Week 8 NFL Picks & Rapid Fire Power Rankings

nfl-in-fall

All the usual signs that we’ve reached the midway point of the NFL season are just about here. The leaves are turning, the league has royally botched another domestic violence situation (during “we care about women & breast cancer month”, no less), everyone’s complaining about the awful product that the NFL is marching out on the field each and every week, and quarterbacks all over the country are ruining the hopes & dreams of millions of fans.

It feels like an appropriate time to give you some rapid fire Power Rankings since we have a decent sample size of games to work with. I really don’t feel like trying to make sense out of who’s slightly better between the Jaguars, Rams and Bucs, so I’m going to stick with my top 15 teams here. 

  1. New England
  2. Minnesota
  3. Denver
  4. Dallas
  5. Seattle
  6. Atlanta
  7. Pittsburgh
  8. Kansas City
  9. Philadelphia
  10. Arizona
  11. Green Bay
  12. Buffalo
  13. Oakland
  14. Washington
  15. San Diego

Detroit gets an honorable mention as the only team I left out that might be deserving of a playoff spot by season’s end. You notice I said deserving. Yes, one of the putrid AFC South teams has to make the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean any of them are even in the top 20 at this point.

Let’s move on to the week 8 picks.

Teams on Bye: Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, NY Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco

Jacksonville at Tennessee (-3) | over/under 44

The Pick: Tennessee

The Score: Tennessee 22, Jacksonville 17

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I said last week that any AFC South head-to-head “battle” should be an automatic gambling stay away. Add in the Thursday night wackiness potential, and I’m sticking to that rule.

Listen, this exact same game was played on a Thursday night a little later into last season, and the Jaguars beat the Titans to move to 4-6 and they were suddenly only a game out of a playoff spot. This division sucks right now, it sucked last year, and it’ll suck for the foreseeable future. Take a look around the AFC South. Not one of these teams seems to have found its long-term head coach, and only one could confidently say they have their QB of the future (and even with the gift of Andrew Luck, the Colts are completely failing at putting together a competitive football team).

Washington vs Cincinnati (-3) | over/under 47.5 (in London)

The Pick: Washington

The Score: Washington 27, Cincinnati 24 (OT)

The Bets: Over (37.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

It would definitely boost my confidence in Washington if Jordan Reed and Josh Norman get the OK to play, but the Skins are a better team than Cincy regardless.

Before I even saw the over/under on this game, I knew I’d love the over. Washington is a scoring machine, and Cincy is sneaky mediocre on defense. They would have gladly given up a ton of points to Cleveland last week had the Browns been playing with an NFL caliber quarterback. Lock in the over teased down to 37.

Kansas City (-3) at Indianapolis | over/under 50

The Pick: Kansas City

The Score: Kansas City 29, Indianapolis 24

The Bets: Over (40) in a 3-way tease / Kansas City (+7) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

For some reason, I’m expecting this game to play out similarly to the Chiefs’ road win in Oakland a couple weeks back, only with more scoring from both teams. You gotta give the Colts credit. Offensively they’re faring reasonably well and haven’t had a very easy schedule. Over their last five games, they haven’t faced a defense ranked lower than 15th. And they’re putting up 28 points per game during that span.

I’m reasonably confident in the Chiefs covering, but I’m ridiculously confident in the over and teased over hitting in this matchup.

Arizona at Carolina (-3) | over/under 47

The Pick: Arizona

The Score: Arizona 23, Carolina 21

The Bets: Under (57) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

I instinctively loved Arizona as soon as I saw this line. The spread actually opened as a pick, but obviously lots of Carolina money came pouring in.

I get that Arizona’s offense looked completely inept on a very large national stage on Sunday night. And Carolina is coming off their bye.

But Carolina’s 21st ranked defense is a much different situation than going up against Seattle.

I’m particularly surprised that Carolina’s expected to score 25.5 points. I think that’s severely overrating their offense, and underrating Arizona’s 4th overall defense.

Oakland at Tampa Bay (pick) | over/under 49.5

The Pick: Oakland

The Score: Oakland 28, Tampa Bay 26

The Bets: Over (39.5) in a 3-way tease / Oakland (+11) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

After this game, Oakland is home for four straight games (and a bye). They don’t go on the road again until December 8th. But that might not be as appealing to them as you’d think because the Raiders are only 1-2 at home, but 4-0 on the road. I think they make it 5-0 on the road with a textbook Oakland style game…close & a little lucky.

I think if Tampa plays its best game and Oakland only plays OK, then the Bucs could keep it close.

Seattle (-3) at New Orleans | over/under 48

The Pick: New Orleans

The Score: New Orleans 28, Seattle 24

The Bets: Over (48) / Over (38) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with New Orleans (+3)

The over bets come from a very logical line of thinking. Here it is:

  • Seattle has the 3rd best defense in football, according to the FootballOutsider.com DVOA rankings.
  • In the past four years, New Orleans has played nine home games against teams in the top ten of that year’s defensive DVOA rankings. And while the Saints have lost more than they’ve won in those matchups, they are still averaging 31.9 points per game.
  • For whatever reason, they’re expected to score just 22.25 points this weekend.
  • Meanwhile, Seattle was able to put up 27 points at the Jets earlier this season and they’ve looked fine offensively at home.
  • I’m throwing out the awful Seattle/Arizona 6-6 tie because that division just plays ugly games against each other.
  • So I think Seattle scores in the mid 20s and obviously New Orleans is putting up high 20s.
  • Done and done.

You gotta ask yourself: Are the Seahawks really capable of putting up 28-33 points? Because that’s what it might come down to for them to win. I don’t think the Seahawks are playing good enough football yet to go into New Orleans and outlast the Saints.

Detroit at Houston (-2.5) | over/under 45.5

The Pick: Houston

The Score: Houston 23, Detroit 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: Yes with Houston (-2.5)

I know it seems outrageous to have any faith in Houston, but they play semi-decent at home. And Detroit plays noticeably worse on the road.

Houston is 4-0 at home, winning by 9, 7, 7, and 3 points. Sure, they probably won’t win by much, but you gotta assume they’ll win.

Be careful with your overconfidence in Detroit. They just played three home games, and like I said, they’re a different team on the road. I’m expecting the “Is Matt Stafford the best QB in football?” hot takes to cool down after this week.

New England (-6.5) at Buffalo | over/under 46.5

The Pick: Buffalo

The Score: New England 26, Buffalo 23

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Bottomline on this game: The LeSean McCoy health uncertainty makes this pick impossible while I’m writing this on Thursday morning. The Bills offense could be completely different depending on his availability.

