DOUG’S BETTING CARD – September 2023

Below are bets that I actually make. My approach entails aggregating conversations with extremely respected oddsmakers and bettors, along with my own handicapping. I want to share that insight and intel.

Sportsbooks prefer you wager solely on marquee games and make multiple parlays. I do not oblige. That may entail taking days off or passing on exciting matchups. Winning takes occasional discipline but the good opportunities will present themselves – if one is mildly patient.

MAIN BETS – Dollar amounts differ for each person but unit sizes (1x through 5x) are an effective method. 5x represents my largest and most confident wager.

LEANS – These represent mere opinions on other games where my conviction is not high enough to place a wager.

completed plays / results

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 (+4.9 units)

1x Texas A&M -6 at Arkansas – On paper, even with the quarterback change, the Aggies should control this game and cover. I actually like the move to Max Johnson, as the offense has clicked. However, a monster home game with Alabama looms next week so I do have some concern the Aggies are caught looking ahead to that. Nonetheless, I am okay playing this for a unit. WIN

2x UNLV -10.5 vs. Hawaii – New coach Barry Odom has clearly changed the culture and this is now a respectable squad. I do not think much of Hawaii and while they’ve shown flashes at home, it is a much different situation stateside. UNLV has typically struggled in the favorite role but I believe in Odom. I expect a solid performance by the Rebels heading into their bye. WIN

1x LSU -2.5 at Ole Miss – This feels like Ole Miss could endure a bit of a hangover after losing at Alabama. The Tigers seem to have found their offensive groove and Brian Kelly is trustworthy in close games. Laying road chalk is never fun but I will take the bait. LOSS

1x Air Force -10.5 vs. San Diego State – This Aztecs defense is not the same caliber that we have seen in recent years. The Falcons are capable of bulldozing teams, and I think that happens in the altitude. San Diego State has limited offense and I anticipate a convincing home win. WIN

2x Alabama -14.5 at Mississippi State – The Tide have dominated this series in recent years. Specifically, Nick Saban’s defense has completely shut down the Bulldogs and so far they have not had much bite. They got crushed at home by LSU, and I expect a similar one-sided affair here. WIN

Lean: Cal -13 L, Maryland -14.5 W, Notre Dame/Duke under 52.5 W, Duke +5.5 L, Kansas/Texas over 61 L

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 (+.9 units)

1x New York Liberty -4 at Connecticut Sun – The Sun have outplayed the Liberty so far in the series so conventional wisdom would suggest they are a no-brainer as a home underdog. However, I believe in regression and thus expect Breanna Stewart to find her offensive game and for the Liberty to have their best game of the series. This is a gut play. WIN

1x Dallas Wings +6 vs. Las Vegas Aces – I expect a desperate Dallas team to play well and win this game outright. The Aces are undoubtedly the better team but I anticipate some apathy with a 2-0 series lead and the Wings to have more energy. WIN

1x Utah +3.5 at Oregon State – Sharp money moved this line from -2 to -3.5 and that does concern me a bit. However, it’s worth noting that respected bettors did not lay 3.5 and that’s the line I have. Kyle Whittingham and the Utes are physical and have the necessary toughness to win this game in a tough road environment. Utes QB Cam Rising may return from injury but overall, I have more confidence in Utah than I do Oregon State’s offense. LOSS

Lean: Aces/Wings over 174.5 L

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 (+3.0 units)

3x Lions -2 at Packers – I do not like this spot for Green Bay. They have had three draining games to start the season, and I wonder how much is left in the tank on a short week. Meanwhile, I feel Detroit has too much firepower for a Packers offense that can get stuck in a rut a bit too often. Professional money has trickled in all week on Detroit and moved this number from PK and there has not been any buyback on gameday. That means the Lions are the team the respect bettors are backing, and it lines up with my opinion. WIN

Lean: DET/GB over 45 W, Jordan Love under 227.5 passing yards L

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 (-3.45 units)

3x New York Liberty (1st Half -4.5, -115) – I expect a desperate Liberty team to start strong and take care of business. Breanna Stewart is perhaps the league’s most talented offensive player so you have to assume she will regress after a horrendous shooting performance in the Game 1 loss. Plus, in NBA playoff betting, oddsmakers have learned to tax home teams off a loss by increasing the first-half line that is not commensurate with the game line. So, with a game line of 8.5 like we have here, you would have to lay 5.5 points. However, that is not the case in Game 2 and thus I feel we are getting some line value. LOSS

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 (+2.0 units)

