Here's a fun outside-the-box plan to cash in betting football this weekend

Looking to place some bets this weekend? Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Are you lonely? There’s no need to answer those blurbs online for “old-fashioned” Russian women looking to marry American men. Sure they “know how to respect their husbands and treat them like kings,” but who knows what will get off that plane when you greet the new Mrs. You. She may not look like that picture in the ad.

Here’s a better, safer way to find companionship. And I guarantee this new friend will stick with you longer than throwing a long distance Hail Mary for love. Unfortunately, this method may end up wiping out your 401k just the same.

If you listen to one of those weekend radio shows where sports betting hustlers tell you, “Call my toll-free number for a recorded message with our free picks this weekend” – and you think you’re getting something for free – you’re wrong. Once you make that call, they’ve got your number, and there’s nothing, certainly not call blocking or FCC regulations outlawing spam calls (yeah, those work) that will stop them from calling you till death do you part. You’ll have an easier time getting rid of a time share in Galveston.

I have a better way. You want to make money betting football? Listen to my friend Oreste San Juan’s weekly picks.

And bet the other way.

Let me tell you about Oreste. I’ve known this guy a long time, I used to work with him. He’s one of our gang. He likes to bet football.

Trouble is, he’s the worst bettor in the world. He’s horrible. Last week, he played a 5-team parlay. All five of his teams lost. You realized that’s as mathematically unlikely as picking five winners, right?

If he bets $100 on a parlay and loses all five games, what happens if you bet the other way? Here’s what - $759 for a tidy profit of $659.

It’s like Oreste is giving away free money. Think of Sundays as “Opposite Day,” – the opposite of Oreste. You know how pro sports “investment advisors” brag they have a “documented 90 percent win rate?” That’s a bunch of crap, of course. Oreste is honest - “I can’t remember the last time I had a winning year!”

If he loses and you go the other way, you don’t have to be Ed “The Professor” Horowitz to know this is a solid system. It’s like buying short in the stock market without worrying about your guy running back a certain Pick 6 for the win but he drops the ball on the 1-yard-line like an idiot.

Here’s how successful Oreste is in the sports speculation maelstrom. Monday through Friday, working 9 to 5, he is very successful, probably makes more money than the rest of us. He stinks on weekends, that’s all. When the boys go to McDonald’s, he’ll ask if I have any coupons for half-off Big Macs. A few summers ago, a bunch of went to Europe and rode all-night trains from country to country. One night he was in the top bunk over me. At 5 a.m., I heard him yell “&*$%$!” He stayed up till dawn listening to Monday Night Football on Armed Forces Radio and he lost on a last-second field goal.

We were on a bus in Warsaw and Oreste had his phone up to his ear. He was listening to a college football game. He was oblivious to the world. A passenger tapped him on his shoulder. “That guy just stole your wallet and ran off the bus.” Oreste spent the rest of that day at the U.S. Embassy trying to get a copy of his passport.

Enough selling the Oreste San Juan Plan for Prosperity. Here are his four NFL picks for Week 3. Remember, go the opposite way.

He likes the Bears (-3) over the Texans.

He likes the Chief (-6) at the Colts.

He likes the Bengals (-5) at the J-E-T-S.

He loves, loves, loves Buccaneers (-1) over the Packers.

See you at the pay window.

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Yainer Diaz should be a big factor early in the season. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

Opening Day for the Houston Astros is right around the corner and the reigning champions of the baseball world have set their final roster.

Three players whose names stood on the final 26 were catchers Yainer Diaz and Cesar Salazar as well as right-handed pitcher Ronel Blanco, and outfielder Corey Julks.

While some might be surprised to see their names on the main roster, the Astros’ logic behind it reveals the focus is not just on this season, but for the future as well.

Let’s start with Diaz and Salazar, who both edged out prospect Korey Lee for the backup catcher position. Lee was the Astros’ first-round selection in the 2019 draft. His numbers during 2023 spring training were .258/.343/.827 with two home runs and six RBI in 31 at-bats.

In comparison, Diaz’s slashes were .325/.317/.892 with one home run and eight RBI in 40 at-bats. Salazar put together a slash line of .286/.407/.978 with a home run and seven RBI in 21 at-bats.

While not making the opening day roster is a blow for Lee, Houston general manager Dana Brown said it is not necessarily a reflection of where the organization views him as a player.

Brown said it is vital for Lee to play every single day being a first-round sound selection. That would not be the case had he made the Astros roster, with Martin Maldonaldo solidified as the starter.

“He's like a big time, frontline guy with some power, so you can't have guys like that sitting on the bench at the Major League level, so you have to get him playing time,” Brown said. “Whereas Salazar is a backup catcher, and he fills that role better.”

While that argument works regarding Salazar, it will be interesting to see what Diaz does with his roster spot. Both Diaz and Lee are 24 years old. Diaz made his MLB debut last September and appeared in only six games for the Astros.

As for Blanco, the right-handed pitcher put together an impressive spring training for Houston that earned him his spot in the bullpen. The Dominican Republic native pitched 14 innings, giving up only one run. He put together a 0.64 ERA.

Blanco is going to be raring to showcase to Houston his improvement from last season. He had a rough 2022 season in the big leagues, appearing in only seven games and giving up five runs and accumulating a 7.11 ERA.

The 29-year-old beat out pitchers like Brandon Bielak and veteran Austin Davis to make the team’s crowded bullpen. For Blanco, it is all about producing in the majors.

One final player to spotlight is Corey Julks. He came as a bit of a surprise as well, with many thinking Justin Dirden's impressive spring could get him a spot on the roster. But Julks has more experience and posted a big year with the Space Cowboys in 2022. The former University of Houston Cougar crushed 31 home runs for Sugar Land last year and had a slash line this spring of .275/.318/.550 with 2 homers.

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