Speaking of that offense, the Bills have had a really good offensive team this year. Earlier this season, they put up 33 points against Arizona (the 3rd best defense in the league), and 45 points on San Francisco (the 20th best defense). Why do I bring up that San Francisco defense? Because it is currently ranked only a couple spots lower than New England.

There’s also Rex Ryan’s history against New England. Obviously his 5-11 record in 16 games against the Patriots isn’t anything special (though it kinda is since it’s the Pats). But I’m talking specifically about the Post-Buttfumble Era. In eight games since Rex, Mark Sanchez and the whole Jets organization hit rock bottom, the Patriots have only outscored Ryan’s teams by five total points. And in three home games against New England since #buttfumble, Rex has won by three, lost by one and lost by 8.

My point is that he may not win a majority of games against Belichick, but Rex can be counted on to throw off the Patriots offense enough to keep the game close.

NY Jets (-3) at Cleveland | over/under 43.5

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: Cleveland 19, NY Jets 16

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

There’s really nothing statistically that makes the Jets a better team than the Browns. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that the Browns—regardless of their QB situation—are going to keep it to a one-score game as long as they’re playing a garbage team, which the Jets are.

I have a feeling this is Cleveland’s one win on the season.

San Diego at Denver (-5) | over/under 43.5

The Pick: San Diego

The Score: Denver 24, San Diego 23

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

San Diego’s a perfect team to pull off an upset in Denver. It’s mostly because Rivers and that offense finds a way to put up points no matter who they’re playing or where. Pencil them in for 22-25 points.

I would stay away from gambling this game if I were you. The Chargers just beat the Broncos two weeks ago so it’s a distinct possibility again. The AFC West is by far the best division in football (if you think it’s the NFC East, you’re wrong). It’s still tough to get a read on who’s at the top and who’s not.

Green Bay at Atlanta (-3) | over/under 53

The Pick: Atlanta

The Score: Atlanta 30, Green Bay 26

The Bets: Atlanta (+7) in a 3-way tease / Over (43) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Atlanta (-3)

I can’t believe this line is as low as it is. Is it just because of Green Bay’s reputation with the public? Look at the way the Packers struggled against the Bears in Lambeau just a week ago. Or is it because everyone thinks the Atlanta fade has begun? They started off hot last year and made a bunch of us look like fools so we’re already jumping off them this year?

To realize how much better the Falcons are than the Packers, think about what would happen if Green Bay played the Broncos in Denver right now. The Packers offense would get ragdolled up and down the field. It wouldn’t even be funny.

And yet, the Falcons have a win in Denver. And they’ve faced much harder competition than Green Bay. Don’t sleep on them.

The fact that Atlanta allows everyone to put up at least four touchdowns on them, I can’t predict a blowout, but I can tell you that the teased over is also a great play.

Philadelphia at Dallas (-4.5) | over/under 43.5

The Pick: Dallas

The Score: Dallas 24, Philadelphia 17

The Bets: Dallas (+5.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Dallas (-4.5)

Well I’ll be damned. This game features the #1 offense in all of football (Cowboys) against the #1 defense (Eagles). That sentence is stunning when you really think about it.

If there’s any angle here, it’s that the Eagles are only middle-of-the-road in rushing defense and Dallas has the top rushing unit in the league.

Neither team really has the complete package since the Eagles complement their top-ranked defense with the #24 offense. And the Cowboys pair their #1 offense with the #20 defense.

This Philly offense might really struggle. They only scored two offensive touchdowns against the Vikings at home last week, but the week before was worse…at Washington, their offense only put up six points while facing the 22nd ranked defense.

I think Dallas is a true contender while the Eagles will slowly fade into the pack of mediocrity.

Minnesota (-6) at Chicago | over/under 40.5

The Pick: Minnesota

The Score: Minnesota 24, Chicago 16

The Bets: Minnesota (-6) / Minnesota (pick or +4) in a 2-way or 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Minnesota (-6)

I don’t think Chicago’s pass rush / quarterback pressure skills are anything to worry about, which is the only thing that seems to be able to slow the Vikings down right now.

The Bears have scored more than 17 points one time this season, in a game against the awful Colts. Even at home, I can’t see them cracking 20 points. Jay Cutler coming back does nothing to improve this team.

And I’m not too worried about the Vikings. They may have just had a rusty week coming off their bye. I expect them to get back to doing what they do, and this is the perfect matchup for them to reestablish their scariness.

Here are the season-long stats I’m tracking:

  • Favorites are 42-62-3 against the spread (including a 7-8 record in week 7)
  • The point total has landed on Over 55 times, Under 50 times and Pushed 2 times
  • I’m 56-48-3 against the spread

Enjoy week 8.

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Week 7 NFL Picks: Geno, Landry & Brock? Oh My.

osweiler

Last week I seemed to be the only person on the planet who wasn’t freaking out about the NFL’s declining TV ratings. In fact, I used the intro of my weekly picks column to hype up the week 6 slate. As someone who watches every single minute of NFL action over the course of the week, it doesn’t bother me if the Primetime games are duds just as long as there are some great matchups at some point during the weekend. And I identified seven truly compelling games last week.

Unfortunately, we will not be having a repeat in week 7.

I feel like once a year, usually in October, I say to my readers, “If you had to pick a Sunday where you don’t park yourself in front of the TV all day and instead do something that your significant other wants to do, this would be the week for that.”

This is that week.

We’re unlikely to see a worse set of games this year than what week 7 is giving us. The best game was going to be New England at Pittsburgh, but obviously the intrigue is gone with Ben Roethlisberger sitting this one out.

The other “best games” this week? Umm…maybe Vikings/Eagles? Saints/Chiefs? Seahawks/Cardinals? That’s honestly the best I can come up with.

But hey, at least there’s that early morning London game on Sunday. So if you’re proceeding with a normal day of football watching, at least the shittiness is extended by three hours beyond the normal time commitment. Thanks, NFL!

Before we get into the week 7 picks, one quick note for you gamblers. Even though I always put the season-long stats at the end of this column, I felt it was important to highlight that favorites are now only 35-54-3 against the spread through six weeks (that’s a 39% cover rate). Even though you might think I’m telling you this so you know to go heavy on the underdogs, I’m actually warning you about the opposite. Some time soon, this is going to snap back and the favorites are going to rattle off a 12-3 type of week. I’m not sure when it’ll happen, but the key is to keep evaluating matchups like you normally do and not fall into the trap of thinking the underdogs are going to keep covering at this rate. Got it?

Here are the week 7 picks.

Teams on Bye: Carolina, Dallas

Chicago at Green Bay (-8) | over/under 46

The Pick: Chicago

The Score: Green Bay 23, Chicago 20

The Bets: Chicago (+8) / Chicago (+18) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Is it really as simple as betting against the Packers because basically their entire running back corps and secondary are out for this game?

Yes, yes it is.

Please don’t waste your time putting much thought into this game. Grab the Bears with the points and thank me on Friday. Even before all these injuries were announced, I didn’t feel like the Packers could beat anyone by more than a touchdown. This isn’t a favorite pick of mine just because it would be so like the Bears to find a way to lose to this Packers team by 10 or more, but there’s no logic to picking Green Bay until they prove they’re a capable NFL team.

NY Giants (-3) vs Los Angeles | over/under 43.5 (in London)

The Pick: Los Angeles

The Score: NY Giants 23, Los Angeles 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Oh cool, we get to be annoyed & embarrassed by Odell Beckham’s antics at 6:30 in the morning on Sunday! Can’t wait!

Listen, these are two crappy teams playing in London so it’s kind of hard to get a good read on this game. I’m passing on making any bet recommendations, but I will be rooting hard against my new least-favorite team in the NFL, the Giants.

New Orleans at Kansas City (-6.5) | over/under 50.5

The Pick: Kansas City

The Score: Kansas City 26, New Orleans 19

The Bets: Kansas City (-0.5) in a 2-way tease / Under (60.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

The Chiefs have been really tough to nail down. They’ve beat two teams in blowouts, lost once in a blowout, won a close game and lost a close game. I have no idea what their identity is through six weeks.

I don’t see how the Saints are going to win in Arrowhead, but I’m even more confident in teasing the under in this game. If you can get the under to 60.5, I’d consider that a lock. Even though the Chiefs and Chargers combined for 60 points in week 1, that was a very fluky game. Prior to that, the last time a Chiefs game went over 60.5 points was in week 15 of the 2013 season. Andy Reid doesn’t do shootouts, and with a fully healthy stable of running backs now, I’m certain Kansas City will do everything they can to keep the Saints offense on the sidelines.

Indianapolis at Tennessee (-3) | over/under 48.5

The Pick: Indianapolis

The Score: Tennessee 23, Indianapolis 22

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Games featuring two AFC South teams are turning into an automatic stayaway for me. When you’ve got such shitty, unreliable teams facing each other, how can you confidently predict how the game will play out? I think the Titans will win, but I have no idea if it’ll be low-scoring or high-scoring. The Colts haven’t played in a single game where the total ended up under 48 this year, and the Titans have only been in one game where the total was 48 or more. So good luck figuring this one out.

All I know is a third divisional loss for the Colts in less than a month will hopefully thrust Chuck Pagano back to the top of the “first coach fired” rankings…which I have a monetary interest in.

Minnesota (-3) at Philadelphia | over/under 40

The Pick: Minnesota

The Score: Minnesota 21, Philadelphia 17

The Bets: Under (50) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Minnesota (-3)

The Vikings have given up 12.6 points per game during their 5-0 start. Four of those games were against teams ranging from 10th to 18th in FootballOutsiders’ offensive efficiency rankings (the 5th game was against Houston, the 32nd ranked offense).

The Eagles come into this game ranked 16th in the offensive category. So I ask you, dear reader, how the hell is Philly going to put up more than two touchdowns on Sunday?

With the Eagles rolling out a top five defense themselves, doesn’t it feel like we should be betting the under even if it’s ridiculously low already?

If you’re interested in teasing this, good job by you. Neither team has played in a game yet where the total went over 50. That’s probably a pretty easy bet.

Cleveland at Cincinnati (-10) | over/under 45.5

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: Cincinnati 27, Cleveland 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Similar to the Bears/Packers game, it might be easiest just to grab the points and move on. After all, in what world should a 2-4 team be laying 10 points? That’s crazytown stuff right there.

The only concern I have is that we could see a monster A.J. Green performance against the Browns’ 30th ranked passing defense. And it’s starting to sound like Tyler Eifert could make his 2016 debut this week. I still have to grab the points in this scenario just because the Bengals have looked so bad and the Browns have played tight games against most of their opponents. But don’t be surprised if this is a “get right” game for Cincy and they win by 20.

Washington at Detroit (-1) | over/under 50

The Pick: Detroit

The Score: Detroit 25, Washington 23

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Something doesn’t smell right with this game. Either we put our faith in Washington and expect that we’re about to have two 5-win teams in the NFC East (Washington would move to 5-2 and Dallas is 5-1). Or we think the Lions are about to be 4-3 and could be in 2nd place in the NFC North by the end of the weekend. I hate both options.

I’m suspicious of the Skins on the road even though they’re 2-0 away from FedEx Field this year. I hate this game all together from a betting standpoint, but I’m thinking the Lions can give us a mini-surprise of winning this game by a couple points.

Oakland at Jacksonville (-1) | over/under 47

The Pick: Oakland

The Score: Oakland 19, Jacksonville 16

The Bets: Oakland (+1) / Oakland (+11) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Oakland (+1)

This will be Oakland’s fourth Eastern Time Zone game in seven weeks, and they’ve already won the first three. That’s an accomplishment as good as any for a West Coast team. Also keep in mind that they went toe-to-toe with the Falcons before ultimately losing by a touchdown to them in week 2. That loss doesn’t look very bad at this point. I point all this out because people have been very quick to say that the Raiders have gotten lucky all year while dismissing their accomplishments.

Sure, the Raiders are playing with fire when every game is close. But against really crappy teams, we can still expect them to win. And the Jaguars are a perfectly crappy team to help Oakland get back on track.

Buffalo (-3) at Miami | over/under 44

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Miami 20, Buffalo 16

The Bets: Miami (+13) in a 3-way tease / Under (54) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Miami (+3)

Nope. Not falling for this trap whatsoever. The Bills are 4-2, they’ve got the best point differential in the NFL, and they’ve won four in a row, including wins over Arizona and New England. They’re also facing the 2-4 Dolphins who many people consider to be one of the worst teams in the league.

But none of that matters this week. The Dolphins are going to win this game outright. First of all, the Bills are probably going to be without LeSean McCoy, and he’s their entire offense at this point. Secondly, the Bills simply aren’t good enough to be a 5-2 team after this week, and the Dolphins aren’t bad enough to be a 2-5 team. Both teams are due to come back towards a more average level of play.

And the Dolphins are finally healthy along the offensive line so they should be able to move the ball like they did last week in their big win against the Steelers.