1x Eagles (-5.5) at Bucs – As I have expressed in my win total plays, I believe in Tampa Bay this season. However, this is where the Bucs get a dose of reality. Philly is an elite team and the ball-hawking secondary should be able to intercept Baker Mayfield. Tampa is solid but the Eagles should control this game. WIN

1x Rams/Bengals under 43.5 – All signs point to Joe Burrow missing this game. Therefore I expect a rock fight and field-position battle. The Rams have surprised many so far and this is a game they can win but I do not want to fade a desperate Cincy team. So let’s back the defense. WIN

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 (+5.4 units)

3x Colts 1st Half +5.5 at Ravens – This is a classic “sandwich spot” for Baltimore, which is coming off a huge win at Cincinnati and has a trip to Cleveland next week. Plus, the Ravens tend to play down to inferior opponents. I think the Colts catch them flat, and I particularly like that Gardner Minshew is getting the start for Indy. The Colts have shown they are decent, giving Jacksonville a competitive game and dominating at Houston. The Ravens are also dealing with a ton of injuries. I am avoiding Baltimore in all my eliminator pools. WIN

2x Colts +8 at Ravens – All the reasons mentioned above apply, and I also think Minshew is more than capable of a backdoor cover, in case this game unfolds differently than I anticipate. WIN

3x Lions -3 (-115) vs. Falcons – One of the hardest things to do in betting is forget what you last saw. That’s because gambling entails prediction and you have to assume regression, which is a leap of faith. Thus, I anticipate Detroit to use last week’s upset as a wakeup call and to respond against a Falcons squad that is good but not great. The Lions should handle their business. WIN

2x Packers -1 vs. Saints – New Orleans is 2-0 but nothing has been that impressive. The offense has been mostly stagnant and for the most part the defense has looked stout but it has also faced Ryan Tannehill and a rookie in Bryce Young. Now they have back-to-back road games on a short week. That does not bode well for a team that I believe is poorly coached. Meanwhile, the Packers are off a loss in their home opener. I am a bit scared because I think the line should be 2.5 but I will cautiously back the Pack because I will hate myself if I do not and this play wins. PUSH

2x Seahawks -5 vs. Panthers – I have to fade the Panthers, even though I hate laying points with Seattle. Carolina is so limited and while Andy Dalton is more experienced than Bryce Young, he is still not an NFL starter. The Seahawks should be able to dominate this Panthers squad that put everything into their Monday night home game and came away with a disappointing loss. I don’t see how a trip to Seattle induces a strong performance. WIN

2x Raiders -2.5 vs. Steelers – This play revolves around the situation. Josh McDaniels and the Raiders need to win the home opener, while Pittsburgh is off a big win on a short week. Typically this scenario favors the home team. I also think Pittsburgh’s offense is much more limited than people realize. That’s because Kenny Pickett is not that good. Jimmy Garoppolo has his limitations too but I think the Raiders grind out a cover. LOSS

2x New York Liberty -8 vs. Connecticut Sun – I have backed the Sun in key spots but this is not one of them. I expect the three-point arc to the be the difference for the Liberty. New York consistently shoots well, while Connecticut is a mixed bag. The Liberty won all four regular season meetings, although one was a miracle comeback. Either way, it would take a lot of things to go right for the Sun to cover, while I believe there are many ways New York covers this number. LOSS

2x Wings/Aces over 174.5 – This should be a fun series, and I plan to play over the total in every game. Very few teams can run with Las Vegas but Dallas is one of them. Satou Sabally had a breakout season, developing her three-point shooting, and that has made this offense so potent. Her versatility stretches the defense and opens the paint for Tierra McCowan. Add that to Ogunbowale’s willingness to find open teammates and we should have a back-and-forth game. WIN

2x Dallas Wings +10.5 at Las Vegas Aces (SUNDAY) – It is always difficult fading the Aces, even when catching double-digits, but the Wings are a legit threat. They’ve already beaten Las Vegas this season, and the defending champs still have depth issues after losing Candace Parker. As for the specifics, Dallas routinely disrupts opponents because 6-foot-7 Tierra McCowan changes the game. This bet will likely be decided by Arike Ogunbowale. If she takes what the defense is giving her, she will find open teammates and the Wings cover. But if she shoots through double teams, Las Vegas likely rolls. LOSS

Lean: Bills -5.5 W, Dolphins -6 W, Cardinals +13 W

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 (-4.5 units)

