Five NFL Season Win Total Bets You Should Invest In

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Two days away from the start of the NFL season, and I'm getting all my ducks in a row for kickoff Thursday night.

I have the Texans schedule loaded in my calendar so I know exactly how many Sundays I'll have to watch a total menu of other teams' games during the season. (Total? Three. October 12 after a Thursday Texans game, October 19 before a Monday Texans game, and November 9 on the bye week.)

My fantasy auction is tonight, so combing through the last round of updates and roster tweaks from around the league. I won't bore you with what my roster looks like after the auction here or on Twitter. I hate people that do that.

All you need to know about my fantasy league is this:

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J.J. Watt Becomes Highest Paid Defensive Player In NFL History

Photo by Groovehouse
Man, you got to feel for the Houston Astros.

In a metropolitan area where only 40 percent of the city has the television capability to watch their games, and only a minuscule fraction of those people are choosing to do so, the only headline grabbing maneuver they had left (short of one of their players showing up in the iCloud pics with Jennifer Lawrence) was to fire their manager.

So they did that on Monday, firing manager Bo Porter and ruining the planned "slow news" Labor Day off day for editors and baseball reporters everywhere in the process.

And lo and behold, they managed to seize a tenuous grip on the Houston news cycle for about twelve hours. Good for them.

However, it didn't last long.

Because in a city where J.J. Watt could rip a loud fart and the entire city would immediately turn its attention to the Texans, Watt and Bob McNair decided to pull out the "news cycle" nukes instead:

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College Football 2014: Jameis Winston's Heisman Highlight Reel Begins (VIDEO)

Screen shot from ACC Digital's YouTube page
College football is back, and for this we should all be grateful. It was quite the opening weekend over the holiday!

The season kicked off with an unexpected Thursday night beatdown by the Texas A&M over the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia, launching the career of Kevin Sumlin's next Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback (Nation, meet Kenny Hill!)

The Saturday morning, we started things off with Penn State winning James Franklin's debut as head coach in Happy Valley with a 26-24 last second win over Central Florida in Ireland. (NOTE: We need an 8:00 a.m. football game every Saturday. Please, President Obama, in between rounds of golf, make this happen.) We continued with Alabama getting a tussle from West Virginia in the afternoon before putting away the Mountaineers, followed by the first in what historically we know will be about a half dozen WTF moments from Les Miles in a 17 point comeback in the nightcap as LSU beat Wisconsin.

Good first weekend that also gave us some great visual gifts, two in particular which were very clarifying on a larger scale for the upcoming season.

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Texans Trade for QB Ryan Mallett, Case Keenum Era Over

Waiver wire time in the NFL is like fishing through the discounted $4.99 DVD bin in your local Walmart.

One by one, you pick up, glance at and summarily toss aside classic time wasters like A Fish Called Wanda, Can't Buy Me Love, or any of the '90s superhero movies involving a protagonist other than Batman or Superman. Nothing in that bin is ever really good enough (even for only $4.99); you're just settling for it because it's there and fills a latent void.

The quarterback position in the NFL is a little different at waiver wire time, though. You can't just slide anything into that slot. Finding a quarterback by any means requires a little bit of thought and a little more discretion than filling other positions.

In Walmart DVD sales parlance, sometimes the $4.99 bin isn't good enough. Sometimes you need to pay a little more (say, $8.99) for the final copy of Deliverance in the store.

Enter, Ryan Mallett!

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Houston Texans: Final 53-Man Roster Prediction

Normally, in the NFL's preseason, there's been a logical progression whereby you learn more and more about a team with each passing preseason game.

In years past, the starters play a quarter in the first game, two quarters in the second game, three quarters (roughly) in the third game, and then they all sit the finale. However, with controlled practices against the Falcons and the Broncos, along with a heightened sense of caution in keeping his top heavy roster healthy, Bill O'Brien really hasn't given us much to go on when trying to handicap this team.

Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing, Johnathan Joseph, Brandon Brooks, Jadeveon Clowney, J.J. Watt, Chris Myers...we've seen very little publicly of all these guys playing football. And even less of them playing at the same time.

Oddly enough, we may have learned more about this team in preseason game number four than any of the other three games.

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This Weekend's Best Bets: College Football Is Here

207 days. That's how long I've been waiting.

When the piece of cheese sitting at the end of the summer-long maze is redemption, the clock ticks slowly. The pages get ripped off the calendar at a glacial speed. August couldn't get here soon enough. Because here's the thing -- I sucked at giving you picks last year. Absolutely terrible.

44-70-4, to be exact.

That was my record. It was a brutal 2013 campaign. The only thing at all appropriate about my 2013 handicapping was that I am based out of Houston, where 2-14 on the field is the equivalent of 44-70-4 when handicapping.

So let's hope that 2014's theme is redemption. Redemption for me, and redemption for Toro! And a trickle of cash for all of us! (Except you, Toro.)

Let's hit some college games for the first weekend, shall we?

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Gambling! Five College Football Season Win Total Bets You Should Play

Each week in this space, I plan to give you, the faithful news blog reader, six picks against the spread for the upcoming football weekend.

I would encourage you to read them even if you don't plan to wager since they serve the dual purpose of conveying football predictions as well as force-feeding you references to Breaking Bad, Star Wars and adult film stars. However, perhaps there are some of you who would like to have some action out there, but aren't up for the game to game grind of weekly wagering.

You want a long-term investment, a way to enjoy the thrill of gambling while still getting analogies comparing Nick Saban to a combination of Walter White, Darth Vader and Peter North?

Well, my friend, may I interest you in the magic of the Season Win Total Bet?

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Niners-Texans: Five Players to Watch

By now, four weeks into the preseason, fans should at least have a general idea of how good (or bad) we think their team will be.

Yet, here we are on the morning of the final preseason game, and I'm no closer to knowing exactly what the Texans will be in 2014 than I was when Andre Johnson decided to return to the building on July 25.

Consider the following training camp variables you have to factor into any rational assessment of this team:

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ESPN Reports on Michael Sam's Showering Habits (VIDEO)

Marcus Qwertyus
Before making doing a final save of each of my posts on this blog, I select a few categories that indicate the nature of the subject matter.

Prior to saving this particular post, I chose the usual categories of "Game Time" (code for "Sean wrote this") and "Sports" (because that's what I generally write about), and I also checked off "Football." But "football" isn't entirely accurate. I mean, this is a post about football insomuch as it pertains to Michael Sam, who is a football player for the St. Louis Rams.

However, the post itself has very little to do with the actual game of football. Since it's a report from Rams' training camp, it should, in theory, have everything to do with the game of football -- it should be about Michael Sam's ability to rush the passer, his contributions on special teams, or maybe his sack of Johnny Manziel on Saturday night.

But it doesn't. And we have ESPN to thank for that.

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Houston Texans Begin the Roster Trim-Down to 75 Players

Monica Fuentes
There will be cuts...

If you listen carefully, that sound you hear is the sound of hundreds of NFL dreams being shattered (or at the very least, put on hold, but "put on hold" doesn't sound nearly melodramatic enough for the internet).

My co-host Ted Johnson, he of three Super Bowl rings and a decade in the NFL, was a second round draft choice of the New England Patriots in 1995, who then became a quality stalwart on their defense. So he wasn't routinely in a training camp situation in which he was in danger of being cut (although, to be fair, once you get a veteran's salary, you're always in danger of something -- pay cut, being cut, paper cut, lots of cuts). To that end, Ted has said in his time in the league, he made a point to never learn the names of rookies in camp because chances are most of them would be gone in a month.

And nobody likes emotional good byes, right?

On Monday, the Texans began the process of the tearful adieus to many of the training camp bodies that were the foundation of the waning moments of blowouts in Weeks 1 and 2 of the preseason.

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