And of course, the Bills have a HUGE game against the Patriots looming in week 8. You think there’s a team out there more prone to looking ahead and assuming they’ve got a win in their pocket than the Bills led by Rex Ryan? No chance.

Baltimore at NY Jets (-2) | over/under 40.5

The Pick: NY Jets

The Score: NY Jets 12, Baltimore 7

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

You want a bad football game? Try a Ryan Mallett vs Geno Smith matchup on for size. That’s what we’re looking at if Joe Flacco’s shoulder injury keeps him out on Sunday. The Vegas books initially had the Ravens favored by one point earlier this week, but with the Flacco news, the line has swung and made the Jets a favorite.

Geno Smith favored by two points against an actual NFL team? You bet.

If we find out on Friday or Saturday that Flacco is playing and is close to 100%, then go ahead and bet the Ravens (as long as the line doesn’t jump up to Baltimore -3 or higher). The Jets are a truly bad team so as long as there’s a warm body at QB for Baltimore, they should be the winner.

Tampa Bay (-1) at San Francisco | over/under 46.5

The Pick: San Francisco

The Score: San Francisco 23, Tampa Bay 16

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Well this is an absolute coin flip. Yes, the Bucs seem like the better team, but they’re missing Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson on offense. They’ve also been pretty unimpressive regardless of injuries this season. They’ve been able to win two divisional games, but in between those, they lost three in a row by a combined 58 points.

This might sound crazy but the 49ers actually have a better defense, running game and coaching than the Bucs right now. So I’ll grab the Niners and hope for the best.

San Diego at Atlanta (-6.5) | over/under 54

The Pick: San Diego

The Score: Atlanta 30, San Diego 24

The Bets: Over (44) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Who cares about betting the spread in this game when you can lock yourself into the over? In terms of the teased over of 44, keep in mind that in the 12 combined games these two teams have played in 2016, the final score has been less than 44 total points just twice—when each team faced the Broncos. So this feels as much of a lock as any bet out there this week.

And if you’re not into teasing, these teams have gone over that 54 threshold in seven of 12 games this year (throw out the two Denver games because of that awesome defense and you’ve got teams that play in games where the total goes into the mid-fifties 70% of the time).

New England (-7.5) at Pittsburgh | over/under 47

The Pick: New England

The Score: New England 30, Pittsburgh 17

The Bets: New England (-1.5 or +2.5) in a 2-way or 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with New England (-7.5)

As a Patriots fan I certainly don’t mind a much easier matchup with Roethlisberger out, but it definitely doesn’t help us get a feel for how they truly stack up with other Super Bowl contenders. Looks like we’ll have to wait until week 10 against Seattle for that test.

The Steelers already had some ugly losses when Roethlisberger was healthy, and now with Landry Jones taking over at quarterback, this game should be a slam dunk for New England. But the half part of “7.5” is really bothering me right now. The Steelers have a ton of talent on offense so isn’t there a possibility they keep the game relatively close? At least close enough for the backdoor cover if they’re down 14 points with just a couple minutes to go?

Can the Patriots really bring their streak to three straight games of demolishing an AFC North team? Actually, yeah I think they can. I understand if you’re staying away from the spread here, but I’m going to side with the Patriots and then tease them down to either -1.5 or +2.5.

Seattle at Arizona (-2) | over/under 43.5

The Pick: Arizona

The Score: Arizona 20, Seattle 17

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Picking this game gave me a headache. It was one of the toughest games to figure out in week 7. If you look at the way each team’s season has started, you’d obviously pick Seattle to win. But I’m not so sure the Seahawks are that much better when giving it a closer look. Arizona and Seattle have faced three common opponents this year and the results have been incredibly similar.

Seattle lost to the Rams in LA by six points while the Cardinals lost to the Rams at home by four points. Seattle then beat the 49ers at home by 19 points while the Cardinals beat the Niners by 12 points in San Francisco. And finally, Seattle went to New York and handled the Jets by 10 points while Arizona destroyed those same Jets at home by 25 points on Monday Night Football this past week.

Call me crazy, but those appear to be two very similar teams so I’ll go ahead and take Arizona since they’re giving less than a field goal at home, on a Sunday night, with a raucous crowd knowing that a win and their team would only be a half game out of 1st place in the NFC West.

Houston at Denver (-9) | over/under 41

The Pick: Denver

The Score: Denver 24, Houston 10

The Bets: Denver (-3 or +1) in a 2-way or 3-way tease / Under (51) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Denver (-9)

I haven’t been this excited about a pick since….well, since I recommended Pittsburgh over Philly in week 3. And that turned out to be a disaster. Lightning doesn’t strike twice, right?

When I looked at the lines on Monday, the Broncos were -7.5 and they were immediately my favorite pick of the week. Obviously they are a lot of other people’s favorite pick too since this line has jumped by 1.5 points.

But I’m undeterred by the line movement. The Texans might be the worst 4-2 team in NFL history. They’ve had to squeak out home wins against the Bears, Titans and Colts. They’ve been embarrassed on the road by the Patriots (with Jacoby Brissett as New England’s QB) and the Vikings.

They have the 32nd ranked offense in the league and they’re going up against the #4 defense. Their expensive QB, Brock Osweiler, is rated just a tiny bit above Ryan Tannehill and Ryan Fitzpatrick and a few spots below Pro Bowlers like Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles.

And the Broncos are playing this game on extra rest, on a two-game losing streak, and knowing they could be in 3rd place in their division with a loss. I don’t think they’re going to fuck around with this Texans team.

Here are the season-long stats I’m tracking:

  • Favorites are 35-54-3 against the spread (including a 4-9-2 record in week 6)
  • The point total has landed on Over 49 times, Under 41 times, and Pushed 2 times
  • I’m 48-42-3 against the spread

Enjoy week 7.

Week 6 NFL Picks & Finding the Great Games

cowboys-packers

I famously wrote back in early September how I’ve started to view the NFL as nothing more than my personal piggy bank. How the enjoyment I get out of watching football these days is almost entirely due to winning money on bets, in Pick ‘Em leagues or via fantasy leagues. How the mismanagement of the NFL and the continually questionable behaviors of many of its employees has taken the shine off the pure football watching.

But sometimes the football & scheduling gods shine down upon us and we get a truly intriguing weekend of games.

Welcome to week 6, where I believe we have four great matchups and three above average ones.

