Holy Bull: An Enduring Legacy of Brilliance
If you like betting both football and horse racing, you've come to the right place!
Each week in Pigskins and Ponies you'll find analysis and key football bets from Payne Insider and Todd Fuhrman plus racing picks from Jose Contreras.
Professional bettor Payne Insider and former oddsmaker Todd Fuhrman are founders of Bet the Board, a cutting edge sports betting company focused on written and digital content. You can listen to Bet The Board podcast every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday during football season on iTunes and Soundcloud.
Handicapper Jose Contreras is an analyst for horse racing network TVG and a regular contributor to America's Best Racing.
Get this week's picks below, and be sure to check back for new selections each week. Happy betting!
Baltimore Ravens @ Los Angeles Chargers FIRST HALF Under 22 (-110):
We’ve continually hammered home the “new-look” Ravens propensity to run the football, and how that correlates to lower scoring games. This week is no different. Both Baltimore and Los Angeles are Top 12 in defensive efficiency (Ravens No. 2), and both are currently two of the slowest-paced offenses in the NFL. This game should have a playoff feel to it, and the fact that Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn has a familiarity with this style of offense from his days in Buffalo should help limit the Ravens rush attack. The game total opened 45.5 at BetOnline.AG, and since we’ve seen a strong move down to 44 at some of the sharper shops. Going UNDER in the first half could limit some of the craziness we tend to see in 4th quarters during these “must-win” games. Remember, the first half is usually the game plan both teams want to employ, while the second half style of play can be adjusted to the scoreboard.
Houston Texans @ Philadelphia Eagles ML (-118):
It feels as though the insertion of quarterback Nick Foles has ignited the Eagles, and the hope that a return to the playoffs is not out of the question (Bet the Board podcast currently projects a 29-percent chance Philadelphia makes the playoffs). The market has also agreed with us, as Philly moved from +1.5 to -1. Houston, on the other hand, has won their last four road games, but taking a peak at who they’ve played (Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins, New York Jets), we see the competition has been bleak. Philadelphia should have success passing on this overrated Texans secondary, and the defensive line will have opportunities for success against the worst pass-protecting offensive line in the NFL.
Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers FIRST HALF Under 21.5 (-120):
The Bears rank No. 1 overall in defensive efficiency, while the 49ers rank Top 10 in both defensive rush and pass success rate. San Francisco and quarterback Nick Mullens have been getting things together as of late, but this Bears defense will be the best defense it will have faced all year, with or without stud safety Eddie Jackson. On the other side of the ball, Mitch Trubisky on the road can be extremely inconsistent, and the 49ers have a defensive line talented enough to cause problems. Similar to the game above, this total has dropped from 44 to 42.5 across the market. We agree with the move here, and under 21 or better provides some value in the first half.
Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers +4.5 (-110):
We discussed why we like the under in the first half above, but some of those same reasons land us on the 49ers for the third week in a row. The market hasn’t caught up to this team yet, though we’ve seen an adjustment from two weeks ago when Denver opened -6 in this spot. As stated above, we’re still not on the Trubisky train, especially on the road, where he’s only played four games this year (Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills), amassing a 2-2 record with the wins coming versus a Sam Bradford-led Arizona, and Nathan Peterman under center for Buffalo. This number has fallen from the opener of 5, and we could see more movement toward the dog before game day.
Best Bet:  BALTIMORE – L.A. CHARGERS FIRST HALF Under 22 (-110)
Saturday, Dec. 22
Gulfstream Park, Race 10, $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes, 4:36 p.m. ET
#2 Kroy (6-1 odds) dueled through fast fractions and kept going to post a sharp win. The same rider that was aboard that day returns to ride today and he looks like the fastest horse in this field. I don’t think anyone in this field wants to get into a speed duel with him and that might be the key to be able to steal this race on the front end.
Sunday, Dec. 23
Gulfstream Park, Race 11, 5:06 p.m. ET
#9 Paradise Retained was last seen finishing a game second when sprinting on the turf at Saratoga four months ago. I like that she returns in a turf sprint once again and that the same rider that was aboard for her first two starts is listed to ride again. This barn does well off a layoff like this and overall these connections are having a tremendous year.
Total picks: 32
Total winners: 3
Total money returned with $2 to win on each pick: $-39.60