have overreacted to Buffalo’s random outburst against the Vikings, but we even acknowledged that before making this bet. Green Bay’s defense isn’t that good, so it was reasonable to think Buffalo might be able to get something going, but they never did. This is now the second week in a row a game involving the Packers was one of our misses. We might have to avoid them to set our minds at ease in the coming week. Total win: $0.

PIGGY BANK: $72.11 (-9.8% return on investment)


As you can see, we’re picking at a 55 percent clip this season, but have still lost a few dollars. This just goes to show you how the decision on how much money to spend on each game matters as much as the games you pick. Let’s get it in Week 5 and stop treading water like we have over the last couple weeks.


Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 4

Key takeaways from week 3:

  • Rams remain the comfortable favorite to win Super Bowl 53 as they lead the league in point differential. And, they will likely be in the same position on top next week as they play host to their cross-town rivals on Sunday.
  • Vikings, Patriots, Packers and Jaguars all show red after losses, but surprisingly still remain in the top Ten, mostly due to their legacy brands as top NFL teams.
  • Despite a 3-0 start, the Miami Dolphins still have not penetrated the Top 15 teams most likely to win Super Bowl 53!
  • Biggest jump: Buffalo Bills (60%)
  • Biggest drop: San Francisco 49ers (186%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds