My Rapid Fire Week 12 NFL Picks

turkey football.jpg

In the spirit of giving thanks, let’s all be thankful that 25 NFL teams still realistically have a shot at the playoffs. Seriously, check out where things stand in each division going into week 12:

  • AFC East: 3 teams separated by 3 games for the division lead
  • AFC North: 3 teams separated by 1.5 games for the division lead
  • AFC South: 3 teams separated by 1.5 games for the division lead
  • AFC West: 3 teams separated by 1 game for the division lead
  • NFC East: 4 teams separated by 4 games for the division lead
  • NFC North: 3 teams separated by 2 games for the division lead
  • NFC South: 4 teams separated by 2 games for the division lead
  • NFC West: 2 teams separated by 3 games for the division lead

And also be thankful that I’m giving you a lot of my week 12 picks in rapid fire mode. A little less reading for you during this busy week.

Here are the week 12 picks.

Minnesota at Detroit (-3) | over/under 43

The Pick: Minnesota

The Score: Detroit 21, Minnesota 20

The Bets: Under (53) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Welcome to the battle for 1st place in the NFC North.

Sure, you can be gun shy with the Vikings and the under after 54 points were scored in their matchup against Arizona last week. But I’d much rather rely on the nine previous weeks where the Vikings game would not have exceeded the teased over here. Minnesota’s defense is good enough to make this an ugly game, but I don’t think it’s smart to pick a side on the point spread here.

Washington at Dallas (-7) | over/under 51

The Pick: Washington

The Score: Dallas 27, Washington 21

The Bets: Under (61) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

It’s amazing that with how good the Cowboys have been this year, a Redskins win on Thanksgiving would put them just 1.5 games out of first place in the East. But Washington going on the road on a short week against the best team in the NFC doesn’t feel like a win.

Washington goes into week 12 with the 4th worst run defense in the league…is that enough alone to pick Dallas and assume they will do whatever they please on offense?

Probably not because the Cowboys are still only OK on defense (they gave up 23 points to Philly in week 8, for example).

Both teams should be able to control the ball, convert lots of 3rd downs, and methodically move the ball down field. I think Dallas will do its normal thing on offense, and Washington won’t be able to make huge plays like they did against Green Bay on Sunday night. So I actually like the under here.

Pittsburgh (-9) at Indianapolis | over/under 47.5

The Pick: Pittsburgh

The Score: Pittsburgh 27, Indianapolis 16

The Bets: Pittsburgh (+1) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

You might think I’m exaggerating, but Indy basically turns into the 0-11 Browns without Andrew Luck. They already have a worse defense than Cleveland, and it’s not an exaggeration to think their 15th ranked offense drops 10-12 spots as Scott Tolzien takes over.

I can’t believe I’m backing the Steelers on the road, but if they were ever going to blow out an opponent they absolutely should be blowing out, this would be the game.

Cincinnati at Baltimore (-4.5) | over/under 40.5

The Pick: Baltimore

The Score: Baltimore 21, Cincinnati 15

The Bets: Baltimore (+5.5) in a 3-way tease / Under (40.5) / Under (50.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Baltimore (-4.5)

How in the hell are the Bengals even expected to crack 18 points? I know they’re an NFL team and by default they should be able to put up about 20, but this offense already sucked enough, and now AJ Green & Gio Bernard are out. Oh, and the Ravens are still a top 5 defense even after losing by 10 in Dallas last week.

Cincy put up 12 at home against the Bills last week. They put up only 17 at New England in week 6, 14 at Dallas in week 5, 16 at Pittsburgh in week 2, and 23 at the Jets in week 1. All of those defenses absolutely suck compared to the Ravens.

The teased under and the Ravens (teased and straight up) feel like absolute locks this week.

Los Angeles at New Orleans (-7) | over/under 46

The Pick: New Orleans

The Score: New Orleans 27, Los Angeles 19

The Bets: New Orleans (+3) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Usually we grab the over in a Saints home game and don’t think twice, but Drew Brees’ offense put up only 23 points at home against the Broncos in week 10 as well as 25 points against Seattle in week 8. The Rams’ defense is a little worse than those two teams, so maybe New Orleans gets close to 30 points. That doesn’t help me come to terms with the fact that LA will probably need to put up 17+ points for this game to go over. I’m staying away from the point total and instead teasing the Saints to +3. Feels like a great move.

Arizona at Atlanta (-4.5) | over/under 50.5

The Pick: Atlanta

The Score: Atlanta 30, Arizona 24

The Bets: Atlanta (+5.5) in a 3-way tease / Over (40.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

The Cardinals defense has split personalities this year, and it’s all based on whether they’re at home or on the road.

At home, they’ve looked like the #4 defense that FootballOutsiders.com currently has them ranked at. They’ve given up 12.7 points per game in the Cardinals’ Nest. (Is that what they call their stadium or did I make that up?)

But on the road, they’re allowing 28.5 points per game.

Night and day.

Not to mention they’re facing the #1 offense in all of football…an offense that’s coming off a bye week.

San Francisco at Miami (-7.5) | over/under 45.5

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Miami 31, San Francisco 17

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

SuperContest: No

All of my confidence on the Dolphins and them blowing out the Niners is based on Branden Albert and/or Laremy Tunsil coming back to make Miami’s offensive line good again. If they still have significant injuries on the line, I’m staying away entirely.

