NFL Divisional Round Picks

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It was an ugly 1-3 start for me in the playoffs. That happens to me almost every year for Wildcard Weekend. I always come back with a vengeance. Jump on these Divisional Round picks.

Seattle at Atlanta (-5) | over/under 51.5

The Pick: Seattle

The Score: Atlanta 29, Seattle 26

The Bets: Atlanta (+5) in a 3-way tease / Over (51.5) / Over (41.5) in a 3-way tease

This Atlanta offense put up 48 & 33 points on the 10th best defense in the league (Carolina), 30 points on the 8th best defense (San Diego) and 38 points on the 3rd best defense (Arizona).

They also put up 23 & 24 points on the road against Denver (#1 defense) and Seattle (#5), respectively. And one could argue they would have ended up with at least 27 in Seattle had it not been for a horrible non-call on an obvious pass interference.

They’ve faced plenty of tough defenses all year and almost always put up 30 or more points.

Even though I expect Seattle to be a particularly tough out, I don’t think their offense can hang with Atlanta for 60 minutes. Seattle would need to force some turnovers, but the Falcons tied the Patriots for fewest turnovers in the league this year. And the Seahawks ranked a meh 22nd in takeaways in 2016.

Seattle’s putrid run game (23rd in the league) won’t be able to fully exploit Atlanta’s horrible run defense (29th). And on the flip side the Seahawks’ pass defense slipped to 13th in the league, which is bad news going against the #1 passing offense in football.

The recipe just isn’t there for a Seattle upset. But a decent team with deep playoff experience should keep it pretty close.

Houston at New England (-16) | over/under 44.5

The Pick: New England

The Score: New England 31, Houston 13

The Bets: New England (-6) in a 3-way tease

How did the Patriots defense hold up against the very worst offenses in football this year?

  • Cleveland (29th in offense) – 13 points allowed
  • Jets (31st) – 17 points allowed on the road / 3 points allowed at home
  • Los Angeles (32nd) – 10 points allowed
  • Denver (28th) – 3 points allowed
  • Houston (30th) – 0 points allowed

Let’s just table the argument on if the Patriots defense is legitimately good and would hold up against even a decent offense. We can save that for next week. We know they can 100% shut down awful offenses, especially at home.

Similar to last week when I guessed the Lions would put up 14 in Seattle, I think I’m being generous projecting the Texans for 13.

And since the Patriots always score 30+ against teams like this, I have to reluctantly lay the points and grab New England.

If you’re not into 3-way teasers where you can adjust each line by 10 points, then this isn’t that great of a game from a betting standpoint. The Patriots are too big of a favorite for a regular tease or to bet straight up. And you can’t really have confidence in the game total (Do the Patriots win 40-10 or 30-0? Huge difference for the over/under.)

If you’re trying to make the case for a Houston upset, or even just for them to keep it close, you can’t use this argument: “The 2009 Ravens and the 2010 Jets stunned the Patriots in Foxboro so anything could happen.”

The ‘09 Ravens were actually the best team in the NFL despite their 9-7 record, according to FootballOutsiders.com. And the 2010 Jets, not too shabby themselves. They were 6th in overall DVOA (team efficiency).

Your 2016 Houston Texans….29th in DVOA! In other words, they were the 4th worst team in football. The gap between this year’s Patriots and Wilfork’s Texans is possibly the biggest in playoff history.

Pittsburgh at Kansas City (-1) | over/under 44

The Pick: Pittsburgh

The Score: Pittsburgh 23, Kansas City 20 (in Overtime)

The Bets: Pittsburgh (+11) in a 3-way tease / Over (34) in a 3-way tease

During Kansas City’s 10-2 finish to the season, they only put up 21 or more points in two of six home games.

The Steelers’ last three road opponents of the season happen to be the three teams right above the Chiefs in offensive DVOA rankings (KC ranks 13th). And here’s how those teams performed against Pittsburgh’s D:

  • Colts (12th) – Steelers gave up 7 points
  • Bengals (11th) – Steelers gave up 20 points
  • Bills (10th) – Steelers gave up 20 points

Let’s say things stay consistent in terms of the Chiefs’ offensive production. What you gotta figure out is whether or not the Steelers can put up 24 or so points. That’s the only way they win this.

