The Premier League is starting to take shape. Whereas you spent the opening weeks of the season guessing and hoping that you could predict what would happen and then put money on those wild guesses because you're a degenerate, now you know what is going on. It has been a month and the cream has risen to the top.
Finally, everything has settled in as expected. Manchester City is back atop the league, Liverpool are just high enough to give their supporters false hope, Everton are off to a slow start, but sure to come on strong late and Swansea have fallen apart without Brendan Rodgers, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Scott Sinclair. Phew, normalcy and common sense has returned.
After a month, the Premier League is still a mess. We don't know a thing and your head is too busy trying to sort out the league to give you any decent gambling advice.
In such a situation you can only go to one man to help you with your dirty gambling habit -- your gut. Name him Alfred and believe in him. Alfreds are good people.
Arsenal vs. Chelsea to draw (+250)
In the battle for false hope, it would only be fitting if neither gets it. Or can Chelsea convince themselves that their double pivot won't doom them if they draw away to Arsenal? Probably.
This is a match that Arsenal should win if their defense is as strong as some are convinced it is after an impressive start. That Chelsea double pivot is begging to lose control of this match and allow Santi Cazorla to run loose. That alone is worth a goal and maybe two, because the Blues defense isn't exactly lighting things up right now.
But again, do you believe that Arsenal's defense is as good as it has looked early on? If it can keep the wraps on Eden Hazard then we are all believers, but odds are that Hazard will have his moments. He will pick at the defense and he will do enough to earn the Blues an away point.
So dream away, Chelsea. Maybe you too, Arsenal. Your false hope is great for the rest of us.
Wayne Rooney enters the match before the 50th minute (-140)
If Rooney doesn't start then Ryan Giggs has to start on the left or Manchester United have to play with two out-and-out strikers. That means either Giggs has a stroke trying to run up and down the wing with Aaron Lennon and Kyle Walker or Sir Alex Ferguson just asks Tottenham to have a go at Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes.
Additionally, Rooney would be left to brood on the bench. He might pop a hair plug or two.
The comedy would easily make up for losing the bet. This is the ultimate hedge.
Norwich City +1 (-175) vs. Liverpool
The longer Liverpool are in the relegation zone, the better it is for everyone else.
And besides the obvious comedy os the situation, would it shock anyone if Liverpool -- who have four goals from five matches this year -- couldn't find the mark away from home? Who's going to score the goal? This team doesn't have a single true striker, which is clearly 10 times the problem that any tactics or referee is, but not nearly as good of an excuse.
More than anything, would there be anything better than collecting on a bet while laughing at Liverpool? You make this bet because the payoff goes so far beyond the money, and it's not completely crazy.
Blackburn fans chant "Kean out" while Steve Kean sits on his couch petting his new friend (+15,000)
I'll take Greatest Thing Ever for $500, Alex.
Last Week: 1-2. Season: 6-7.