It feels like the perfect situation for San Francisco to not show up whatsoever.

Jacksonville at Buffalo (-7.5) | over/under 45

The Pick: Buffalo

The Score: Buffalo 28, Jacksonville 17

The Bets: Buffalo (+2.5) in a 3-way tease

Supercontest: Yes with Buffalo (-7.5)

Blake Bortles is #28 in passer rating, #26 in FootballOutsiders’ QB efficiency metric, 31st in yards per attempt and 27th in completion percentage. So he’s a rich man’s Brock Osweiler.

It feels really weird that the Dolphins and Bills are both still in playoff contention, are both giving more than a touchdown this week, and I’m strongly considering picking both of them.

Strange times indeed.

Tennessee (-5.5) at Chicago | over/under 42.5

The Pick: Tennessee

The Score: Tennessee 23, Chicago 17

The Bets: None

Supercontest: No

Vegas is saying that downgrading from Jay Cutler to Matt Barkley will cost the Bears 3.5 points.

Here’s what’s weird about the Titans: In road games this year, they’ve put up very few points against the worst defenses in the league—16 at Detroit (last in defensive DVOA), 17 at Indianapolis (2nd to last in defensive DVOA)—but they’ve had monster games against solid defenses like scoring 30 at 7th ranked Miami and 35 at 10th ranked San Diego.

So maybe their offense plays down to its competition? If that’s the case, it’ll be a mediocre offensive showing against the average Bears defense.

Considering the Bears have scored more than 20 points just once this season, you really can’t expect them to surprise us with a win on Sunday.

NY Giants (-7) at Cleveland | over/under 44

The Pick: NY Giants

The Score: NY Giants 26, Cleveland 12

The Bets: NY Giants (-7) / NY Giants (-1) in a 2-way tease / Under (54) in a 3-way tease

Supercontest: Yes with Giants (-7)

You know what? I was set to write, “If you actually bet this game, you’re a crazy person.” Because the feeling was that the Giant are due to blow a game, the Browns are due to win one surprising game, so why not this one?

Because the Bengals have inadvertently volunteered to be the team that Cleveland beats. Cincy hosts the Browns in week 14. The Bengals will be without Green & Bernard, and the Browns will be coming off a bye. And since this has become the season where everything goes wrong for Marvin Lewis’ team, they are absolutely losing that game.

So breathe easy, Giants fans. Someone else is gonna help Cleveland break their losing streak.

San Diego (-1) at Houston | over/under 46.5

The Pick: San Diego

The Score: San Diego 22, Houston 21

The Bets: None

Supercontest: No

On the one hand, Brock Osweiler looked like his typical horrible self on Monday night against Oakland. On the other hand, the awful refereeing cost the Texans 7-10 points in that game.

As reluctant as I am to go against the 5-0 home game magic the Texans have going on, I’m picking the Chargers because they’ve lost so many games they deserved to win this year while Houston has won several games they should have lost.

Seattle (-6) at Tampa Bay | over/under 45

The Pick: Tampa Bay

The Score: Seattle 26, Tampa Bay 23

The Bets: None

Supercontest: No

Even though I’m not betting it, I really think I nailed this game. The Bucs are good enough to make this competitive, but the Seahawks are doing their usual “round into form in the second half of the season.” My only concern is that Mike Evans is basically Tampa’s only viable receiver and the Seattle secondary could essentially eliminate him from the game.

New England (-9) at NY Jets | over/under 47.5

The Pick: New England

The Score: New England 38, NY Jets 20

The Bets: New England (+1) in a 3-way tease / Over (37.5) in a 3-way tease

Supercontest: Yes with New England (-9)

This matchup can’t get much worse for the Jets. You think New England’s #1 ranked passing offense is gonna enjoy the Jets 30th ranked pass defense? Obviously a healthy Rob Gronkowski is crucial for a long playoff run for the Patriots, but in this type of game his (possible) absence doesn’t change the probable outcome. New England has so many weapons on offense, with Dion Lewis’ return in week 11 alongside Malcolm Mitchell’s mini breakout game as further proof that they have the deepest offense in the league.

Carolina at Oakland (-3.5) | over/under 49.5

The Pick: Carolina

The Score: Oakland 30, Carolina 28

The Bets: Over (39.5) in a 3-way tease

Supercontest: No

I was ready to pick this as a sneaky crazy upset until I realized Luke Kuechly is obviously out for the Panthers. With the Raiders escaping Mexico City with a win on Monday night and Carolina being on extra rest and back in the mix for the NFC South title, I think they’ll play Oakland a lot tighter than you’re probably thinking.

Bank on the over and nothing else in this one.

Kansas City at Denver (-3) | over/under 39.5

The Pick: Denver

The Score: Denver 20, Kansas City 15

The Bets: Under (49.5) in a 3-way tease

Supercontest: No

Even though both teams have struggled running the ball this season, they each get to face defenses this week who struggle to stop the run. I think these division rivals will be terrified to throw the ball into the teeth of each other’s very good defenses so this will play out as a boring run-oriented game.