I think we’re looking at an overtime game, or at least a last-second win for one of these teams. I liked the Chiefs immediately after seeing last week’s games play out, but the numbers don’t lie. The combination of the way Pittsburgh’s been able to play defense lately and the incredible potency of a healthy Steelers offense makes it impossible for me to go with the Chiefs.

Green Bay at Dallas (-4) | over/under 52

The Pick: Dallas

The Score: Dallas 28, Green Bay 23

The Bets: Dallas (-4) / Dallas (+6) in a 3-way tease / Over (42) in a 3-way tease

Starting in 2011, which is when Jordy Nelson started putting up 1,000-yard receiving seasons, the Packers have been a top four offense each of the four seasons that Nelson and Aaron Rodgers have been healthy together. In the two seasons where they weren’t, the Packers fell to 9th (2013) and 11th (2015) in offensive DVOA.

Not a catastrophic drop-off, but a noticeable one that will be in effect for this divisional round game.

After all my cutting edge research, I had the Packers coming up just short, maybe losing by 2 points. But I’m deducting an additional 3 points from their total due to the Jordy loss.

Remember that the Giants offense is most similar in production to the offenses of the Ravens, 49ers, Cardinals and Eagles. It makes perfect sense that Green Bay would demolish the Giants if Aaron Rodgers had a big game. But now the Packers face one of the best offenses in the league. Even if Rodgers steals the show again, they should have an answer.

My read on the spread and game total is that Vegas never adjusted either one when it became apparent that Nelson might not play. I think the game would be impossible to predict if he was healthy, but since he’s not, I’ll be betting as if they forgot to ding the Packers even slightly.

Prop Bets

Who will record the most Passing Yards?

  • Matt Ryan (+350) – Because he had 335 passing yards in Seattle while facing a healthy Early Thomas earlier this season. Because at home in 2016, his lowest yardage output was 269. His worst case is even better than that because of the injured Seahawks defense.
  • Tom Brady (+350) – In the past 5 years, Brady has played in 12 playoff games. He’s cracked 300 yards passing 7 times, 4 of which came in this divisional round. I think he’s good for 290+, which could win the week.
  • Dak Prescott (+1000) – You’re giving me 10/1 odds on a Pro Bowl QB who’s rested, at home and facing a pretty bad pass defense? Sign me up.

Who will record the most Receiving Yards?

  • Dez Bryant (+850) – Call it a hunch. The Packers have a crappy pass defense as it is, and they’ll put extra focus on stopping Dallas’ 2nd ranked run game. I think Dak will find Dez early and often.

Enjoy the Divisional Round!

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Week 16 NFL Picks

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Week 16! Important games! Saturday football!

Here are the week 16 picks.

NY Giants (-3) at Philadelphia | over/under 41.5

The Pick: Philadelphia

The Score: NY Giants 17, Philadelphia 16

The Bets: Under (51.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Did you know Philly is 0-9 when their opponent scores more than 15 points this year? And they are 5-0 when they hold the other team to 15 or less.

Me thinks this trend continues as the Eagles give up just barely more than 15 and just barely lose.

(Note: I love being wrong about a prediction and still picking the right side of the line.)

Minnesota at Green Bay (-7) | over/under 43

The Pick: Green Bay

The Score: Green Bay 21, Minnesota 13

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

SuperContest: No

This is one of those situations where you know the line is inflated but you just can’t put your hard-earned cash on the underdog, as right as it is to do so.

I’ll be throwing the Packers into a teaser.

I’m also interested in teasing the under to 53. Look at the Packers’ schedule. They play high-scoring games against good offensive teams and low-scoring games against bad offensive teams. The Vikings are clearly in the second category.

Tennessee (-5) at Jacksonville | over/under 43.5

The Pick: Jacksonville

The Score: Tennessee 24, Jacksonville 20

The Bets: Jacksonville (+5) / Jacksonville (+15) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Jacksonville (+5)

Despite the perceived talent & success gap between these two teams, it’s still a shitty AFC South matchup. The Titans are merely 1 of the best 3 teams in the worst division in football. Should they really be laying 5 points on the road to anyone? No way. This line is absurd. (And I’m not even using the “every team plays better for a game or two after the head coach gets fired” argument, which might actually be valid.)