3x Middle Tennessee -4 vs. Colorado State – This is solely a situational play. The Rams are coming off an emotional rivalry game that went to double-overtime. Now they hit the road and face a decent Middle Tennessee team that flirted with an upset at Missouri. This spread has trickled up a couple points for those reasons but I still think it’s a solid play at the current line. Simply, I do not believe in Jay Norvell’s ability to get his team to focus this week and be mature enough to compete on the road. LOSS

2x USC -34.5 at Arizona State – There is no fear of the fork. The winless Sun Devils are the Pac-12’s worst team and are also expected to have 10 key players out with injuries. The two quarterbacks that have started games this season are sidelined so Notre Dame transfer Drew Pyne will make his first start for ASU, even though he also got hurt in last week’s shutout loss to Fresno State. Meanwhile, the Trojans have national title aspirations and talented backups to help cover this spread. There is always a chance USC will look past ASU with Colorado looming next week but this team seemingly enjoys pummeling weak competition. LOSS

1x Maryland -7.5 at Michigan State – I will continue to fade Sparty because of the Mel Tucker turmoil but these lines are getting taxed pretty heavily. Additional concern stems from the fact that the Terps have looked horrible in the first half in each of the past two games. Fortunately, their second halves have been remarkable. The bottom line is that there is disarray right now in East Lansing so I will cautiously back Maryland laying over a touchdown on the road. WIN

Lean: FSU -2 W, Oregon -21 W, UCLA/UTAH over 52.5 L, Rutgers +24 P, Oregon St./Washington St. over 57.5 W, Notre Dame +3.5 W, Hawaii -3 P


Lean: Virginia +9.5 W

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 (+1.0 unit)

1x 49ers -10 (-120) vs. Giants – Now that this line has come down to 10, I have upgraded it from a “lean” to 1x. The concerns are valid. Brock Purdy is good but not great and the Niners can hit offensive lulls, just like every other team. But we all saw the Cowboys defensive line manhandle the Giants o-line, and I fully expect a similar performance against San Francisco’s stout front. Plus, the Giants seemingly got the win they needed on this road trip with the comeback against Arizona. New York will also be without Saquon Barkley. WIN

Lean: SF/NYG under 44.5 W


Lean: Diamondbacks -115 W, Pirates +145 W, Brewers -105 W

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 (+1.0 unit)

1x Steelers (+2) vs. Browns – Overreacting to Week 1 can be a kiss of death for bettors. Just ask those that backed the Lions, Jaguars, Chargers and Raiders this weekend. I absolutely have to grab the points with the Steelers, who just happened to face an elite team in their season opener and looked overwhelmed. Cleveland is solid but I’ll grab the points at home. Plus, I would look to play Pitt in a teaser with a variety of teams next weekend. WIN

Lean: Saints/Panthers under 39.5 W

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 (-4.4 units)

1x Falcons -1.5 vs. Packers – Green Bay opened as the favorite but rightfully has shifted to the underdog. I subscribe to the thought that Atlanta has more explosiveness than what they showed in the opener. Atlanta did not have to do much to defeat a limited Carolina team. I agree with the line move and will side with the Falcons at home against an unproven Packers squad that will be without RB Aaron Jones. LOSS

1x Texans -1 vs. Colts – I was not all that surprised by Anthony Richardson’s moderate success, as I leaned to Indy and the points in the opener, but this feels like a cheap line. Going on the road against a Texans defense that showed some flashes should be a much more difficult ask than facing the Jags defense at home. Additionally, if Davis Mills gets the start over the injured C.J. Stroud, I would actually prefer that because Mills has more experience. LOSS

2x 49ers -7.5 at Rams – The situation of laying more than a touchdown in the second of back-to-back road games is typically a fool’s errand but I believe the talent gap between these two teams is that wide. Also, it is early enough in the season where I do think San Francisco is fresh. Matthew Stafford was impressive in the week one upset in Seattle but let’s pump the brakes on labeling the Rams a surprise playoff team. San Francisco should dominate this game. LOSS

Leans: Bengals -3 L, Jets +9 L, Broncos -3.5 L, Dolphins -2.5 W

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 (+14 units)

4x Colorado State/Colorado over 62.5 – Sometimes narratives can provide a good betting angle, and I think the bulletin board comments by Rams head coach Jay Norvell woke up the Buffaloes. They are huge favorites and could easily be caught in a flat spot but I think Deion Sanders’ reaction leads me to believe that he wants to bury CSU. The CU offense should be ready to face this bad defense and the Rams should be able to score a little too. WIN