Green Bay at Philadelphia (-3.5) | over/under 47.5

The Pick: Philadelphia

The Score: Philadelphia 25, Green Bay 17

The Bets: Philadelphia (-3.5)

Supercontest: Yes with Philadelphia (-3.5)

So the Eagles are 4-0 at home this year and their smallest victory was by 9 points. That was against the Falcons. Their other home wins were against the Vikings, Steelers and Browns. Three of those four opponents are better than the Packers. It feels really easy to take Philly in this game.

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

  • Favorites are 66-87-8 against the spread through 11 weeks (including 8-5-1 in week 11)
  • The Point Total has landed on Over 81 times, Under 77 times, and Pushed 3 times
  • I’m 84-72-5 against the spread

Enjoy Thanksgiving and week 12.

Advertisements

My Heroic Week 11 NFL Picks

AP PACKERS REDSKINS FOOTBALL S FBN USA MD

When looking up the definition of the word hero, you see phrases like “someone who is admired for courage” and “a person of superhuman qualities.”

So am I a hero for still pumping out a world class NFL blog and podcast (listen on iTunes!) in the same week that I started a grueling new job while also being more ill than I’ve been in the past five years?

That’s for you to decide. But in a word: Yes. When historians look back on week 11 of the 2016 NFL season, they’ll talk at length about my heroic efforts to perform in the face of incredible adversity.

If I had to give an unexaggerated estimate, I’d say that a normal week this season saw me researching my picks for roughly 10 hours, and this week I’d put it closer to one hour.

Maybe that’s what I needed. A “don’t overthink it” sort of week after suffering through my worst set of picks of the year last week.

Let’s cut to the chase and dive into the week 11 picks.

Teams on Bye: Atlanta, Denver, NY Jets, San Diego

New Orleans at Carolina (-3.5) | over/under 53.5

The Pick: New Orleans

The Score: Carolina 25, New Orleans 24

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Considering how the NFC South has been tightening up a bit over the last few weeks, the ending of the Saints/Broncos from week 10 looms LARGE. Make the extra point, and the Saints are looking at only a half game deficit for the division lead going into week 11. Get the extra point blocked, returned for two points by Denver (adding in the fact that the Broncos player who ran the ball back may have stepped out of bounds), and now the Saints are 1.5 games behind the Falcons.

The Thursday night factor is definitely keeping me away from betting this, but I’ll bite on the extra half point and assume this is a very close win for the Panthers (who are unofficially eliminated from playoff contention, but officially fighting to help Ron Rivera keep his job).

(Note: I wrote all of that before Carolina won 23-20 on Thursday night. Just didn’t get a chance to publish this until Friday. Looks like I’m spot on in my 1st prediction of the week.)

Pittsburgh (-9) at Cleveland | over/under 46

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 24

The Bets: Cleveland (+19) in a 3-way tease / Over (36) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Pittsburgh on the road. Pittsburgh on the road. Pittsburgh on the road. Just keep repeating that if you get tempted by any sort of bet or teaser on the Steelers this week.

The perfect Pittsburgh script was supposed to be a big win at home against Dallas followed up by the most incredible letdown game against the 0-10 Browns. But now the Steelers are fighting for their playoff lives so you’d think that would short circuit any chance of them overlooking Cleveland. But don’t put anything past a Mike Tomlin team.

And I think all Browns fans would call Hue Jackson’s first season as head coach a success if they go 1-15 but the one win cripples their division rival’s chances of playing in January.

I think the Browns will come up just short.

Baltimore at Dallas (-7) | over/under 45

The Pick: Dallas

The Score: Dallas 26, Baltimore 17

The Bets: Dallas (-1 or +3) in a 2-way or 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Dallas (-7)

Remember when the Cowboys went into Green Bay and smart people like me thought the vaunted Packers run defense would slow down Zeke & Pals? The Packers had the best run D in the league at the time, and Elliott went ahead and ran for more than 150 yards.

I bring this up because the Ravens currently have the best run D in football according to FootballOutsiders.com. I’m no longer convinced the Cowboys offense can be slowed down by anyone.

Baltimore will have to play perfect defense and try to make this game go by particularly quick, because as the 32nd ranked offense in football, they are particularly ill-equipped to get into a shootout or come back from a two-score deficit. I don’t think they’ll be able to do it.

Jacksonville at Detroit (-7) | over/under 47.5

The Pick: Jacksonville

The Score: Detroit 31, Jacksonville 25

The Bets: Detroit (+3) in a 3-way tease / Over (47.5) / Over (37.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Detroit has played four home games. They’re 3-1 and have outscored those four opponents by a combined six points. A Lions home game hasn’t been decided by more than three points yet.

Considering the Lions have the worst defense in the league, I think the Jaguars will get their points one way or another. So the teased over feels like the lock of all locks.

I don’t feel good about picking either team against the spread straight up because the Lions don’t win big, but the Jaguars lose big. But the teased Detroit line? I’ll take it.

Tennessee at Indianapolis (-3) | over/under 53

The Pick: Tennessee

The Score: Tennessee 33, Indianapolis 27

The Bets: Over (53) / Over (43) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

If standings were determined by point differential, the Titans would be lapping the rest of the AFC South. They have a +13 point differential and the next best team in their division, the Colts, come into the week at -17.

But somehow the Texans are 6-3 and have two less losses than the two teams playing in this game. If Houston is going to crash & burn like they’re supposed to, this game between Indy and Tennessee could play a determining factor for which putrid AFC South team goes to the playoffs.

In Tennessee’s last three road games, they’re averaging more than 28 points per game. Those games were played against the 13th, 7th and 11th ranked defenses. Indy checks in with the 31st ranked D. So via the transitive property, the Titans should put up 35+ in this game.

Needless to say, I think the Titans come out of this with their 5th win in their last seven games. And the over really shouldn’t be a problem.

Tennessee’s game totals have exceeded 43 points (the teased over number) in seven straight games while the Colts’ game totals have gone over that mark in all nine of their games this year.

Buffalo at Cincinnati (-3) | over/under 47

The Pick: Buffalo

The Score: Buffalo 29, Cincinnati 26 (in OT)

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

SuperContest: Yes with Buffalo (+3)

I hate to correctly predict once again that a Cincy game is going to overtime and that I have no confidence either team will ultimately win, but that’s where this one is heading.

They’re two very evenly matched teams across all key stats. Both teams have soft defenses, and even though both like to run, I still like the teased over.

With both teams coming into this game with five losses, whoever comes up short in this one can probably kiss any playoff dreams goodbye.

Tampa Bay at Kansas City (-7.5) | over/under 45

The Pick: Tampa Bay

The Score: Kansas City 21, Tampa Bay 18

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I know the Chiefs are quietly stringing together a great-looking season and a game at Arrowhead should allow them to beat up on the overmatched Bucs, but the stats simply don’t show Kansas City to be a dominating force.

I’m really not sure if this Tampa team puts up a fight in this game or just rolls over, so I’m staying away completely (ok, I’ll probably put a small bet on the Bucs +7.5 simply because the Chiefs don’t really blow teams away with their scoring that often).

Chicago at NY Giants (-7.5) | over/under 44.5

The Pick: Chicago

The Score: NY Giants 23, Chicago 16

The Bets: Under (44.5) / Under (54.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

The Bears are averaging 15.7 points per game (31st in the NFL), and the Giants are averaging 20.2 points per game (24th). How about we don’t try to figure out who will win and by how much (a hopeless effort for any Giants game), but instead we drop a bunch of cash on the under? Who’s with me?

Arizona at Minnesota (-1.5) | over/under 40

The Pick: Minnesota

The Score: Minnesota 20, Arizona 17 (in OT)

The Bets: Under (50.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

This game opened as a pick, and It really seemed odd that Minnesota wouldn’t be favored by a couple points, but sure enough after diving into my research, I get it. Rather than each team putting up about 20 points as the line and total suggests, I think we’ll see yet another overtime game with a 17-17 score at the end of the fourth. Will anyone score in overtime? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’m giving the nod to the home team.

And even though you shouldn’t have to ask at this point…yes, I love the under teased between these two inept offenses.

Miami (-2) at Los Angeles | over/under 39.5

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Miami 25, Los Angeles 13

The Bets: Miami (-2) / Miami (+8) in a 3-way tease / Under (49.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Miami (-2)

Jared Goff’s making his long-awaited debut and gets to face the 7th ranked Dolphins defense.

The Rams are already averaging a paltry 15.4 points per game. I don’t think that’s going to improve in this game.

New England (-14) at San Francisco | over/under 51

The Pick: San Francisco

The Score: New England 29, San Francisco 20

The Bets: New England (-4) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

This is a really bad matchup for the 49ers. They’re actually decent running the ball on offense, but the Patriots rush D has been awesome. Meanwhile, the Niners are below average on pass defense and horrible against the run. The Patriots will gladly run the ball over & over & over in this game. (And is Dion Lewis making his season debut? If so, the Pats will have an even easier time on offense.)

Having said that, Gronk is probably missing this game, and New England is unable to play anything resembling decent defense. This tells me the Niners will get enough points to cover.

Philadelphia at Seattle (-7) | over/under 43

The Pick: Seattle

The Score: Seattle 23, Philadelphia 16

The Bets: Seattle (-1 or +3) in a 2-way or 3-way tease / Under (53) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Seattle (-7)

I will be shocked if the Eagles exceed 16 points in this game. But I’ll also be shocked if Seahawks are able to dictate the game on offense.

I’m liking the under teased and LOVING the Seahawks teased.

Green Bay at Washington (-3) | over/under 50.5

The Pick: Washington

The Score: Washington 29, Green Bay 24

The Bets: Washington (-3)

SuperContest: Yes with Washington (-3)

Washington’s won its last three home games, each by six or more points. They faced the best team according to DVOA (Philly), the worst team (Cleveland) and an almost exactly average team (Minnesota) in those three games.

The Skins’ lone weakness is run defense, and the Packers haven’t had more than 65 rushing yards in five straight games.

I really like Washington to get their mini-revenge for last year’s wildcard game that they could have won against Green Bay.

Houston vs Oakland (-6) | over/under 46 (in Mexico City)

The Pick: Houston

The Score: Houston 23, Oakland 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Call it a hunch, but I think this is the surprise loss that the Raiders are due for. What I’m most excited for regarding this game is all the jokes that’ll be floating around on Twitter about building a wall to keep Brock Osweiler in Mexico.

And even though I’ve put in this heroic effort to make my week 11 picks, I’m running out of steam so you don’t get anymore analysis on this game.