NY Jets at New England (-17) | over/under 44

The Pick: New England

The Score: New England 36, NY Jets 17

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

SuperContest: No

Both teams should struggle to move the ball on the ground, so we have the makings of a high scoring game. The reason I think the Patriots actually cover this ridiculous spread is because A) The Jets are really, REALLY bad right now, not just regular bad, and B) Since the Patriots won’t have success running, they’ll naturally be more explosive passing against this awful defense.

Rather than tease the Pats down to -7 and still have to cover such an aggressive spread, I’m going big on the teased over of 34. The Patriots are almost certainly getting to that number on their own.

San Diego (-6) at Cleveland | over/under 44

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: San Diego 23, Cleveland 18

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

You can’t bet on the Browns and you don’t wanna be the guy who assumes the Chargers will show up in a meaningless, cold weather game.

The Chargers don’t win games on the road by more than a field goal.

Washington (-3) at Chicago | over/under 47

The Pick: Chicago

The Score: Washington 26, Chicago 25

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I always thought the tie in London against the Bengals would be Washington’s biggest regret of the season, but going 1-2 against the Cardinals, Eagles and Panthers over the past three weeks is worse.

Atlanta (-3) at Carolina | over/under 51.5

The Pick: Atlanta

The Score: Atlanta 31, Carolina 27

The Bets: Atlanta (+7) in a 3-way tease / Over (41.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Atlanta (-3)

Remember the glory days of 12 weeks ago when we could rely on an NFC South matchup easily going over the point total? I think we’re getting a throwback for the ages.

The Panthers are definitely good enough to push a solid-but-flawed Falcons to the brink of a loss, but especially with Julio Jones possibly coming back and the weather in Carolina being mild, I think the Falcons just barely win.

Miami at Buffalo (-4) | over/under 42

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Miami 24, Buffalo 23

The Bets: Over (42) / Over (32) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

No game in Buffalo this year has had a point total under this game’s line of 42. And only 1 of the Dolphins’ last 10 games has come in under that number. I could see this game going in a number of directions concerning who wins and by how much. But on a relatively mild Saturday afternoon in Buffalo, points will be scored. That’s a certainty.

So I’m loving the over and the teased over.

Indianapolis at Oakland (-4) | over/under 53

The Pick: Indianapolis

The Score: Oakland 33, Indianapolis 31

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

SuperContest: No

The Colts have actually been better offensively on the road lately than at home.

I’m expecting this game to play out like so many others have in Oakland this year…high scoring and decided in the final minute.

I’m teasing the over and praying to god that Derek Carr’s finger is at least 75%healthy.

San Francisco at Los Angeles (-4) | over/under 39.5

The Pick: San Francisco

The Score: Los Angeles 10, San Francisco 7

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

It’s week 16 and this game doesn’t deserve more than 11 wor-

Arizona at Seattle (-8) | over/under 43

The Pick: Seattle

The Score: Seattle 28, Arizona 14

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

SuperContest: Yes with Seattle (-8)

Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-3) | over/under 52

The Pick: Tampa Bay

The Score: Tampa Bay 28, New Orleans 26

The Bets: Over (42.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Over. Sure.

Cincinnati at Houston (pick) | over/under 42

The Pick: Houston

The Score: Houston 23, Cincinnati 17

The Bets: Houston (pick) / Houston (+10) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Houston (pick)

Just a perfect ending for Houston to ride Tom Savage to the playoffs.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-5.5) | over/under 44.5

The Pick: Pittsburgh

The Score: Pittsburgh 24, Baltimore 15

The Bets: Pittsburgh (+4.5) in a 3-way tease / Under (54.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Pittsburgh (-5.5)

So the Ravens are 2-4 on the road, and those two wins came way back in weeks 2 & 3 against the Browns and Jaguars. This is deeply concerning if you’ve got a bet on Baltimore to make the playoffs like I do.

The Ravens can’t score. I could see them getting 5 field goals and nothing more.

Denver at Kansas City (-3.5) | over/under 37.5

The Pick: Denver

The Score: Kansas City 20, Denver 17 (OT)

The Bets: Under (47.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Did I see that the Broncos could know before this game that they’re eliminated from playoff contention? If that’s the case, I’m staying away, of course.