The above average ones, in my opinion, are:

  • Baltimore (3-2) at NY Giants (2-3) – Why is this game interesting? Because both teams expect to be competing for their respective division titles, and after solid starts (3-0 for the Ravens and 2-0 for the Giants), both come into this game on losing streaks and in danger of falling too far behind their division leaders. And because let’s just be honest and admit that Odell Beckham Jr. is always intriguing because he’s either going to make some ridiculous catches or have a complete meltdown. Either way it’s Can’t Miss TV.
  • Carolina (1-4) at New Orleans (1-3) – A couple of 1-win teams…why the hell would this be on my list? Because we’re all still wondering if the Panthers can turn things around, and this is truly their last stand. If they fall to 1-5 at the hands of the worst team in their division, it’s over. And because any game in the Superdome is immediately intriguing because 60 points will be scored one way or another.
  • Indianapolis (2-3) at Houston (3-2) – OK, this one probably won’t be very interesting from an aesthetic standpoint. It might actually cause you to go temporarily blind if you stare at this game for too long. But it’s interesting because 1st place in the AFC South is on the line, and when the winner of this division isn’t likely to top 8 wins, every divisional game is crucial.

And the four great matchups are:

  • Kansas City (2-2) at Oakland (4-1) – Obviously this is an AFC West matchup…a division that’s still wide open among the three good teams. Kansas City has gotten off to their usual slow start, and it might be too early to call this a must-win, but they fall behind Oakland by three games if they lose. And the Raiders are simply so much fun to watch right now. Everyone’s hyping this up as Oakland’s first real test, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they respond.
  • Philadelphia (3-1) at Washington (3-2) – The NFC East looks ultra competitive again this year, and the Redskins were the first team in that division who was written off after an 0-2 start. But they have a chance to make a big statement here by giving the Eagles their second straight loss. And if the Cowboys lose in Green Bay, the Redskins move into a virtual tie for 1st in the East. Or Philly could reestablish that they’re still the best bet in that division.
  • Dallas (4-1) at Green Bay (3-1) – Speaking of the Cowboys, they finally get to see how they stack up against one of the NFC’s contenders. The Packers need this game badly to stay on the heels of Minnesota, and the Cowboys are trying to stay ahead of the entire NFC East. And if these teams are both as good as they’ve looked through five weeks, they could also be determining playoff seeding  in this game. This is about as big as it gets for a week 6 game.
  • Atlanta (4-1) at Seattle (3-1) – And this final awesome NFC matchup looks similar to Dallas/Green Bay, but the difference is neither of these teams is in danger of falling out of 1st place with a loss. The stakes aren’t quite as high, but we could also be talking about this game in January when we see how the NFC playoff seeding shakes out. If Atlanta puts up the same record as the Seahawks, but they end up having to travel to Seattle for a playoff game because they lost in week 6, that’s going to be a rough ending to their season. So this one is still important for the hierarchy of the conference.

So there you have it. Some truly intriguing games from a pure spectator standpoint. But let’s move on to the money making.

Here are the week 6 picks.

Teams on Bye: Minnesota, Tampa Bay

Denver (-3.5) at San Diego | over/under 44.5

The Pick: San Diego

The Score: Denver 27, San Diego 24

The Bets: Over (34.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

So if you think the score of a game is likely to come in very close to the spread, make sure to check your pick ‘em league or the SuperContest and see if there’s a middle to be had. For example, last week my pick ‘em leagues on CBSsports.com and the SuperContest had the Sunday night game as Green Bay -6.5 vs the Giants, but on my betting website it was Green Bay -7.5. So I picked the Packers to cover in those leagues, but I bet the Giants on my website, and I hit the middle and won everything when the Giants lost by exactly 7.

My point is: I like the Chargers at +3.5, but I like the Broncos at -2.5. So I’ll be making bets and picks on a line-by-line basis for this one, and ultimately will hope the Broncos win by 3.

San Francisco at Buffalo (-8) | over/under 44

The Pick: Buffalo

The Score: Buffalo 29, San Francisco 20

The Bets: Buffalo (+2) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Remembering what David Johnson did to the 49ers last Thursday, it seems that a major San Francisco defensive weakness pairs nicely with Buffalo’s favorite thing to do on offense. I could see this getting out of hand somewhat quickly, and to me it doesn’t really matter that Colin Kaepernick is starting at QB for the Niners. In fact, that could very well help the Bills’ cause. Upon my initial review of the week 6 lines, nothing jumped out at me more quickly than getting the Bills into a two or three team teaser.

Philadelphia (-3) at Washington | over/under 45

The Pick: Philadelphia

The Score: Philadelphia 24, Washington 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I hate that this game hinges entirely on the health of Jordan Reed, and we probably won’t have clarity on his playing status until Saturday (long after this column is posted, picks are due, etc).

Before I knew he was in the concussion protocol, my assessment of these NFC East rivals was that the Eagles should win this game by exactly two points. But since teams seem to be erring on the side of caution with injuries now, I bet the Skins hold their star tight end out, and that means the Eagles cover the spread. Too bad for Washington as this could have been a huge statement game for them.

Also, don’t go thinking this is the easy over that it looks like. Both teams have a worse run defense than pass defense, and I don’t think the Eagles are the 30-pt juggernaut that they looked like vs Cleveland and Pittsburgh earlier this year. I think they’re more like the 23-26 points per game team that they were last Sunday in Detroit.

Cleveland at Tennessee (-7) | over/under 43.5

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: Tennessee 20, Cleveland 15

The Bets: Under (43.5) / Under (53.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Serious question: Do you think the Browns would be competitive in the AFC South this year? I do. And that tells you everything you need to know about the AFC South.

While you couldn’t force me to put money on either team in this game, I do think the line is too high. It’s an overreaction because everyone saw the Browns lose by 20 to the Patriots while suffering another quarterback injury. But the Titans, by rule, don’t blow out any teams this side of the Dolphins.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Vegas is projecting Tennessee for 25 points and that’s why I like the under, especially teased.

Baltimore at NY Giants (-3) | over/under 44.5

The Pick: Baltimore

The Score: NY Giants 21, Baltimore 20

The Bets: Under (54.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

So now the Giants, who were talked up in a big way after their 2-0 start, are in danger of falling to 2-4 and disappointing even the most tepid expectations from their fanbase. I kinda like them in this desperation mode, and I don’t think Baltimore’s offense can take advantage of the Giants’ suspect pass defense. Should be a close, ugly, low-scoring game…and the teased under is one of my favorite bets of the week.

Carolina (-3) at New Orleans | over/under 53.5

The Pick: New Orleans

The Score: New Orleans 29, Carolina 26

The Bets: Over (43.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with New Orleans (+3)

If football made sense, there’s no way you’d ever take the Panthers giving a field goal on the road, on a short week, with the Saints coming off a bye, and with Carolina looking piss poor all season but especially at home vs Tampa on Monday night (yes, I know Cam Newton was out, but still).

