I love gambling. Maybe a little too much sometimes. I thought to myself, "Hey, how about you start giving the public your picks even though you kind of suck?" I see it like being a meteorologist. Those goofballs are wrong all the time, but they still have jobs. You gonna get mad when I lose? Fade me then. I can't control if Platense hits a three to cover the second quarter spread against Boca Juniors in the Argentine National League.
This is going to be a weekly piece where I go over my favorite games, as well as games where I see a ton of value. Also, I'm going to be covering a ton of different sports: NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA, PGA, and heck, I'll even sprinkle in a little bit of horse racing here and there. Without further ado, let's get into the first-ever Burbs Weekend Gambling Guide presented by Ice.
Burbs Weekend Gambling Guide
American Express Championship
Note: I'm filling out this portion on Wednesday 1/20, as the tournament starts tomorrow.
Chalk: Scottie Scheffler +1400
Scottie Scheffler is a rising star in the game of golf. His surge started with a top ten finish at the PGA Championship at Harding Park back in September. Scheffler has been near the top of the leaderboard at a good majority of the tournaments since then, as well. The 24-year-old Texas native finished second in the AmEx last year and I expect him to have another good showing this weekend.
Mid Carder: Abraham Ancer +2500
Abraham Ancer is another guy who's in good form heading into the AmEx. He was in contention at The Masters until the end, ultimately finishing in a tie for 13th. In addition, Ancer has had two strong finishes at the past two editions of the AmEx, including a second-place finish last year. A ton of value for a guy who's played well in this tournament.
Longshot: Andrew Landry +8600
It's hard to ignore Andrew Landry's value in this spot. While the 33-year-old hasn't had a ton of success on tour, he LOVES this event. Landry won the event in 2020 and had a second-place finish behind Jon Rahm in 2018. Throw a small unit play on a guy who's had a ton of success in this tournament.
NFC Championship: Tampa Bay vs. Green Bay (-3) 51
The NFC Championship pits two of the greatest QBs of all-time against one another, as six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on two-time (likely will be three after this year) MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. These two faced off in the regular season, and the Bucs thoroughly dominated the Packers in a 38-10 rout at home.
For the Bucs, the key is obviously to slow down Aaron Rodgers. How do you do that? Pressure, pressure and more pressure. In the regular season contest, Tampa racketed up the pressure in the second, third and fourth quarters and was able to make Rodgers extremely uncomfortable. They'll get a boost with the return of defensive tackle Vita Via, who can clog up the middle and allow guys like Ndamukong Suh, Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul to do their thing.
For Green Bay, the obvious key is to protect Aaron Rodgers. Their work will be cut out for them, as all-pro left tackle David Bakhtiari isn't available. Billy Turner has filled in admirably, but he has a ton of pressure on him this week against great pass rushers and an aggressive coordinator in Todd Bowles. If the line is able to give Rodgers time to throw, watch out.
It's hard to beat a team twice in a year, but I think Tampa Bay is too good on both sides of the ball and will be victorious in an extremely close contest.
The plays: Tampa Bay +3, Tampa Bay ML +155, Leonard Fournette O45.5 rushing yards
AFC Championship Game: Buffalo vs. Kansas City (-3) 54
In another regular season rematch, the Buffalo Bills take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead on Sunday night. The Chiefs dominated on the ground the first meeting, rushing for a whopping 246 yards in a 26-17 win in Buffalo.
All eyes are on the health of Patrick Mahomes. Not only did the former MVP deal with a foot injury, but he also left the game after experiencing concussion-like symptoms. However, Mahomes was able to participate fully in practice today, signaling that he'll most likely be good to go for Sunday. Three of his teammates, including Sammy Watkins and Clyde Edwards-Helaire—who rushed for a career-high 161 yards in the Bills game—are questionable after missing the game against the Cleveland Browns.
Most of the world will be rooting for the Bills on Sunday. They've endured mediocrity pretty much ever since their run of four straight Super Bowl losses in the 90s. Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs and co. have given this team life and they have a legitimate chance to beat Kansas City and win the Super Bowl. For how shitty 2020 was, it's only fitting that Buffalo wins this game and represents the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Like the NFC game, I expect this one to be close throughout. Ultimately, a late Devin Singletary rushing TD will send Bills Mafia into a frenzy and tens of thousands of people will be jumping through folding tables in celebration of the Bills winning.
The plays: BUF +3, BUF ML +140, Josh Allen first TD +1100
Creighton -7 vs. UConn
This is a bounce back spot for the fighting Greg McDermott's. They've had two brutal losses back-to-back, including a four point overtime loss at Butler. They can take advantage of a banged-up Huskie squad that's without their star James Bouknight. Look for Creighton's star Marcus Zegarowski to have a big game as he starts to settle in after returning from a hamstring injury.
Baylor -8.5 @ Oklahoma State
I feel like this number is a vintage Vegas trap. They're trying to reel people into to take Oklahoma State plus the points, but I'm not falling for their bologna. Baylor's too good and despite State's impressive talent, the Bears incredible backcourt defense should be able to contain Cade Cunningham. HAMMER THE BEARS!
Prairie View -18.5 @ Miss Valley State
In college basketball, sometimes you gotta bet the shit because that's where the value is. Prairie View is the best team in the SWAC (the worst conference in CBB) and Mississipi Valley State is not only the worst team in the SWAC, but they're the worst team in college basketball. They've lost every game by double digits, with the closest effort being a 12 point loss to Alcorn State. The number's a little high, but PV is the clear play in this spot.
Gonzaga is dominant. Simple as that. They've scored over 80 points in every game except for one. I expect another great showing against Pacific. They should easily be able to get to 90. Meaning that Pacific only needs about 60 points, which they've hit in all but two of their games.
Minnesota has been brutal on the offensive end the past four games. They've only managed to get past the century mark once over the last five contests. On the other hand, their defense has also held opponents under 100 in three out of the last five games. I expect another game where both teams struggle to hit the 100 point plateau.
Lakers -9 vs. Bulls
Chicago will be on a back-to-back and also have to travel from Charlotte back home to Chicago for this contest. I'm a big believer in the travel rest theory, so that's pretty much my reasoning for this pick. Do you need anything else? Or am I good here?
Unfortunately, the piece this week ends on a sad note. Today (Friday), we learned of the passing of MLB Hall of Famer Hammerin' Hank Aaron. Aaron played 23 seasons in the Majors and finished second all-time in home runs with 755. He produced one of the most iconic moments in sports history, with his 715th home run to pass Babe Ruth as the home run king on April 8th, 1974. Aaron remains the all -ime leader in RBIs (2297) and total bases (6856).
In my mind, not only is he one of the greatest hitters of all-time, but he's one of the game's greatest players. I encourage you to check his baseball reference page. You wanna talk about a model of consistency? That's exactly what Hank Aaron was.
Not only was he a great player, but he was a pioneer for the game of baseball and did a ton of work outside the game. He has a foundation called Chasing the Dream, a program that assists youths and giving them an opportunity to pursue their dreams.
Hank, thank you for your contributions to the game and with your charity work. You were a true pioneer and you will be missed dearly.