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

  • Favorites are 58-82-7 against the spread through 10 weeks (including 3-11 in week 10)
  • The Point Total has landed on Over 78 times, Under 66 times, and Pushed 3 times
  • I’m 74-69-4 against the spread.

Enjoy week 11.

Week 10 NFL Picks

butler-patriots

If this week looks particularly tough when it comes to picks against the spread, regular bets or even teases, it’s because we have a ton of “even” matchups. Out of 14 games in week 10, three of them have a heavy favorite (spread of 7 or greater), and the other 11 don’t have a spread greater than FOUR!

That’s insane, right? While you may think it’s just luck of the draw in terms of getting this many close games, it’s actually because the league standings are bloated in the middle. Check out that link. There are 21 teams that have either five, four or three wins. There are only four teams worse than that and seven teams better.

So yeah, it makes sense that we keep getting these matchups. Maybe we’re not seeing a ton of high quality games, but the league as a whole remains intriguing with so many teams still within range of a playoff spot.

How about this? We have five divisions where at least three teams still have a chance to end the year in first place: AFC North, South & West…and NFC North & East (all four teams still in the playoff race).

So criticize the NFL all you want, but the playoff races are going to keep everyone tuning in.

Let’s dive into the week 10 picks.

Teams on Bye: Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oakland

Cleveland at Baltimore (-9) | over/under 44

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: Baltimore 23, Cleveland 15

The Bets: Baltimore (+1) in a 3-way tease / Under (55) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

The home team has the worst offense in the league according to FootballOutsiders.com, and the other team is #24 on offense & traveling on a short week. So brace yourselves for a particularly boring and low-scoring Thursday night game. Just what the NFL needs as its post-election showcase to get the ratings back on track.

Side Note: This is the first time in four years that I forgot to make a preseason bet on “Will any team go 0-16?” I think they moved the odds from the standard 33/1 down to 25/1 this year and it scared me away. Really need Cleveland to win one game so I don’t regret it.

Houston at Jacksonville (-1.5) | over/under 42

The Pick: Jacksonville

The Score: Jacksonville 22, Houston 19

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

SuperContest: Yes with Jacksonville (-1.5)

This line significantly moved between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. It was Houston -2 and then abruptly changed to the current line, where the Jags are a small favorite.

There are very few circumstances where picking Jacksonville makes sense. Brock Osweiler on the road is one of them. You know how everyone’s been killing Blake Bortles for how bad he obviously is at this point? Well Osweiler ranks five spots below Bortles in FootballOutsider’s QB rankings! Osweiler on the road is toxic.

If you’re picking Houston in this game, you are obviously thinking of a different installment of the Texans than what currently exists. And I’m warning you, you’re wrong.

Besides the Jaguars being one of my favorite picks, I’m also liking the under a lot here. Both teams have above average defenses and putrid offenses. Houston has scored 0, 13 and 9 points in their three road games this year.

Denver at New Orleans (-3) | over/under 49

The Pick: New Orleans

The Score: New Orleans 30, Denver 24

The Bets: Over (49) / Over (39) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with New Orleans (-3)

I’ve been saying the Saints’ offense at home is as explosive as the Falcons & Raiders. The Broncos just struggled at Oakland last week, and the Falcons were able to win in Denver earlier this year. So this feels like another Denver loss.

As usual when the Saints play at home, I’m into the over. And if the Broncos were healthy, I’d probably stay away from using the Saints in my SuperContest pick, but Aqib Talib and Derek Wolfe are probably out for this game. Can’t see Denver getting to the 28+ points they’ll need to knock off the Saints.

Los Angeles at NY Jets (-2) | over/under 39.5

The Pick: NY Jets

The Score: NY Jets 24, Los Angeles 17

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Here’s a really shitty game that doesn’t deserve our attention. If you wanted to bet the under here, I wouldn’t be mad at you. These are two of the worst offenses in the league. But to me it cries “stay away.” So I will.

Atlanta (-1.5) at Philadelphia | over/under 50.5

The Pick: Atlanta

The Score: Atlanta 28, Philadelphia 24

The Bets: Over (40.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Atlanta (-1.5)

With the way Atlanta has played at Oakland, Denver and Seattle this year, I’m not at all worried about them performing away from home. And they got extra rest after pummeling Tampa Bay last Thursday.

I know the Eagles still have a good defense and they haven’t lost at home this year, but they feel like a very average team. Atlanta looks like one of the three or four best teams in football right now.

I like the over because Atlanta’s a scoring machine and the Eagles have actually looked good on offense at home this year.

Kansas City at Carolina (-3) | over/under 44

The Pick: Kansas City

The Score: Kansas City 23, Carolina 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I think Carolina is still tough to gauge so I don’t want to put too much confidence in this pick. But it seems to me that the Chiefs are really good and they’re getting some great news on the defensive side with the return of Justin Houston. That’s gotta scare the league a little bit.

Chicago (-1) at Tampa Bay | over/under 46

The Pick: Tampa Bay

The Score: Tampa Bay 27, Chicago 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I can’t for the life of me figure this game out. I thought the Bucs should have been favored by the standard three points at home so I figured grabbing Tampa +1 was an easy choice. But I keep hearing people talk about how much better the Bears are than the Bucs, and even the stats seem to make the case for Chicago. I dunno. I’ll just take the home team and cross my fingers.