You know what? Sometimes football does make sense, and I hope this is one of those times. If Drew Brees can just avoid becoming a turnover machine in the 4th quarter, the Saints should be able to match points with Carolina. Give me the home underdog, and of course, since it’s a game in the Superdome, give me the over.

Jacksonville at Chicago (-3) | over/under 46

The Pick: Jacksonville

The Score: Jacksonville 23, Chicago 20

The Bets: Under (56) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Tough couple of teams to expect the expected to happen.

This is strange: The Bears are projected to put up 25 points according to the spread and total, but they’re averaging just 17 points per game. How are they supposed to put up eight more points than usual when they’re facing the 10th best defense in the league? (according to FootballOutsiders)

With Hoyer the Bears are up to 18 points per game over their last three games…big jump in production there.

I still think the Jaguars have enough talent to get to six wins even if they have a bad coach, a bad QB and some bad luck. The Bears are looking more like a three-win team.

Los Angeles at Detroit (-3) | over/under 43.5

The Pick: Detroit

The Score: Detroit 23, Los Angeles 18

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I can’t begin to tell you how little interest I have in watching this game, let alone making predictions for it. I’m going with Detroit, just barely, because Trumaine Johnson is out with an injury for the Rams, and he’s a major piece in their secondary. And also because Jeff Fisher must be dying to get back to a comfortable 3-3 record.

Pittsburgh (-8.5) at Miami | over/under 48

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Pittsburgh 26, Miami 21

The Bets: Pittsburgh (-2.5 or +1.5) in a 2-way or 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

It took some time to figure this out last year too…The Steelers offense is a shell of itself on the road. But you gotta keep in mind that this Miami team just lost by 13 to the Titans, in Miami. Their only other home game so far was the ridiculously lucky overtime win against the Browns. So the Steelers teased is still a lock.

Looking back on the games from last year that Ben Roethlisberger was healthy for, the Steelers scored just under 26 points per game on the road, which is a touchdown lower than their 33 points per game average at home.

The Steelers are worse on pass defense than run defense, so this game probably falls on Ryan Tannehill’s sagging shoulders…good luck with that.

My one teeny tiny concern for Pittsburgh: Could this be a trap game where they’re looking ahead to a HUGE showdown against the Patriots next week?

Cincinnati at New England (-9.5) | over/under 47

The Pick: New England

The Score: New England 34, Cincinnati 23

The Bets: New England (+0.5) in a 3-way tease / Over 47 / Over 37 in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with New England (-9.5)

I think we have a rare opportunity to capitalize on the Patriots while they’re at nearly full health. This team is pretty much unstoppable as long as they have the full arsenal of offensive skill position players along with a really solid offensive line. But when injuries come, that’s when winning ugly will be back in play. For now, ride them at home against a mediocre team (Tom Brady’s first game back home). And jump on it now before public pushes it up beyond 10.

As for the bets I listed, remember that the Patriots are 28-3 in their last 31 home games when Brady plays. They will at least win this game outright. And New England averages over 30 points per game at home every single year. If you’re worried that the Bengals’ offense may not show up, put the over into a 3-way teaser. But I think you can confidently expect over 50 points in this game.

Kansas City at Oakland (-1) | over/under 47

The Pick: Oakland

The Score: Oakland 27, Kansas City 20

The Bets: Oakland (-1) / Oakland (+9) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Oakland (-1)

I think this line is too low. The Chiefs’ 2-2 start is particularly unimpressive. An overtime win at home against San Diego and a beat down of the Jets at home when Ryan Fitzpatrick threw six interceptions (somehow the Chiefs only put up 24 points in a game where the opponent gave them the ball six extra times). An ugly loss at Houston that looks worse now, and not showing up in Pittsburgh when the Steelers pummeled them.

The Chiefs come into this game with a good defense and a rested team after last week’s bye. So I’m not saying this will be the easiest game for the Raiders. And in fact, Oakland has played noticeably worse against the two good defenses they’ve faced this year—Tennessee and Baltimore—compared to their games against New Orleans, Tampa Bay, etc.

But as I crunched the numbers, I was baffled at how the Chiefs are supposed to keep up with the Raiders. Even if KC puts on a solid defensive performance, I still see Oakland getting to 24-27 points, and the problem with the Chiefs is that their offense sucks. I can’t picture their current offense getting past 20.

Atlanta at Seattle (-6.5) | over/under 46

The Pick: Seattle

The Score: Seattle 28, Atlanta 20

The Bets: Seattle (-0.5 or +3.5) in a 2-way or 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Seattle (-6.5)

I really don’t see the Falcons as a 5-1 team and the class of the NFC, and I highly recommend that if you don’t think Atlanta can win outright in this one, you go with Seattle (or stay away entirely).

Atlanta was consistently dropping 35+ points on teams to start the year, right up until they faced a good defense for the first time. That number dropped to 23 points last week in a big win for the Falcons in Denver. Obviously, Seattle’s defense is much more in line with the Broncos than the Bucs/Raiders/Saints/Panthers quartet that Atlanta got to feast on in the first month of the season. And sure, Atlanta’s defense looked real good for a change against Denver, but remember they were facing Paxton Lynch in his first start, and I have to imagine a lot of the offensive problems for Denver stemmed from that.

Seattle, meanwhile, seemed to be finding its offensive groove before last week’s bye, putting up 37 points on San Francisco at home in week 3 before adding 27 against the Jets in New York. I think we essentially see Seattle throw its hat into the ring this weekend as the only other NFC team on Minnesota’s level.

Dallas at Green Bay (-4.5) | over/under 47.5

The Pick: Green Bay

The Score: Green Bay 28, Dallas 20

The Bets: Green Bay ( Pick or +5.5) in a 2-way or 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Green Bay (-4.5)

The Cowboys are so incredibly predictable on offense. Using FootballOutsiders’ defensive DVOA rankings, all five defenses the Cowboys have faced fall between the 16th best defense and the 23rd best defense. And they have scored 19, 24, 31, 28 and 27 points in their five games. They haven’t had any huge games, and they haven’t had any no-shows. Since Green Bay is clearly the best defense the Cowboys will have faced after this week, I’m pegging them for right around 20 points.

The Packers get the chance to take down NFC East teams in back to back weeks. Dallas’ problem is going to be Green Bay’s awesome run defense. The Packers haven’t allowed an opponent to rush for more than 50 yards in a game yet. So this one really is all on Dak Prescott (or the Cowboys could run on the Packers all day long and we’ll know that the O-line / Zeke Elliott combination is truly unstoppable). Similar to my rationale with Atlanta, I don’t see the Cowboys as a 5-1 team, and I think Dallas loses similar to how the Giants lost in Lambeau this past Sunday night.