1x Colorado St. / Colorado 1st Half over 32.5 – same reasons above but I do like this, in case the fourth quarter is uneventful in a blowout. WIN

2x Rutgers -7 vs. Virginia Tech – I like what I saw with Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights. And I have not liked what I have seen so far with the Hokies. Rutgers should control the trenches and cover this number, although I fully recognize I am catching the tail of serious line move. WIN

2x Duke -17 vs. Northwestern – The Blue Devils have had some time to process the upset over Clemson and hopefully they can produce in the favorite role. It’s a lot of points but Duke has some legit playmakers and athleticism. They should be able to manhandle Northwestern. WIN

3x Clemson -24.5 vs. Florida Atlantic – We are going to learn a lot about Dabo Swinney’s club. Their loss to Duke was bad but it was not as bad as the final score indicated. Miscues around the goal line cost them. This is a chance for the Tigers to bully another opponent and demonstrate the talent and size – and Dabo is unafraid to run up the score, which is key when you’re laying lumber. WIN

2x San Diego State +24.5 at Oregon State – I like the Beavers and believe they have a high ceiling but I think the Aztecs catch them at the right time. Oregon State opens Pac-12 play next week with a big game at Washington State. I think Brady Hoke gets his guys ready and his stingy defense shortens the game and keeps this game inside the number. WIN

Leans: Florida +6.5 W, Wyoming +29 W, Georgia/South Carolina over 54 L, Cincinnati -14 L

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 (+3.0 units)

3x Maryland -14.5 vs. Virginia – I really like this spot for the Terps. They are coming off a sluggish start, allowing two early touchdowns and trailing 14-9 at halftime to Charlotte. Maryland woke up in the second half with four straight touchdowns and nearly covered, if not for a backdoor 49ers TD. Either way, I expect Mike Locksley to have his guys ready in a visible television window on a Friday night. Meanwhile, UVA is weak on both sides of the ball. I expect a route. WIN

1x Maryland 1st Half -8.5 vs. Virginia – Aside from the rationale above, the Terps understand the importance of starting strong, following last week’s performance. LOSS

Lean: Mystics +9 at Liberty L


Lean: Vikings +6 at Eagles P

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 (+8.0 units)

2x Falcons -3.5 vs. Panthers – Laying the extra hook may come back to bite me but I truly believe there is a significant talent gap in this matchup. Atlanta spent a ton of money this offseason to improve the defense and while QB Desmond Ridder is mediocre, he is surrounded by legitimate weapons. Meanwhile, Bryce Young is undersized and has a limited offensive line. I do not believe Carolina can hang with Atlanta for four quarters. Young is talented with a high IQ but there is still a steep learning curve for rookie quarterbacks and they historically struggle when their NFL debut comes on the road. WIN

2x 6-point teaser: Commanders -1 and Jets +8.5 – The juice on teasers can get pricey but these are the numbers you want to incorporate: Teasing an NFL side through the most common margins of victory. I think Washington defeats Arizona and thus should cover the one point, and I like New York’s ability to keep Aaron Rodgers’ debut a one-score game or win outright. WIN

2x Dolphins +3 at Chargers – Nearly 15% of NFL games are decided by exactly three points, which makes this number incredibly important in NFL betting. These rosters are evenly matched and the Dolphins may have more fans in the stadium. Miami has a better coaching staff and has delivered on hype when Tua Tagovailoa is healthy. All those reasons explain why this spread has tremendous value on Miami. WIN

2x Eagles -3.5 at Patriots – The Patriots are becoming a little too trendy of a ‘dog. I understand that offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is a giant upgrade and New England should be much more competent offensively. However, that does not offset its limited roster. Keep in mind the Pats only defeated one starting quarterback last season. I think Philly takes care of business. WIN

Leans – Ravens -9.5 W, Colts +4.5 , Titans +3 W

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 (-4.6 units)

3x Wisconsin/Washington State over 58 – The Badgers have a new-look passing offense but needed some time to find their groove in last week’s win over Buffalo. Wiscy won’t have that luxury against the Cougars, who have an explosive offense and should be just fine in this matchup. QB Cameron Ward shined in the opener and Wazzu will look to pass early and often. I expect both teams to be ready for this power-five tilt in a fantastic atmosphere. LOSS

2x UNLV +38 at Michigan – This Rebels squad is much more competent under Barry Odom and should be able to keep this inside the number. QB Doug Brumfield has flashes of elite athleticism and is capable of making key plays against a defense of Michigan’s caliber. The Wolverines did not allow a touchdown last week but I get the sense they care more about getting through these games without injury rather than trying to light up the scoreboard. The Rebs will play hard until the final whistle and may even need the back door. WIN