Minnesota at Washington (-3) | over/under 42

The Pick: Washington

The Score: Washington 23, Minnesota 19

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Both teams need this game desperately to keep pace in their respective divisions. I still don’t know if either team is good after nine weeks. So I’m not betting it, but I do think the Skins at home deserve the benefit of the doubt. At this point, the Vikings’ inability to score seems to be the biggest weakness of either team.

Green Bay (-3) at Tennessee | over/under 49.5

The Pick: Tennessee

The Score: Tennessee 26, Green Bay 24

The Bets: Over (39.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

It’s still mind-boggling to me that Tennessee has a top 10 offense, and that they’ve averaged 31 points over their last five games. Meanwhile, the Packers are finally putting up points (28.3 points per game in the last three weeks), and the Titans rank a lot lower on defense than you probably think.

Teasing this over down to 39.5 is a slam dunk.

Not only do I think the Titans could win this game outright, but I’m rooting for it in a big way. For betting purposes, I wanna see the Titans & Lions in the playoffs. And a Tennessee win in week 10 would help both cases.

Miami at San Diego (-4) | over/under 48.5

The Pick: Miami

The Score: San Diego 26, Miami 24

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

The biggest problem with San Diego is that while their overall defense is much better than it’s been the last couple years, their run D is still somewhat suspect. And that’s all Miami knows how to do now is run the ball. This could be a sneaky entertaining game, but I’ve got no real read from a betting standpoint.

San Francisco at Arizona (-13.5) | over/under 48.5

The Pick: Arizona

The Score: Arizona 31, San Francisco 14

The Bets: Arizona (-3.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Sure, 13.5 seems insanely high for a point spread in the NFL. And even if you don’t think the Cardinals are the kind of team that should be getting that level of respect (you’d think only the Patriots, Cowboys or Falcons could get this type of spread right now), it’s a pretty good spot for them to blow out the Niners.

They already beat the 49ers by 12 this year up in San Francisco. And the Niners have lost road games this year by 19, 19 and 29 points.

In fact, here’s the point differential of each of the seven straight games that they’ve lost: 19, 19, 7, 12, 29, 17 and 18.

Add to that the fact that San Francisco’s near the bottom of the league in giveaways, and the Cardinals are top 5 in takeaways.

I didn’t even mention that the Cardinals’ win over SF earlier in the year was with Drew Stanton at quarterback. Say what you want about 2016 Carson Palmer, but he’s still better than Stanton.

This should be a blowout, but if you don’t like giving that many points, toss Arizona into a teaser.

Dallas at Pittsburgh (-2) | over/under 50

The Pick: Pittsburgh

The Score: Pittsburgh 31, Dallas 27

The Bets: Over (40) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Pittsburgh (-2)

First of all, this game should have a ton of points. Two good offenses, not so great defenses. Ben Roethlisberger should be a lot healthier this week.

I’m also pretty confident it’s the Cowboys’ turn to lose a game. They aren’t going 14-2 or better so they need to lose a couple more games. This is one of the prime opportunities for someone to hand them a loss. We still don’t know how good their secondary is and I think the Steelers will be able to exploit that just enough.

Seattle at New England (-7.5) | over/under 49

The Pick: New England

The Score: New England 30, Seattle 20

The Bets: New England (-7.5) / New England (+2.5) in a 3-way tease / Over (39) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with New England (-7.5)

I’ll confidently take the Belichick-coached team that has had two full weeks to prepare over a West Coast team coming off an exhausting Monday night win, on short rest and traveling across the country. Do we really need any more analysis than that?

Add in the fact that New England is extremely healthy right now and the Seahawks will be missing at least Michael Bennett from their defense, and I think this has the makings of a big win for the Patriots.

They rarely lose at home, they’re rested and Seattle isn’t nearly as scary as it has been the last few years on offense or defense.

Cincinnati at NY Giants (-1) | over/under 47

The Pick: Cincinnati

The Score: Cincinnati 26, NY Giants 22

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I was originally confident in the Giants in this Monday night matchup, but then two things happened:

  1. I was reminded that Cincy’s scoring problems on the road (only 17.5 points per game on the road so far) were likely solved by Tyler Eifert’s return to the field.
  2. I realized that the Giants have won three in a row and this is exactly when their fans are starting to feel a little bit good. So of course this team has to lose a winnable home game.

My confidence is low on this pick though.

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

  • Favorites are 55-71-7 against the spread through 9 weeks (including 6-5-2 in week 9)
  • The Point Total has landed on Over 72 times, Under 59 times, and Pushed 2 times
  • I’m 68-60-4 against the spread.

Enjoy week 10.

Week 9 NFL Picks & Trying to Find the Good Bets

carr broncos.jpg

Welcome to week 9, where the toll of a half season of games isn’t only being felt on the fantasy front. Betting options are looking more & more limited every week, and injuries are playing a major role.