Detroit at Dallas (-7) | over/under 44.5

The Pick: Detroit

The Score: Dallas 27, Detroit 23

The Bets: No

SuperContest: No

I’m posting these picks on Friday, and the Cowboys have already locked up the #1 seed in the NFC, thanks to the Giants’ loss in Philly on Thursday. The Vegas books haven’t moved off this spread so far, but I’m waiting to see if we get any word on Dallas resting players.

My gut tells me Jason Garrett plays his starters for the 1st half of each of the next two games. So I’m off this one completely from a betting standpoint.

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

  • Favorites are 99-115-10 against the spread (including 7-9 in week 15)
  • The Point Total has landed on Over 111 times, Under 110 times, and Pushed 3 times
  • I’m 121-96-7 against the spread

Enjoy week 16.

Week 14 NFL Picks: A HUGE Week of Football

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Ladies & Gentlemen, a round of applause for the week 14 NFL schedule. It’s the least you can do.

Every single timeslot throughout the “weekend” has at least one incredibly important game.

  • Thursday Night: Oakland (10-2) at Kansas City (9-3)
  • Sunday 1pm ET: Pittsburgh (7-5) at Buffalo (6-6) / Denver (8-4) at Tennessee (6-6) / Houston (6-6) at Indianapolis (6-6)
  • Sunday 4pm ET: Seattle (8-3-1) at Green Bay (6-6)
  • Sunday Night: Dallas (11-1) at Giants (8-4)
  • Monday Night: Baltimore (7-5) at New England 10-2

Seriously. That’s a pretty jam-packed day of quality football.

Let’s dive into the week 14 picks.

Oakland at Kansas City (-3) | over/under 46.5

The Pick: Kansas City

The Score: Kansas City 26, Oakland 23

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

When is a Thursday Night Game not an ugly, hard-to-watch spectacle? When it’s 10-2 vs 9-3 with a division title and (probably) a playoff bye on the line. I’m captivated by the possibilities in this game. Does Oakland keep rolling along with their 7th straight win and 27+ point output? Or will the KC defense with Justin Houston as a reinforcement and the secondary playing out of its mind beat the Raiders for the 2nd time this year?

This is where we find out if Oakland’s defense can assist the offense at all going into the playoffs. It feels like a raucous home crowd will tilt an even game slightly towards the Chiefs. It’s honestly too close to call and seems silly to make any kind of bet on it.

(Note: I wrote all of that on Wednesday night and still talked myself into making a bet. Luckily I bet on the Chiefs. Pretty alarming for the Raiders that they lost by 8 with Andy Reid making plenty of head scratching decisions and Alex Smith uncharacteristically turning the ball over.)

Pittsburgh (-3) at Buffalo | over/under 46.5

The Pick: Buffalo

The Score: Buffalo 27, Pittsburgh 23

The Bets: Buffalo (+13) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Buffalo (+3)

I don’t really believe in the Steelers in general. I DEFINITELY don’t believe in them on the road.

My hesitation about betting the Bills straight up is based on the weak resume they have in their wins this year. They beat: Arizona, New England (injured Jacoby Brissett at QB), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cincy and Jacksonville. But I like the Bills a lot at home as 13-point underdogs when thrown into a 3-way tease.

Denver (-1) at Tennessee | over/under 43.5

The Pick: Tennessee

The Score: Tennessee 24, Denver 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

My final score prediction is based on the guess that Trevor Siemian starts at QB for the Broncos. I don’t think the Broncos will be competitive in this game if Lynch starts.

Washington (-2) at Philadelphia | over/under 47

The Pick: Philadelphia

The Score: Philadelphia 22, Washington 20

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

SuperContest: No

Jordan Reed’s status is crucial to making any kind of decision on this game. And it sounds like we may not have a definitive answer until Sunday morning.

I’m teasing the up the under, but not until I get confirmation that Reed is out. If he plays, I’ll probably stay away from this game entirely.

Did you know only 3 of Philly’s 12 opponents this year currently have a record below .500? Starting in week 3, they faced 9 straight teams that currently have a record of .500 or better.