2x Oregon/Texas Tech over 69 – There is really no reason these defenses should be able to slow down one another. The Red Raiders had a brutal game last week, blowing a 17-0 lead to lose in overtime at Wyoming. But this comes on their turf and the offense should find its rhythm after having to deal with the altitude and Cowboys’ physicality. The Ducks offense is humming with Bo Nix and we should see a track meet. LOSS

1x Jacksonville State +13.5 at Coastal Carolina – This is a fade of Coastal, who I think gets by on a little name recognition and the likeability of QB Grayson McCall. I do like his swagger with the mullet but the defense is the issue. I believe the Gamecocks are a live underdog with Rich Rodriguez and a rapid tempo. LOSS

Leans – Northwestern PK W, Colorado -2.5 W, Alabama -7.5 L, TEX/ALA under 53.5 L, Stanford +29 L, Iowa -3.5 W

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 (+3.0 units)

3x Jared Goff under 23.5 completions (-115) – Given the absence of Chiefs DT Chris Jones, I expect the Lions to try to dominate the time of possession with their run game. The allure of that is simultaneously keeping the ball away from Patrick Mahomes and shortening the game. I also think the likely absence of TE Travis Kelce means KC will have fewer big plays and thus reduce the total number of possessions in the game. All that points to fewer opportunities for Lions QB Jared Goff, who I think has limitations. WIN

Leans – Lions/Chiefs under 53 W

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 (+.8 units)

3x Phillies/Padres F5 over 4.5 (-140) – Rich Hill does not belong in the big leagues but I am going to fade him as long as he is. The lefty has pitched decently the last few outings but I think the Phillies lineup presents different challenges. They should be able to mash. I also am not a big fan of Taijuan Walker. He can escape outings by allowing a couple runs but San Diego has plenty of dangerous bats. I think the best way to bet this game is to isolate each starting pitcher. I also like an offering at Caesars of over 2.5 runs in the first three innings. WIN

2x Clemson -13 – Laying double-digits on the road typically is frowned upon but I think the Tigers get it done. With Cade Klubnik, Clemson finally has a quarterback that can lead them back to the CFP. Also, Dabo Swinney is unafraid to run up the score late so I am less nervous about a backdoor cover. As for Duke, I love where the program is headed but it is not quite on the same level as Clemson right now. Mike Elko and QB Riley Leonard should have a solid season but this is a lot to ask. LOSS

Leans: CWS/KC under 10 L

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 (-2.2 units)

2x LSU -2 – Aside from his ridiculously forced accent, Brian Kelly shined in his first season in Baton Rouge. He truly is an excellent coach and has demonstrated that at every school on his resume. The Tigers improved throughout the year, and I expect a much more polished season opener this time around. That excruciating and sloppy loss has to galvanize them for this rematch, much like Utah did to exact revenge against Florida this past week. Florida State has a stud in Jordan Travis and should be solid but I think LSU squeaks out a cover. LOSS

Leans: Northwestern +6 L

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 (-1.2 units)

2x TCU -20.5 at Colorado – By now you should know the buzz surrounding Deion Sanders and Colorado. It is not pretty. The public has backed the win total over but the sharp money is on the under. Plus, there is a lot of disgust amongst the coaching ranks towards Sanders and I would not be surprised if coaches run up the score. That is part of why I like TCU. A repeat of last season is not happening but Sonny Dykes has resurrected the program and the Horned Frogs should win this comfortably. LOSS

1x Nevada/USC over 66 – I’ll believe that USC’s defense has improved when I actually see it. The Trojans are obviously loaded on offense with Heisman Trophy favorite Caleb Williams leading the way at quarterback and plenty of other weapons. The Wolf Pack added some decent offensive players in the transfer portal and could generate some points, even if they come in garbage time. I am a little worried about the offensive line but if it is bad yet again, USC will turn that into points. WIN

Leans: SMU -20 W, Northern Illinois +8.5 W

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 (-2.2 units)

2x Stanford/Hawaii under 55.5 – This game has seen quite a bit of line movement on both the point spread and total. We missed the best numbers but I still like the under at the current price because Stanford seemingly has minimal weapons and Hawaii’s production in last week’s opener is misleading. I expect a tight game and thus both teams to play rather conservatively, especially because each coach is early in his tenure. This is a game they each needs, given the rest of their schedules. LOSS

Leans: Hawaii +3 L, Miami (OH) +16.5 L

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