For example, here are the teams who would normally be in reliable betting/teasing situations in week 9 but aren’t:

  • Kansas City: Hosting the horrible Jaguars but playing without Alex Smith and possibly Spencer Ware
  • Pittsburgh: Facing the Ravens in Baltimore but either without Ben Roethlisberger or a “first game back from injury” version of the Steelers quarterback
  • Atlanta: On the road against the Bucs but playing on Thursday and dealing with a banged up Julio Jones
  • Dallas: Big favorite at Cleveland but suffered two major injuries in their secondary last Sunday night
  • Minnesota: Playing the Lions at home but dealing with the Norv Turner resignation (and let’s face it, the Vikings are just sketchy right now)

With the Patriots on a bye, the Broncos going on the road against the formidable Raiders, and the Seahawks & Packers being completely untrustworthy, where the hell are we supposed to put our money in week 9? (Don’t worry. I’ll find plenty of ways to talk myself into lots of bets by the end of this post.)

Before we dive into the games, I just assume everyone wants to know my initial reaction and overall thoughts on the Jamie Collins trade. So here you go:

  • I found out about the Collins trade in real time as I had just refreshed twitter and saw Adam Schefter’s original tweet about it. My first serious thought was: I’m so out of the loop. We’re doing April Fool’s jokes on Halloween now. That’s a thing?
  • I’ll continue to subscribe to “In Belichick We Trust” as my overall motto for living, but even the biggest Belichick backer has to admit this was a particularly weird trade, what with the timing of it, the fact that they’re not getting a significantly better asset in return than if they had just let him walk in free agency at the end of the year, the overall mediocrity of the defense through eight games…just weird.
  • Gotta feel a little bad for Elandon Roberts, the previously unknown Patriots linebacker who will now be constantly scrutinized by the same fanbase that just spent 18 months learning the minutiae of the ideal gas law. They’re gonna pick him apart when the defense isn’t perfect.
  • Considering this team went 3-1 without Brady, I can’t imagine we’ll see a noticeable dip in the Patriots’ overall performance and record for the rest of the regular season. But all the articles blaming Belichick will be queued up in January, ready to be published if the Pats lose in the postseason.

And with that, let’s dive into the week 9 picks.

Teams on Bye: Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England, Washington

Atlanta (-4) at Tampa Bay | over/under 51

The Pick: Atlanta

The Score: Atlanta 29, Tampa Bay 23

The Bets: Atlanta (+6) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Atlanta (-4)

My normal number crunching process has this as a relatively close game, with the Falcons just barely covering. If the Thursday night ugliness factor comes into play, it’ll almost certainly be in the form of the Bucs getting destroyed.

Why? Well first of all, they’re not a very good team. But more importantly, the Bucs just played an extra quarter of football on Sunday, losing to the Raiders in OT. We saw the effects of a long OT when Seattle & Arizona both struggled on the road in week 8. Now Tampa has to play on Thursday and should be significantly more tired than the Falcons.

Detroit at Minnesota (-6) | over/under 41

The Pick: Minnesota

The Score: Minnesota 27, Detroit 15

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

SuperContest: No

I’m hoping we’re going to see a pissed off Minnesota team with a delirious home crowd that knows an 8-0 home record is possible and could be needed to get this team into the playoffs. Despite the offensive line struggles that the Vikings have dealt with the past two weeks, I think this is simply a case of the Vikings being a great home team and only a mediocre road team.

And if any defense is going to be just what the doctor ordered for Sam Bradford and this Vikings offense, it’s Detroit’s 32nd ranked pass defense.

Philadelphia at NY Giants (-3) | over/under 43

The Pick: Philadelphia

The Score: NY Giants 21, Philadelphia 20

The Bets: Under (53) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

With the Giants, Eagles and Redskins having practically identical records (4-3 for all of them, but with a tie added on for Washington), I think the only thing that’s certain is that the Giants are the worst of those three teams. But they are pretty tightly bunched together.

If the Eagles play like they did in Dallas on Sunday night, they should either win this game or make it extremely close. I’m definitely concerned that they’re on the back end of two straight divisional road games and are facing a rested Giants team.

I love teasing the under in this game because you have the #1 defense in football (Philly) facing the #10 defense (Giants), and only once in all the games these teams have played this year has the total gone over 53. This will be low scoring. Guarantee it.

NY Jets at Miami (-3.5) | over/under 44

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Miami 27, NY Jets 21

The Bets: Over (34) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

I actually think Miami wins this game by a touchdown. The Dolphins are 3-1 at home and put up almost 30 points in back to back weeks on Pittsburgh & Buffalo. The Jets defense is worse than those teams.

Did you know Miami home games are averaging about 50 points per game this year? And the total is only 44 this week? Yes, I’m into the teased over. And remember, this Jets defense is really really bad.

Jacksonville at Kansas City (-7.5) | over/under 44

The Pick: Kansas City

The Score: Kansas City 26, Jacksonville 16

The Bets: Kansas City (+2.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

The Jaguars are a barely breathing corpse at this point. And the Chiefs are looking like one of the best teams in the AFC, if not all of football. So of course this was setting up as an awesome play on the Chiefs…and then Alex Smith got concussed…or not concussed…or kinda concussed. Either way, he’s out for this game. Nick Foles takes over at QB, and he’ll probably be missing Spence Ware, easily the most valuable player on KC’s offense through eight weeks.

I’m still picking the Chiefs because my Teasy Money Podcast co-host reminded me 100 times this week, “Blake Bortles on the road. Blake Bortles on the road. Blake Bortles on the road.”

