There's an old saying that when people feel strongly about a sports betting premonition, they should "bet the farm." The phrase is never uttered with the thought that anyone anywhere would literally do that, though.
However, apparently Iganga, Uganda, is not part of "anywhere." (And international soccer fans are not really just "anyone" either, worth noting.)
I'll give you my best bets for the weekend in a moment (WARNING: NOT to be used in betting your home!), but first this story of loss, love, quasi-prostitution and soccer, courtesy of the Manchester Evening News:
Never bet your house on anything.
That's what one Arsenal fan has learned the hard way after wagering his two-room property on the Gunners beating Manchester United at Old Trafford.
According to the Observer newspaper in Uganda , Henry Dhabasani made a bet with Rashid Yiga that Arsenal would come out on top in the crunch game on Sunday.
Dhabasani gambled his house and Yiga offered up his new Toyota Premio and his wife. The two signed their bet in front of local leaders and fans in Iganga.
Dhabasani apparently fainted on the final whistle, and the next day several United fans stormed the place where the man lived with his three wives and five children and threw them out of the abode.
A few thoughts on this story:
1. Okay, so a dude with three wives was betting his house so he could fetch himself another wife? Dhabasani is not exactly the most meticulous planner. I mean, bad enough that he's jamming nine people into a two-room domicile, but he essentially makes a wager in which there is no scenario in which he can feasibly improve his life -- if he had won, he would've added another wife to his collection (which means another list of honey-do's, and his soccer-watching time cut into by another 25 percent -- sorry, a Toyota Premio throw-in isn't enough to make this enticing), and if he had lost, which he did, he'd be homeless.
2. Come to think of it, the potential outcomes beg the question -- which is actually the better scenario, four wives and five kids in a cramped two-room house, or three wives and five kids with no home, sleeping under the stars. The smell of that two-room house alone makes me think that I'd almost rather have lost if I were Dhabarasi.
3. Regardless, I tell you this story because if you've been riding my picks this season, this story is evidence that it could be worse. Of course, if you've been betting large amounts on my picks, you might actually be homeless by now, like Dhabarasi, in which case it couldn't be worse.
Hey, at least I'm 10-7-1 the last three weeks! Something to build on! Let's get it going for this week... Houston +15 1/2 over LOUISVILLE Amazingly, and despite dropping to 20th in the polls, Louisville has seemingly managed to maintain its status of a "public" team. In other words, a team whose spread is inflated every week by about 3 to 7 points too many because they have Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and because they beat Florida in a high profile bowl game last season. They've played two teams this season that matter, Rutgers and Central Florida, and they've covered in neither of those games and lost to UCF straight up! Houston is a good football team, and all they have to do is keep this game within two touchdowns? I'll take the Coogs (picture me making that "shocker" hand gesture for emphasis). Whose house?!?
Alabama -23 1/2 over MISSISSIPPI STATE Alabama hasn't been an underdog since sometime shortly after the Bush Administration. Literally, it's been like over four seasons since they haven't been favored in a game. If it's even possible, Saban's team has become more of a machine this season than ever before. They've played two teams that I would call "good," or at least "talented," A&M and LSU. They beat LSU by 18 points and were a third down conversion in the fourth quarter away from running away from A&M. (As it was, they left the door open, and...JOHNNY FOOTBALL!) Outside of those two teams, against average to below average to bad teams (the other seven teams on their schedule), they've choked them out by an average score of 40-8. Mississippi State is average to below average.
BAYLOR -27 1/2 over Texas Tech I know Baylor wasn't on a bye last weekend (They pounded Oklahoma last Thursday night.), but it almost felt like they were. That's how big a staple of a college football Saturday that Baylor covering the number has become (7-1 ATS). This game is a neutral site game at Jerry World in Dallas, but I'm guessing it will have a decided Baylor flavor in the crowd. Also, Art Briles (fresh off a signed contract extension) is going to want to hang style points on the poor fighting Kingsbury's of Texas Tech. Air raid alert!
