Pigskins and Ponies: Michigan at Home, Tactical Speed at Santa Anita

Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing

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!


Iowa @ Michigan -3 (-120)

This game has the makings of a buy low, sell high situation with Iowa traveling to Michigan for a monster Big Ten conference showdown. Michigan rebounded after getting dismantled at Wisconsin (the public hasn’t forgotten) with a 52-0 win over Rutgers, and Iowa moved to 4-0 with a blowout victory against Middle Tennessee State. It’s important to note that during the summer, this number was Michigan -10.5, and now we’re down a full touchdown. Michigan’s offense should have success through the air against an Iowa defense that allowed Brock Purdy and Iowa State to shred them in bad weather for 9.3 yards per pass attempt. Sell Iowa, buy Michigan.

Illinois +14 @ Minnesota

Last year, Illinois crushed Minnesota 55-31, and after a bye week following a close loss to Nebraska, I’m not sure why another victory is out of the question this season. Minnesota has faced a bottom-half strength of schedule and yet only racked up a +0.6 net yards per play; covering last week as a 2-point dog in Purdue for the first time this season (Boilermakers QB knocked out of game). Bottom line, this number is inflated and we believe Illinois is focused on fighting for head coach Lovie Smith’s job. Expect this number to drop, so grab the two touchdowns now.

Denver @ Los Angeles Chargers Over 44 

When we analyzed Denver coming into the season, we thought “Strong Defense and game manager Joe Flacco.” Well, surprisingly, Denver’s offense ranks ninth and 11th in run and pass success rate, respectively, and that’s after facing the ninth-hardest schedule of opposing defenses. On the other side, Denver has struggled all season getting pressure, and the loss of defensive end Bradley Chubb isn’t going to help. Add in the fact that there has been displeasure from Denver defensive players with scheme/coaching (see Chris Harris), and we could see some points from Los Angeles here, especially with the return of Melvin Gordon. Over 44.

Green Bay +3.5 @ Dallas

Dallas is suffering from injuries along its offensive line, most notably LT Tyron Smith. With Green Bay looking to get back Za’Darius Smith to full strength, we could see Cowboys QB Dak Prescott face pressure all night. The Packers have had 3 1/2 days more rest and prep time for this game and will have to focus on stacking the box to prevent RB Ezekiel Elliott from going off. On the other side of the ball, Dallas is only 26th in Defensive Adjusted Line Yards, and 16th in sack rate. Giving Aaron Rodgers time in the dome is not a recipe for success. This number ticked out to +4 before we saw professional money come in on the Pack. 

Best Bet: [356] Michigan -3 (-120)


For this series, I will be looking for one key horse to single in a Pick 3 in hopes of cashing a profitable exotic wager. The budget will be in the $20 range and I will keep track of ROI each week. This week’s key horse:

Saturday, Oct. 5

Santa Anita Park, Race 5, Grade 3 L.A. Woman Stakes, 5:30 p.m. ET

#4 Anonymity: She bobbled slightly at the start and then had a bit of an uncomfortable trip approaching the turn in her most recent start. She then angled out and closed the gap late when finishing second at Del Mar. There is not a lot of speed in this field, and I think she’s going to be on the lead or pressing for the lead from the start. She gets reunited with the rider that was aboard for her first two starts.

$1 Pick 3 ticket:

Race 5: 4

Race 6: 1,2,4,6

Race 7: 3,4,7,9,10

Total: $20

Total Wagered: $120

Total Returned: $0

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