But I’m not putting a ton of confidence in them to cover.

Dallas (-7.5) at Cleveland | over/under 48.5

The Pick: Dallas

The Score: Dallas 30, Cleveland 17

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

SuperContest: Yes with Dallas (-7.5)

I think the Cowboys win this game by about 20. They’re 3-0 on the road this year, and they’re always good on the road. The numbers say Cleveland should put up 17-20 points, but I think that’s a best case scenario. I could see the Cowboys dominating every aspect of this game and minimizing the possessions the Browns get. I always want to proceed with caution when it comes to heavy road favorites, but this is just a game I couldn’t pass up. I’m all in on Dallas.

Pittsburgh (-1.5) at Baltimore | over/under 43

The Pick: Baltimore

The Score: Baltimore 23, Pittsburgh 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I’m staying away from any bets on this game for the obvious reason that Ben Roethlisberger is likely to be back in the starting lineup, but we just don’t know how effective he’ll be. Independent of his status, don’t forget that the Steelers are a much worse team on the road than at home (they got smoked earlier this year at Philly and at Miami with a healthy Roethlisberger).

I think this game will be a throwback to the low scoring ugly affairs we’re used to between these AFC North rivals. And if the Ravens can somehow win, they’ll be in sole possession of 1st place in the division.

New Orleans (-4.5) at San Francisco | over/under 53

The Pick: San Francisco

The Score: New Orleans 28, San Francisco 26

The Bets: Over (43) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with San Francisco (+4.5)

This line opened with the Saints a 3-point favorite, and I’m glad to see everyone’s betting on them because I’ve liked the Niners from the moment I first looked at this matchup.

Basically, I expect us to see absolutely no defense in this game and both offenses just marching up & down the field trying to match points. So yes, I love the over in this game more than just about anything in week 9. But I think the Niners are getting 1.5 free points on the spread and I’ll gladly take advantage of that.

Carolina (-3) at Los Angeles | over/under 44.

The Pick: Carolina

The Score: Carolina 24, Los Angeles 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I stared at this line with confusion for a while because initially I thought LA would be about a 1-point favorite. I assumed these teams were pretty equal. But my research leads me to believe the Panthers should probably win by 3 or 4, which makes it a stayaway.

Even Carolina being 0-3 on the road doesn’t help me pick LA because it’s cancelled out by the fact that Cam Newton is likely to get a couple extra calls in his favor this week (after making a huge deal out of getting hit too often in the head and knees).

Indianapolis at Green Bay (-7.5) | over/under 54

The Pick: Green Bay

The Score: Green Bay 31, Indianapolis 23

The Bets: Green Bay (+2.5) in a 3-way tease / Over (44) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Green Bay’s loss at Atlanta last week kept the attention on their mediocre record, but the Packers have quietly put up 59 points in their last two games, both against teams with at least marginally better defenses than Indy’s. I’m trying to look at the process for the Packers rather than just the results. And it seems like they’re just about back on track.

It should be easy to choose the Packers in a tease, but there’s slight hesitation because of the Andrew Luck late game heroics potential. I probably won’t be putting any confidence behind the Packers pick, but the teased over seems like a must-bet.

Tennessee at San Diego (-5) | over/under 47

The Pick: Tennessee

The Score: San Diego 27, Tennessee 24

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

How backwards are these teams? Tennessee has the better ranked offense (9th in DVOA compared to San Diego at 16th), and the Chargers have the better defense (7th vs 22nd for the Titans).

In fact, the Titans are averaging 28 points per game in their last 5 games, which include 2 road games. They’re also 2-1 on the road this year. I gotta go Titans to keep it close with the upside being that they could pull off the upset. Remember, the Chargers will either be up big and let the lead slip away, or they’ll fall behind early and have to rally. But this game will be close either way.

Denver at Oakland (pick) | over/under 44

The Pick: Denver

The Score: Denver 24, Oakland 23

The Bets: Over (34) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Denver (pick)

I think I nailed this game.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the Broncos are only projected for 22 points. At home, the Raiders have given up 35, 31 and 26 points. And the Broncos aren’t a terrible offensive team. They should get plenty of scoring opportunities.

And since the Raiders are so solid on offense, I think Denver can put up a good defensive showing and still give up three touchdowns. So yes, I love the over, especially teased of course.

I’m expecting we’ll see in this game that Oakland has indeed gotten a little lucky with it’s 6-2 start and constant winning of close games.

Buffalo at Seattle (-7) | over/under 44

The Pick: Buffalo

The Score: Seattle 23, Buffalo 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest: Yes with Buffalo (+7)

Seattle is a somewhat obvious tease here, but….they are so sketchy right now. I have no idea why the Seahawks are such heavy favorites in this game. If you give them four points for their home field advantage, we’re saying they’re three points better than the Bills on a neutral field? I think it’s closer to a pick.

Mostly I think you should continue to stay away from any bet involving the Seahawks until we have a better understanding of what kind of team they’ll be the rest of the year.

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

  • Favorites are 49-66-5 against the spread through 8 weeks (including a 7-4-2 record in week 8)
  • The point total has landed on Over 64 times, Under 54 times, and Pushed 2 times
  • I’m 63-53-3 against the spread

Enjoy week 9.