Opening Weekend of the NFL and Some College Games, Too – How’d We Do?

Check in each week for sports betting analysis with Sam Verhulst of the Don’t Dread the Spread podcast. Follow the podcast on Twitter @SamsSportsPicks for daily advice.

One of the keys to successful sports wagering is tracking your bets. How’d you do? Where did you go wrong? With that in mind, each week we will take a look back at our weekend wagers and see how we did.

It’s tempting to blow off a complete review of your wagers when you’ve had a good week like we did this week, but it’s just as important as reviewing losing bets. Did you just get lucky or were you actually on the right side?

With that in mind here were the six wagers we recommended in our weekend preview.

1.      Akron +24.5 at Wisconsin

Wager: Risk $55 to win $50

Result: Loss

Analysis: The weekend started off poorly as the Akron Zips were completely overwhelmed by the physical play of the Wisconsin Badgers. With the Badgers, you can usually tell early in games how the game is going to go. If they are controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides, it’s going to get ugly. They dominated the lines in this one and got very ugly. The Badgers also showed a little tempo in the first half, which did not help those backing the Zips. I still believe the Badgers are overrated, but it may not be worth backing them until they face a team more comparable in the trenches. I think a game at Michigan could present value if the Wolverines are laying less than 10 points. The Badgers will be coming off a tough battle with the Spartans and could be vulnerable.

2.      Tennessee -11 vs. Virginia Tech

Wager: Risk $55 to win $50

Result: Win

Analysis: This was a game I identified immediately after Tennessee’s less than impressive win against Appalachian State.

Tennessee is simply too talented to play again like they did against the Mountaineers. Things started off badly in this one with the Hokies jumping out to a quick 14-0 first quarter lead. From there it was all Tennessee. The Vols played stifling defense and benefitted from multiple Tech turnovers en route to an easy 45-21 victory. The continued inability for Josh Dobbs to pass the ball is troubling, but Tennessee is among the most athletic teams in the country and will be tough for anyone to beat.

3.      Arkansas +7.5 at TCU & Arkansas ML at TCU

Wager: Risk $27.5 to win $25 and Risk $25 to win $60

Result: Win and Win

Analysis: The game of the week in college football. This line ballooned out to 10.5 before kickoff. Hopefully you were able to jump on that opportunity as I was, but for tracking purposes we will use the line given out in our weekend preview.

Arkansas dominated the first three quarters with a physical run game and an impressive bend but don’t break defense that frustrated the usually explosive Horned Frogs. The Hogs led 20-7 in the fourth quarter and had an opportunity to punch in for another touchdown. They failed, missed a 22-yard field goal and momentum shifted.

TCU scored three straight touchdowns in the next eight minutes to not only ruin our money line wager, but also take us outside the number for the first time all game with just over two minutes remaining.

Fortunately Arkansas regrouped and Austin Allen led a game-tying drive. The Hogs then blocked a game-winning field goal attempt and went on to win in overtime.

Even if the Hogs would not have come back, I firmly believe the Hogs were the correct side in this one. They dominated the pace of the game and imposed their will on the Horned Frogs. Seven-and-a-half points was too many and 10.5 was just absurd. I believe the line over-adjusted as a reaction to the Hogs subpar performance against LA Tech.

4.      Tampa Bay ML at Atlanta

Wager: Risk $50 to win $65

Result: Win

Analysis: Famous Jameis lived up to my hype in this one by passing for 281 yards and four touchdowns. Atlanta’s defense was not impressive and Matt Ryan did not get things going until the game was out of reach.

The most impressive part of this one was the Buccaneers defense. Second-year linebacker Kwon Alexander was all over the field, registering 15 solo tackle and a sack. Gerald McCoy also registered a sack and was a force to be reckoned with on the inside. Tampa Bay will be a team to watch going forward, but probably not in Week 2 as they travel to Arizona.

5.      Houston -5.5 vs. Chicago

Wager: Risk $55 to win $50

Result: Win

Analysis: J.J. Watt was clearly out of shape and far from his Defensive Player of the Year form, but the rest of the Texans defense picked him up as the Texans barely pulled off a week 1 cover. Vince Wilfork was stout up the middle and Jadeveon Clowney looked dangerous coming off the edge. Add in Whitney Mercilus, and Jay Cutler was worn out by the end of the game.

Houston’s offense was slightly less impressive but showed the potential I’ve been touting all offseason. Lamar Miller rushed for over 100 yards and rookie Will Fuller went over the century mark receiving despite dropping what could have been a long touchdown catch.

The Bears played well in the first half, but were simply outmanned in the second half of the game. Once Pernell McPhee returns and the offensive line heals up, the Bears may have some value, but I’ll be staying away from them for now.

6.      Los Angeles -2.5 at San Francisco

Wagers: Risk $55 to win $50

Result: Loss

Analysis: You cannot win them all.  Not much to say on this one. The Rams’ defensive front was not nearly as effective as I imagined. Case Keenum was not the game manager I hoped. The offense was painful to watch. The last team to get embarrassed against San Francisco to open the season on Monday night (none other than Minnesota) has gone on to win 15 of their next 17 against the spread. I doubt the Rams will do that, but you cannot write them off for the entire year based on one game.


Risk: $322.5

Return: $462.5

Profit: $140


Risk: $714

Return: $900

Profit: $186

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