It's Christmas shopping season, and as someone who has had to "overbuy" presents for years now, I understand the phenomenon of those Christmas bills showing up a couple weeks after December 25, and your asking yourself, "How in the sparkly, tinsel hell am I going to pay these?"
("Overbuy" is defined as "buying more presents than your financial means would dictate that you are able, typically via some sort of credit arrangement." A rampant phenomenon for anyone with children.)
You know, you'll need the money, so why not plan ahead? NO, I don't mean saving money. That would be stupid! I mean placing prop bet wagers that pay off the first week of January, silly!
That brings me to today's wagering public service announcement. If you're looking for a couple wagering "stocks" that would potentially mature the first week of January right about the time the "overbuy" invoices start rolling in, then it's very tempting to examine the current proposition wagers on the two "perfect" NFL seasons that are still in play -- the Packers' quest for 16-0 and the Colts', um, quest for 0-16.
Let's examine the value in each of these current wagers, and determine if we will be helping our cause come January, or accelerating our search for a second job to help pay the "overbuy" tab.
First, an overview of the categories that we are taking into account as we assess:
Remaining schedule: Each team's remaining four games on the schedule along with the predicted spread and moneyline for each of the games.
Trickiest matchup: Which game (or games) are the biggest potential "gotchas" in our quest for the money. Remember, one game to the wrong -- a Packers loss or a Colts win -- screws us.
Forecasted four-game parlay value: The estimated payout that a four-game parlay over a four-week period would have if you picked the Packers to win each game (or on the Colts parlay, the opposition of the Colts to win each game). The money lines to arrive at this number are estimated money lines based on my forecasted spreads on the games below.
PACKERS go 16-0 -135, don't go 16-0 +100 Remaining schedule (with forecasted spreads/moneyline from Packer perspective): vs Oakland (-11 1/2, -600), @ Kansas City (-13 1/2, -800), vs Chicago (-11 1/2, -600), vs Detroit (-8 1/2, -425) Trickiest matchup: Detroit in Week 17. This is about as favorable an end-of-season schedule a team could have without having one of the true slappies of the league on their slate. Oakland in cold weather will get rolled, Kansas City has scored one touchdown in the last four weeks and it was on a Hail Mary, Chicago's quarterback is Caleb Hanie.
That leaves the Lions, who may be fighting for a playoff spot. More importantly, the question needs to be asked as to how motivated the Packers will be to run the table. If it were any other team in Week 17, I'd say we're probably fine, but there is a small part of me that says the Packers might be fearful of the Lions (who are the dirtiest team this side of Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff in Wrestlemania One) pulling some underhanded crap and hurting a key Packer. Forecasted four-game parlay value: $135 parlay pays $120 (posted prop bet pays $100) What it all means: According to my forecast, a four-game "open" parlay over the four-week period playing the Packers to win each week would pay better than the current prop bet (by $20 more for a $135 risk), and give you the flexibility to bail out and bet something else if Aaron Rodgers gets hurt or if the Packers decide to rest guys in Week 17.
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MY PACKERS PLAY: I actually love this bet right now at -135 and having to sign up for all four games. The value on the prop bet appears to be slightly off, but if your service doesn't do "open" parlays over multiple weeks, I'd go ahead and fire on the Packers.
COLTS go 0-16 +150, don't go 0-16 -180 Remaining schedule (with forecasted spreads/moneyline from Colts opponent perspective): @ Baltimore (-17, -1300), vs Tennessee (-7, -350), vs Houston (-8 1/2, -425), @ Jacksonville (-7, -350) Trickiest matchup: Jacksonville. While the games against Tennessee and Houston are at home, by Week 17 the Jaguars likely will have fully folded tents on the season, and of additional concern is the fact that the Colts might have clinched the number one overall pick by then, meaning there's no harm in winning the game. It's the bizarro Week 17 scenario -- a team consciously deciding to try in Week 17. Forecasted parlay value: $100 pays $120 (posted prop bet pays $150)
MY COLTS PLAY: Dan Orlovsky (Colts quarterback) is my friend and he's been down the 0-16 road before, but the advice has to be to take the Colts going 0-16 and don't look back.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.