Well, it was a fun ride while it lasted. Long-time readers of the column might have been surprised that our gambling friend, the aptly named Degenerate Gambler, has been solidly up on the season thus far. To the untrained eye, there is no rhyme or reason to his picks from week to week, but the truth of the matter is that he “goes with his gut,” like so many bettors across the land. That’s all fine and dandy until your bets are relegated to Chargers-centric bets in a 4-win season.
Our friend takes his favorite bets on $100 worth of wagers each week, and chews his fingernails to the nub awaiting his fate. Week 13 was the first time this year that he was totally, resoundingly, completely wrong on every bet. Our anti-hero had a particularly bad week!
Week 13 Chargers @ Broncos
Wager 1 - Chargers spread (-3) : $ 25.00 [ +100 ] L
Wager 2 - Chargers First half (-1) : $ 25.00 [ -115 ] L
Wager 3 - Total Points (Under 38.5) : $ 25.00 [ -110 ] L
Wager 4 - First score - Chargers TD : $ 15.00 [ +210 ] L
Wager 5 - Total points - Even : $ 10.00 [ +110 ] L
TOTAL LOSS: -$100.00
The Chargers didn’t keep the game competitive until the very end, nullifying the majority of our friend’s bets. It all sounded plausible enough- the Chargers’ backs were against the wall, the Broncos were starting a green QB. It should have been a lop-sided affair, but all the best laid plans... Even the Gambler’s even-points bet fell by the wayside. What’s more, based on fan recommendation (thanks Chargersfan420!), the Degenerate Gambler had apparently cooked the books on a Week 6 Steelers bet and marked it incorrectly as a win—another $47 swing! What a maroon!
Our foolish friend can’t win for losing, and this latest debacle has brought his season total to a (drum roll) NEGATIVE 8 DOLLARS.
To be fair, the same exact thing happened last year in the same exact week, and he was able to pull his season total back up in the final 4 weeks of the year. That means that he needs to get it in gear—and quickly—starting this week!
With last week’s mess behind them, the Chargers now head south to Jacksonville to face off against a similarly disappointing team. While the Jaguars have comparable talent to the Chargers, they also have failed to utilize it. One of the strangest components of their season is the injury and then benching of Nick Foles for rookie sensation Gardner Minshew II. Minshew isn’t so much an upgrade from Foles as he is a fan favorite, but he is still a force to be reckoned with.
The Jaguars only appreciably lead the Chargers by rushing yards per game (113.4 vs. 89.1) and sacks (37 vs. 24), but the teams are comparable in most other categories. The Chargers frankly have the advantage overall, which is why they are favored by 3 points on the road. Bettors by now aren’t going to be fooled by any positive expectations offered to the Chargers, but perhaps there’s room for surprise?
Week 14 Chargers @ Jaguars
Wager 1 - Total TDs - Under 4.5 : $ 25.00 [-115 ] Possible win: $21.74
Wager 2 - Longest TD - Under 38.5 : $ 60.00 [-115 ] Possible win: $52.17
Wager 3 - First score - Jags FG : $ 15.00 [+300 ] Possible win: $45.00
TOTAL POSSIBLE WIN: +$118.91
It looks like our friend is buckled up for another defensive game, which seems accurate enough. The Jaguars have not scored more than 20 points since October. The Chargers are still a defense-first team, and there might be a little air released from their tires. Still, that isn’t much to go on. Why didn’t he take an under bet?
Both teams have struggled to put TDs on the board more than twice per game, but aiming for less than five TDs sounds like it gives our friend enough wiggle room to be both right and wrong. One of his biggest bets of the season is that the game’s longest TD will be under 38.5 yards. Why?
Neither team has scored a TD of this length or longer since October.
The last time the Chargers scored a TD that would qualify was when Desmond King II scooped up a punt return for 68 yards against Denver on October 6. These are not quick-strike teams (and yes, the Degenerate Gambler is well aware that this recognition is enough to coerce each team to sling it 90 yards a throw just out of spite).
Finally, for his only long-odds bet of the week, our friend thinks that a three-time return on investment sounds plausible enough for a Jaguars field goal being the first points on the board. Is it likely? No. But it sounds more likely than the odds would indicate. This is gambling, after all.
And there you have it— hopefully most of you were busy preparing turkey last week and forgot to place some ill-advised wagers. This week, however, does offer some intriguing possibilities if the script doesn’t deviate too much.
-Jason “Ya win some” Michaels