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Football! This Weekend's Best Bets, and a Story of the Worst Gambling Beat Ever

File this one under "Worst Beats Ever":

According to a story on businessinsider.com, there was a bettor last week (and the story has a picture of the ticket, so I tend to believe it's true) who fired on an eight-team parlay of NFL games on Sunday, risking $50 to win $18,441.

The first seven games included several close shaves, a couple REALLY close shaves, a little luck (San Francisco missing a field goal allowing the Rams to win a +310 moneyline bet), and one "rest easy" game (thanks, Broncos).

If you watched the eighth game, you may know how it ended, but you may not have ascertained the gambling meaning of it. The Cowboys (laying 9 1/2) were up double digits with under a minute to go, when Damaris Johnson scooped up a punt inside his own five yard line and went 98 yards for a touchdown -- a completely inadvisable and improbable play turning an $18,441 betting ticket into a coaster.

I mean, I'm devastated and I don't even know the guy who lost.

So with that cheery gambling story in mind, let's go to the games!

SEAHAWKS -10 over Cardinals I realize their record is two games better than the worst record in the league (thanks to a 4-0 start) and there's little chance that the Cardinals will be able to lose enough to "catch" horrific teams like the Jaguars, Chiefs, and Browns, but make no mistake -- if my life depended on one team winning a game, the Cardinals are the team that would send me to the phone calling my life insurance agent to up my coverage the fastest. Losers of eight straight, the Cardinals travel to Seattle to take on a Seahawks team that has covered 62 percent of their home games since moving into their new stadium a decade ago. Russell Wilson has an 11-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio at home, and the Cardinals are starting Ryan Lindley. Yes, if you're Ken Whisenhunt, you've put your job security in the hands of Ryan Lindley, which is the quarterback equivalent of asking Allen Iverson to handle your portfolio.

Lions/PACKERS OVER 51 The Lions are the anti-Cardinals -- while the Cardinals are a 4-8 team that looks like they should be 1-11, the Lions are a 4-8 team that looks like they should be 8-4. They move the ball between the 20's (2nd in total yards), but have trouble punching it in (11th in points scored). They are mediocre defensively (19th in total yards), and even worse in points allowed (24th in the league). The Lions haven't played a game with under a total of 44 points scored in seven weeks, and in the last two weeks they've been in games with 65 and 68 point totals.

COLTS -5 over Titans There reaches a point in a season where a teams goes from being a Cinderella team that's won a few close games to a team that "knows how to win." I"m buying the Indianapolis Colts. Hell, I was the one who bought them when they were 2-3, remember? Now they're 8-4, Andrew Luck is a monster at home (9 TD's, 3 INT's) and the Titans are awful, and probably more than a little beaten up from the Texans game last weekend. The Titans offensive line is a mess and that's good news for a Colts pass rush trying to recover from a sackless Week 13 against the Lions.

Eagles/BUCS OVER 47 Will we take the over in a game between a Philly defense that has given up over 28 points in each of its last six games and a Tampa Bay defense that gives up 310 yards per game through the air? Yes. Yes we will.

Jets/JAGUARS UNDER 38 Bet this one and "Chiefs/Browns under 37 1/2" and you'll split the two bets, worst case.

Texans/PATRIOTS OVER 51 The bet I would really make (if I could bring myself to fire on a wager against the Texans, which I can't and won't) is betting the over on whatever the Tom Brady passing yards prop bet is. I mean, until three weeks ago Brandon Harris and Roc Carmichael weren't dressing for games. Now, they are BOTH dressing and playing. But for now, I'm going to predict a shootout. Two great offenses going against a mediocre defense and a banged up defense. Barring something crazy with the weather (40 percent chance of rain as of today), I think we will see some points scored. Prediction: Patriots 30, Texans 27

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