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

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Miami 26, Arizona 20

The Bets: Miami (+12) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Miami (+2)

In what world should the Cardinals be favored on the road against anyone? They’re 1-4 on the road with their 1 win coming in San Francisco.

I have no additional thoughts about this game. I’m slightly nervous to bet the Dolphins even though I think they’ll win because we could be seeing the start of a classic Miami nosedive to end the season.

Minnesota (-3.5) at Jacksonville | over/under 39

The Pick: Jacksonville

The Score: Minnesota 13, Jacksonville 10

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

SuperContest: No

Holy shit is this gonna be a bad game or what??

No exaggeration, I think a 13-10 win for one of these teams is being optimistic about the scoring. Hence, the under & teased under are my favorite bets in week 14.

Houston at Indianapolis (-6.5) | over/under 46.5

The Pick: Indianapolis

The Score: Indianapolis 29, Houston 21

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

SuperContest: No

Indy needs this slightly more than Houston. They already lost to the Texans, and they also have a much harder final three games than the Texans (Colts are at Minnesota & Oakland before finishing at home against the Jaguars, while Houston plays Jacksonville & Cincy at home before a road finish in Tennessee).

This is probably a discussion for another day, but does Bill O’Brien deserve to be fired regardless of this final month of 2016? He personally picked Brock Osweiler and added Lamar Miller at running back, both to complement their star receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. And yet there they sit, 28th overall in points per game and 31st in FootballOutsiders’ offensive efficiency ranks.

With Jonathan Joseph out for the Texans, it gets even more unlikely that they hold Indy’s offense in check.

San Diego at Carolina (-1.5) | over/under 49

The Pick: San Diego

The Score: San Diego 24, Carolina 19

The Bets: San Diego (+1.5) / San Diego (+11.5) in a 3-way tease / Under (59) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with San Diego (+1.5)

Even taking into account San Diego flying across the country and playing in relatively cool weather…even including the (unlikely) chance that Luke Kuechly suits up for this game…I just don’t see a path to the Panthers winning this game. Carolina is really, really bad. Simple as that.

And with the Chargers having a sneaky solid defense, and their offense playing lower-scoring football on the road, the under feels like a great pick here.

Cincinnati (-5.5) at Cleveland | over/under 42.5

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: Cleveland 23, Cincinnati 20 (in OT)

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I’m tempted to do zero research on this game and pick the Browns to win outright because:

  1. When A.J. Green went down for the year and the already-struggling Bengals lost their best player, this became the game that the Browns would most likely win.
  2. If Robert Griffin is the starting QB, the universe will make sure that he captures the city of Cleveland’s heart with a stunning upset against their in-state rival, which will cause the Browns to try to make him their starter again next year and pass up on the best QB in the draft.
  3. Hue Jackson is facing his former team and it would just make sense for Marvin Lewis to lose to an 0-12 team with his former offensive coordinator as the opposing head coach.
  4. By no statistical measure should the Browns win this game, and it feels like we’re due for this upset.

So let’s go with that. The Browns finally get a win (and of course put the #1 draft pick in jeopardy).

Chicago at Detroit (-8) | over/under 43.5

The Pick: Chicago

The Score: Detroit 23, Chicago 17

The Bets: Detroit (+2) in a 3-way tease / Under (53.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

The Bears are 0-6 on the road and the only time they exceeded 17 points was at Indy in week 5. Detroit is a much lower scoring team than you think, even at home. The right play is the under.

The Lions had 11 straight games before last week that were decided by 1 score or less. Though I’m confident they’ll win, I think we’ll be back to a close game for them.

NY Jets at San Francisco (-3) | over/under 44

The Pick: NY Jets

The Score: NY Jets 27, San Francisco 17

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

If we assume neither team can effectively throw the ball (a completely fair assumption), then the difference-maker in this game should be the Jets’ #2 ranked defense. Both teams have solid run games, but the 49ers have the worst run defense in the league. That’s a glaring difference between two crappy teams.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay (-3) | over/under 51.5

The Pick: Tampa Bay

The Score: Tampa Bay 27, New Orleans 23

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

This is what we’ve been waiting for. Earlier in the year, most games involving NFC South teams were obvious over bets. Especially so when two of them were playing each other…Except that the Saints have trouble scoring on the road and the Bucs have played very solid defense lately.

