Obviously the Steelers have to rely on a myriad (h/t Mike Tomlin) of things happening Sunday in order to qualify for the playoffs (remember 1989?). Hey, they needed four games to go their way last week and they all did. Four more this week is unlikely, but not out of the realm of possibility. In fact, according to this analysis by Football Outsiders on ESPN.com (subs), the Steelers have a 9% chance of making the playoffs. However that same analysis also shows the Steelers and their fans have a 20% of having it all come down to the 4:25 game between Kansas City and San Diego. That happens if, in the 1:00 games, the Steelers defeat the Browns, the Jets win in Miami and the Ravnes lose in Cincinnati. I really don't see the Jets winning in Miami, but if you can't take the anxiety of having to watch the Chiefs backups play in San Diego and want to try to profit from it no matter what the outcome, here's what I suggest:
1.) Go to Vegas, obviously this is only for entertainment purposes otherwise. Everyone wins in Vegas so I wouldn't worry about any associated costs.
2.) Get some cash. It takes money to make money, right?
3.) Never admit you did this until 4:25 when it's locked in. Otherwise you (and me) look like every other square dropping dough on his NFL dreams.
Okay here's the bet, we'll use $100 as the base bet to make the numbers easy:
Bet 1: Risk $120 to Win $100 on a 3-team tease with Pittsburgh -7, Indianapolis -11 and SanDiego -9.5. In a 3-team tease you add 10 points to each team you are betting so that makes this bet Steelers +3, Colts -1 and San Diego +1/2. All three teams have to win vs. the new spread in order to cash.
Rationale: If your a Steelers fan, you know they are winning on Sunday, so that is a no-brainer. Now we have to find anohter bet we love at 1:00 to make this a lock. The best games to use are probably New England, New Orleans and Seattle but they are all at 4:25 pm. The Colts are the one I like at 1:00. The Colts come in at 10-5. Depending on the outcomes of the Bengals and Patriots games (Pats are at 4:25) the Colts could be the 2, 3 or 4 seed, so they definitely have something to play for. And they can't scoreboard watch.
Outcome: We're here to win money. If the Steelers or Colts fail to cover we lose our $120 and go home with our tail between our legs. But that isn't happening right? Let's assume we hit both. How do we lock it in?
Kansas City at San Diego: As a Steelers fan, you needed three things to go right for this game to be meaningful. The Chargers are in the same boat as the Steelers. They need to have the Dolphins and Ravens both lose for it to be a meaningful game. Let's look at the two scenarios:
1.) Not Meaningful: If the Dolphins or Ravnes win, this game will have no meaning to either the Chargers or the Chiefs.
What to do: No bet. Get to a bar. You aren't going to watch it. Just feel good that you are getting 1/2 point rather than laying 9.5 on the favorite. You probably win $100. That might cover the bar tab as you think about the Steelers losses to Tennessee, Oakland, Minnesota and Miami (if you are drinking alone). This is the most-likely outcome.
2.) Meaningful: Now your sucked in. You're rooting for a team that is plalying not to get hurt and is going to have Chase Daniel at QB. Sure the backups want to play well and put up some good tape, but come on, for the Chargers it's all on the line.
What to do: You could do nothing and just hedge your emotions with the $100 you win if the Chargers win. But, the Chiefs are +340 on the money line. Bet $35 on the Chiefs to win the game and you win $119 if they do.
Outcome: So if the Chargers game is menaingful. The possible results:
1.) Chiefs Win (1): You did nothing at 4:15. You sat and rooted for the Chiefs to win and lost $120, but the Steelers made the playoffs.
2.) Chiefs Win (2): You bet $35 on the Chiefs on the money line at 4:15. You won $119 that will offset the $120 you lost on the 3-team tease. You'll have paid a $1, and probably a hefty bar bill, to watch the Steelers play in the 2013 playoffs.
3.) Chargers Win (1): You did nothing at 4:15. You won $100 but netted nothing because of the bar tab and now the season is over.
4.) Chargers Win (2): You bet $35 on the Chiefs on the money line at 4:15. You won the 3-teams tease for $100 but lost $35, so you netted $65. How long did you stay at the bar to watch the end? That's going to determine the damage. And it's a long offseason.