Indianapolis at Houston (-3) | over/under 48.5

The Pick: Indianapolis

The Score: Indianapolis 23, Houston 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Part of the difficulty with this game is that the Colts have only played one true road game so far, a 34-20 loss at Denver. We don’t know how much worse they are on the road versus at home.

Either way, this game is a complete stayaway for me. I’m picking the Colts because there’s a chance Houston’s last-ranked offense is the worst unit in all of football, and because it would make sense that this whole division basically evens out after this week.

NY Jets at Arizona (-7.5) | over/under 47

The Pick: Arizona

The Score: Arizona 27, NY Jets 17

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

The once mighty defense of the Jets has fallen all the way to 30th in the league. While their run defense continues to be great (3rd best in the NFL), their pass defense is the worst in the league.

The Cardinals finally looked good last week because David Johnson took over the offense and bludgeoned San Francisco up and down the field. But what if he can’t do that effectively against the Jets? Are we super comfortable with Carson Palmer at this point, even if it’s against the worst pass defense on the planet?

I’m reluctantly taking the Cardinals because Ryan Fitzpatrick just played an interception-free game last week, he won’t do it again, and Arizona’s ball-hawking secondary will make him pay.

Here are the season-long stats I’m tracking:

  • Favorites are 31-45-1 against the spread
  • The point total has landed on Over 40 times, Under 35 times and Pushed 2 times
  • I’m 40-37 against the spread

Enjoy week 6.

Week 5 NFL Picks & a Happy October to All

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It really is the best time of the year for a sports fan. The 2nd month of the NFL & college football seasons have begun. October baseball has already shown up in a HUGE way with dramatic Wildcard games from each league earlier this week. We’re less than a week away from the NHL regular season starting, and under 20 days to go until the NBA tips off.

Apologies to the month of April—who many argue is the best sports month because we get NBA, NHL, the end of March Madness, the start of baseball, and The Masters—but not having the NFL going on during that month is an automatic disqualifier.

So be sure to warn your significant other that it’s not just Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays that you have to be parked in front of TVs. Every day brings a valid excuse not to spend quality time with your loved ones for the rest of this month. Enjoy it because soon enough the holidays will be here and there will be more family time than you know what to do with.

Let’s dive into the week 5 games.

Teams on a Bye Week: Seattle, New Orleans, Kansas City, Jacksonville

Arizona (-3.5) at San Francisco | over/under 42

The Pick: Arizona

The Score: Arizona 23, San Francisco 9

The Bets: Under (52) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

The way this works is: Everyone found out on Wednesday that Carson Palmer’s out and Drew Stanton will start in his place on Thursday. Then the retweets started circulating with stats to show how awful Stanton has been recently and over the course of his career. By Thursday afternoon, everyone will have jumped on the 49ers noting how +3.5 is such a great number, and they’re in a good spot at home, on a short week, with the opponent’s backup QB starting.

But we’re all gonna walk away from this game reminding ourselves that the 49ers are really crappy and the Cardinals on a bad day are still a lot better.

Let’s say Stanton somehow leads the Arizona offense to a 30-point output on Thursday night, wouldn’t this situation be ripe for a QB controversy? Wouldn’t there be an instant groundswell of people wanting to see more of the Stanton offense and less of the Palmer-over-his-last-10-games offense? I believe this comment is ground zero for stirring up the pot in Arizona. Would like to see it go viral.

New England (-11.5) at Cleveland | over/under 46.5

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: New England 27, Cleveland 17

The Bets: New England (-1.5) in a 3-way tease / Cleveland (+21.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

This line is absolutely ludicrous. And though I know how big of a collective idiot the betting public is, I’m still shocked that they’re clearly taking the bet and backing New England. This line opened at New England -7.5, has climbed to -10 or -10.5 in the pro books, and the public has taken it all the way to the current, ridiculous line.

Honestly, why wouldn’t you include the Browns in a 3-way tease where you get them at +21.5? If you can get any NFL team at +21.5, you automatically do it.

Philadelphia (-3) at Detroit | over/under 46

The Pick: Philadelphia

The Score: Philadelphia 27, Detroit 17

The Bets: Philadelphia (-3)

SuperContest: Yes with Philadelphia (-3)

I haven’t been this confused by a line in a long time.

In three games, the Eagles put up: 29 points (on the 25th ranked defense, Cleveland), 29 points (on Chicago, 17th) and 34 points (on Pittsburgh, 18th). The Lions happen to be the 32nd best defense…dead last. The Eagles are coming off a bye.

And somehow Philly’s only expected to put up 24 points?

I say they get to at least 27, and since Philly also has a top five defense so far, I think they hold Detroit to 17ish and easily cover the tiny spread.

Chicago at Indianapolis (-4.5) | over/under 48

The Pick: Chicago

The Score: Chicago 21, Indianapolis 18

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

So here’s where I’m really confused: Last week Chicago put up all of 17 points at home against Detroit, the worst defense in the NFL according to FootballOutsiders. By doing that, the Bears offensive efficiency–again, according to FootballOutsiders–jumped 10 spots from 29th ranked to 19th. Since I always lob in DVOA stuff when it supports my arguments, I felt obligated to show you an example where it seems to make no sense.

Anyway, if this Bears team was literally any other team, I’d love to bet them straight up with confidence. The Colts are the first team in NFL history to have a game scheduled the week following a game in London. No bye for them. These past 10 days were probably pretty grueling and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a solid amount of laziness from them on Sunday.

But can the Bears really take advantage of all that? That’s the million dollar question. Ultimately I’m picking the Bears purely because I think Vegas is going to need them to cover and I’d rather be on the side of Vegas in this particular situation.

Tennessee at Miami (-3.5) | over/under 43.5

The Pick: Tennessee

The Score: Miami 16, Tennessee 13

The Bets: Under (43.5) / Under 53.5 in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

You wanna take the easy way out on this crappy game and just assume Miami being distracted all week by a gigantic fucking hurricane heading their way is setting them up to be wholly unprepared for this game? Yeah? Me too.

By the way, the under is pretty much a lock.

Washington at Baltimore (-4) | over/under 45

The Pick: Washington

The Score: Washington 26, Baltimore 24

The Bets: Washington (+14) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Pumping the brakes on this Ravens resurgence is just about the easiest thing to do. Their opening schedule looks even more laughable than it did four weeks ago. And their week 3 game against Oakland–a 28-27 Raiders win–seems more representative of how this one should play out against Washington.

