Picking winners just a start True measure of success is money management; On the line


The past two weeks have been pretty decent, going 12-5 against the point spread on NFL games. But the mythical money management has been lousy. Or, to put things more succinctly, the mythical bankroll is minus $310 after three weeks.

There are good handicappers and there are good money managers when it comes to betting on sports events. The best football handicapper I've ever known never made a ton of money with his selections. The best money manager, while not in the same league with the handicapper when it came to picking winners, was 10 times more successful on the bottom line.

Mostly it had to do with courage. It takes a lot of guts to send it in big time on a team you really like especially when you're struggling. The handicapper usually backed off. The money manager didn't.

I'm now in minus figures for having gone strong on Buffalo in Week 1. Good handicapping the past two weeks hasn't been enough to compensate for the early mismanagement.

This week's picks

Cowboys (-3) at Bills: Dallas' offensive line is starting to get its act together. Pittsburgh's Jerome Bettis ran on the Bills. Emmitt Smith should, too, although everybody's been jamming the line against Dallas with Michael Irvin suspended. Take Dallas, for a mythical $100.

Chargers at Raiders (-3): San Diego is a solid squad and was in contention longer than most realize despite being blown away at Green Bay. Oakland barely beat Jacksonville. Take San Diego, for a mythical $250.

Packers (-6 1/2 ) at Vikings: Stick with Pack until they cool off. They're on a great roll. Robert Smith's running has been a key to Minnesota's early success, but Reggie White and friends should shut him down. Take Green Bay, for a mythical $100.

Redskins at Rams (-2): Rookie Tony Banks gets the call at quarterback for St. Louis. Sean Gilbert returns to St. Louis to harass him. I was ready to go $250 here until hearing that Michael Westbrook is out (again). Take Washington, for a mythical $100.

Jaguars at Patriots (-7 1/2 ): New England is one of the NFL's emerging teams (along with Houston and Washington). Jacksonville will miss Jeff Lageman, giving Drew Bledsoe time to throw deep. Take New England, for a mythical $100.

Broncos at Chiefs (-5): Denver's pass rush couldn't get to Trent ++ Dilfer, for gosh sakes. Terrell Davis may suffer another migraine attempting to run on Kansas City. And John Elway is too stiff-legged to scramble much. Take Kansas City, for a mythical $100.

Eagles at Falcons (-2): Philadelphia bounced back nicely against Detroit, dominating the line of scrimmage, and could do so again against struggling Atlanta. Take Philadelphia, for a mythical $100.

Bears at Lions (-4 1/2 ): I like Detroit at home, where its high-powered offense functions much better on carpet. Chicago having problems at quarterback, running back and kicker. Take Detroit, for a mythical $100.

Dolphins at Colts (-2 1/2 ): Going against Jimmy Johnson right now might not make much sense, but Indianapolis is as fired up as Miami at 3-0 and the Colts are a lot healthier than they were for Dallas. Take Indianapolis, for a mythical $100.

Last week's picks

Oilers, giving 3 1/2 , beat Ravens, 29-13, plus $100; Patriots, giving 10, beat Cardinals, 31-0, plus $100; Bears, giving 3 1/2 , lost to Vikings, 20-14, minus $110; Packers, giving 8 1/2 , beat Chargers, 42-10, plus $100; Colts, getting 10, beat Cowboys, 25-24, plus $100; Redskins, giving 2, beat Giants, 31-10, plus $100; Chiefs, giving 3 1/2 , beat Seahawks, 35-17, plus $100; Broncos, giving 13 1/2 , beat Bucs, 27-23, minus $275; Steelers, giving 3, beat Bills, 24-6, plus $100.

Net for week: plus $315. Net for season: minus $310.

Pub Date: 9/20/96

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