Falcons -1 over BUCCANEERS Congrats to the Bucs for getting their first win of the season, albeit against a Dolphins team that has been so thoroughly Richie Incongito'd (yes, he's a verb now) that the state of Florida might now be in the running to wind up with the three worst teams in football. (Jacksonville and Tampa Bay have pole position at 1-8 apiece, and the Dolphins are 4-5 but have lost 5 of 6, and are well on their way to 4-12, look at the schedule.) I rode the Bucs last week when few others did, and it paid off.
Of course, if you're looking for loyalty, gambling is the last place you should look. There will be no loyalty in this space. The Bucs filled their quota on wins for the season last week, and haven't covered the spread in two straight home games in the last 42 games. I know Atlanta is a major disappointment, but all they really have to do is win, and you get at worst a push? Yes, please. Sorry Bucs, I'm breaking up with you.
SAINTS -3 over 49ers It's too early to call whatever's happened to Colin Kaepernick this season his "demise," after all, the 49ers are still 6-3 this season, in line for the playoffs, and frankly the sample space is still too small to make any grand statements either way on Kaepernick (right, Jaws?). That said, his completion percentage is down to a below acceptable 56 percent and his passer rating has slid into the low 80's. Teams seem to have found ways to frustrate him. It will be interesting to see what Rob Ryan comes up with, after probably the most gratifying game of his career as a coordinator last week against the Cowboys (his former employer). This is only the third time in four season that the Saints have been a favorite of a field goal or less at home, and Sean Payton has coached them to fourteen straight covers at home. FOURTEEN. Who dat?!
Chiefs +8 over BRONCOS This is the first of two meetings between these two teams over the next three weeks. Right now, the surprising Chiefs are undefeated at 9-0 and the Broncos are 8-1. Clearly, the respect level for the Chiefs isn't all there for the public yet as this is the first time a team of 9-0 or better has been an underdog at all (let alone of more than a touchdown!) since at least 1990. Why is that? Well, I think there are two reasons:
1. In a quarterback driven league, the Chiefs driver is Alex Smith, who despite a 28-5-1 record as a starter over the last three seasons, is still an underwhelming option to bettors and will always drag around the albatross that is the first five seasons of his career (19-31 as a starter). Also, he's been pedestrian this season (81.4 passer rating).
2. The Chiefs haven't played a single team that is above .500 currently this season. Even more specifically...
3. ...yes, the Chiefs' defense hasn't given up more than 17 points in a game this season, but here are the nine starting quarterbacks they've played:
Week 1: Blaine Gabbert (16-35, 121 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT) Week 2: Tony Romo (30-42, 298 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) Week 3: Michael Vick (13-30, 201 yards, 1TD, 2 INT) Week 4: Eli Manning (18-37, 217, 1 TD, 1 INT) Week 5: Ryan Fitzpatrick (21-41, 247 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) Week 6: Terrelle Pryor (18-34, 216 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT) Week 7: Case Keenum (15-25, 271 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) Week 8: Jason Campbell (22-26, 293 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) Week 9: Jeff Tuel (18-39, 229 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT)
Not exactly a set of names that we will see on any early Pro Bowl forecasts. Point being, the Chiefs haven't seen anything remotely close to the aerial circus that Peyton Manning (albeit a hobbled Peyton Manning) are about to unleash on them. Potentially, at least.
The counterpoint to that is that the Chiefs have perhaps the best running back in football this season in Jamaal Charles and the Broncos have been anything but solid defensively. Winning the turnover battle (doable) and keeping Manning on the sideline by pounding the football between the tackles (also, doable) is the formula, and all we are asking by the way is for the Chiefs to stay within one score.
Add these fun facts to the mix as well, courtesy of R.J. Bell from pregame.com:
* Undefeated teams (4-0 or better) coming off a bye are 13-1 ATS in their last 14 games.
* Andy Reid, in his career, coming off a bye is 14-1 straight up (11-4 ATS).
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* Andy Reid on the road in his career is 76-47 ATS (63%).
So let's do this, KC! I'm climbing aboard the S.S. Reid! (NOT a fat joke, people. Stop it.)
Last week: 4-2 Season record: 25-40-1
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.