Even if you’re confident that the Ravens are better, they’re just not the type of team that’ll be blowing opponents out this year. You can take the Washington +14 to the bank (where they’ll promptly tell you that they don’t cash sports bets and send you away).

Houston at Minnesota (-6.5) | over/under 40.5

The Pick: Houston

The Score: Minnesota 20, Houston 15

The Bets: Minnesota (-0.5) in a 2-way tease / Under (40.5) / Under (50.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

As my podcast partner Maty Sugs continues to rise from his untimely gambling death last week, he pointed out to me that Houston has scored five offensive touchdowns on the year, while the Vikings have gotten into the endzone six times (ranking them 32nd and 31st in the NFL, respectively). If you tease this under to 50.5, you’re forcing these teams to combine for 7+ touchdowns. That feels like a near impossibility. Go ahead and tease the under.

And yeah, the Vikings should move to 5-0 so I’m putting them into a 2-way tease.

NY Jets at Pittsburgh (-7.5) | over/under 48

The Pick: Pittsburgh

The Score: Pittsburgh 30, NY Jets 17

The Bets: Pittsburgh (-1.5) in a 2-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Pittsburgh (-7.5)

I don’t care if this is an obvious spot for the Jets to surprise everyone and play a competitive game. I can’t possibly pick them because Ryan Fitzpatrick has a 4/10 touchdown to interception ratio, a quarterback rating of 57.6 and a completion percentage of 55.8 (and drops to 51.6 if you take out the one game where they faced a below average defense).

I joked on this week’s Teasy Money Podcast that we might see a 70-0 beatdown by the Steelers. But realistically I think it’s your run-of-the-mill blowout, something in the range of a 14-point win for Pittsburgh.

I’m unwilling to touch the over/under, and I don’t see why I’d bet Pitt at -7.5 when I can get them in a teaser.

Atlanta at Denver (-6) | over/under 47

The Pick: Atlanta

The Score: Denver 30, Atlanta 27

The Bets: Over (47) / Over (37) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Of the five games this weekend where both teams are 2-2 or better, this should be the most fun one to watch. That’s because rather than Denver’s defense completely shutting down Atlanta on their way to a low-scoring win, I’m hopeful this will go the other way and Denver will have to put up 30 to just barely squeeze by the Falcons. Maybe I’ve been roped into another moment where Atlanta will pull the rug out from under me, but I think they can slowly wear down Denver and find some weak spots.

I can see why you’d think this will be on the lower scoring side, but I have a gut feeling on the other side. Bet the over, stay away from choosing either team.

Cincinnati (-1.5) at Dallas | over/under 45

The Pick: Dallas

The Score: Dallas 24, Cincinnati 19

The Bets: Dallas (+7.5) in a 2-way tease / Dallas (+11.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

I initially expected a tight game with Cincy winning, but upon further review I think Dallas is actually the better team. The Bengals have played uninspiring offense outside of a couple big A.J. Green games. And now with Tyler Eifert reportedly having a setback in the form of a back injury, I don’t see the offense turning a major corner anytime soon.

And Dallas really feels like a team built not to suffer any blowout so I love teasing them in case they play a little worse than I’m expecting.

Buffalo at Los Angeles (-3) | over/under 40

The Pick: Buffalo

The Score: Buffalo 21, Los Angeles 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: Yes with Buffalo (+3)

These two teams appear to be doing the exact opposite of what we expected going into the season. Yeah, the Bills at 2-2 aren’t a major surprise, but common sense would have had them beating Baltimore & the Jets and losing to Arizona & New England. But they went opposite on us. And the Rams are 3-1 while I absolutely expected a 1-3 start with them only beating the 49ers (they one team they’ve actually lost to).

Since I don’t find any excitement in either team and I have no interest in betting on this game, that analysis is good enough for me. Since the Rams should win this game, I’m going with Buffalo.

San Diego at Oakland (-4) | over/under 50

The Pick: San Diego

The Score: Oakland 28, San Diego 26

The Bets: San Diego (+10) in a 2-way tease / Over (44 or 40) in a 2-way or 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with San Diego (+4)

This game is really simple. Of their combined eight games played so far, only one has been decided by more than a touchdown (a Chargers win over the Jaguars in week 2). So you can count on another close game. If betting San Diego straight up at +4 worries you a little, then I suggest you tease them to +10/+14 or tease Oakland to +6, because you know this game isn’t ending in a blowout.

It also feels like teasing the over down to 40 in this game is a great move because the non-teased over has hit in three out of four games for each team so far.

And finally, congrats to Oakland for getting through an opening month that saw them play three road games in the Eastern time zone and win all three. That’s quite the feat.

 

NY Giants at Green Bay (-7.5) | over/under 48

The Pick: NY Giants

The Score: Green Bay 26, NY Giants 21

The Bets: Green Bay (-1.5) in a 2-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with NY Giants (+7.5)

Well would ya look at that? It seems the public has gone ahead and driven the Packers up to a stupid number once again. What an easy game to dissect as a professional bettor. The Giants just looked like dogshit on national TV on Monday night (recency bias!) and the Packers are irresistible to the masses especially when coming off a bye.

But what I see is a team not quite as good as Minnesota facing a now-desperate Giants team. And at the very least, if I bet the Giants now, the backdoor cover is totally in play. Seems like an easy choice.

My only hesitation is that the Giants have the most thin-skinned player in the NFL on their team and he might just do something dumb enough to swing this entire game. Wildcard behavior is never good when gambling.

Tampa Bay at Carolina (-6.5) | No current over/under

The Pick: Carolina

The Score: Carolina 27, Tampa Bay 17

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

This is the second week in a row where a game still doesn’t have a point total as of Thursday afternoon. That’s wild.

Obviously we’re waiting on news regarding Cam Newton’s health. It looks like he missed practice on Wednesday while dealing with concussion symptoms. Lucky for Carolina, this is a Monday night game so they have an extra day to figure things out.

But I don’t get extra time to figure it out. And that’s fine because I couldn’t make sense out of these two teams if you gave me a month to do research. I’m just going to assume that Sunday night’s game between the Giants and Packers will be exciting & competitive, and you know how the NFL works…we can’t possibly have back-to-back good games in Primetime. So that’s the only reason I’m picking the Panthers by double digits. Please don’t follow my advice on this one.

Here are the season-long stats I’m tracking:

  • Favorites are 26-36-1 against the spread
  • The point total has landed on Over 33 times, Under 28 times and Pushed 2 times
  • I’m 31-32 against the spread

Enjoy week 5.