Assuming the Bucs don’t have a defensive meltdown like earlier in the season when they gave up 37 to the Rams and 27 to the Broncos (both at home), they should at least win.

Atlanta (-6.5) at Los Angeles | over/under 45.5

The Pick: Atlanta

The Score: Atlanta 28, Los Angeles 18

The Bets: None

SuperContest: Yes with Atlanta (-6)

This is a matchup between the best offense in the league and the worst offense in the league.

Even though the Rams have a decent defense, the Falcons have played fine on offense in road games against better defenses like the Broncos (23 points), Seahawks (24 points) and Bucs (43 points).

Since I feel like I’m getting burned by good teams on the road laying about a touchdown, I’m not putting actual money on the Falcons.

Seattle (-3) at Green Bay | over/under 46

The Pick: Green Bay

The Score: Green Bay 20, Seattle 19

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

This marquee NFC matchup is really slanted in the Packers’ favor considering they’re at home in freezing weather and Seattle has to play its first full game without Earl Thomas.

The Seahawks’ offense has been nonexistent on the road with the exception of 2 games, and the cold weather isn’t going to help. Somehow I think Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson will have good enough performances to barely win this.

Dallas (-4) at NY Giants | over/under 47.5

The Pick: NY Giants

The Score: Dallas 27, NY Giants 26

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Nice game featuring the Cowboys and the only team they’ve lost to this year. I’m rooting hard for the Giants just because I want to hear an announcer during the playoffs provide us with the screwed up logic that Dallas will beat the Giants because it’s “really hard to beat the same team three times in a season.”

I think this game will play out similar to last week’s Cowboys/Vikings game with the Giants covering but barely coming up short for the win.

This time I won’t be dumb enough to take the underdog moneyline like I did last week.

Baltimore at New England (-7) | over/under 45

The Pick: New England

The Score: New England 26, Baltimore 17

The Bets: Under (55) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with New England (-7)

Fuck the fucking Ravens.

Also, I’m pretty sure this game goes under.

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

  • Favorites are 84-99-9 against the spread through 13 weeks (including 11-4 in week 13)
  • The Point Total has landed on Over 97 times, Under 92 times, ad Pushed 3 times
  • I’m 101-85-6 against the spread

Enjoy week 14.

Week 13 NFL Picks – brought to you by the hottest gambler alive

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Everything I touched last week turned to gold. A ridiculous string of winning bets. A 10-5-1 record against the spread in my picks (bringing my season record to a 55% win rate, which is as good as the pro’s). Going something like 15-2 in my bet recommendations. And did I mention a ridiculous amount of winning bets?

Week 12 was a blast. But when the dust settled on Sunday night, the oddsmakers were already hard at work making sure week 13 isn’t nearly as fun. I’m nervous. It doesn’t feel quite as easy this week.

So be careful out there this week, and don’t get overconfident (like I’m almost definitely going to do).

Here are the week 13 picks.

Teams on Bye: Cleveland, Tennessee

Dallas (-4) at Minnesota | over/under 44

The Pick: Minnesota

The Score: Minnesota 23, Dallas 21

The Bets: Under (54) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

So I was already feeling suspicious of the obvious Dallas bet in this game. They’re coming off a gigantic home division win on Thanksgiving over Washington, and next week they play at the Giants, another gigantic division game. Tell me this doesn’t feel like the ultimate letdown or “everything goes wrong” game for the Cowboys.

The Cowboys really should realize that if they beat Minnesota, the Giants game is almost irrelevant. But I think they’ll succumb to thinking about how New York is suddenly nipping at their heels.

Statistically and logically speaking, Dallas should win and probably cover. But this is the time of year where weird shit happens.

And as you’re watching them look more like the 2015 Brandon Weeden Cowboys than this current installment, just remember that I tried to warn you, and even reminded you that Minnesota hasn’t lost a home game in regulation this year.

(Wrote all of that way before Dallas squeaked out a 17-15 win on Thursday night. Taking Minnesota with the points was the ultimate Sharp move. Feels like a good omen for the rest of the weekend.)


Kansas City at Atlanta (-4.5) | over/under 49

The Pick: Kansas City

The Score: Atlanta 26, Kansas City 23 (in OT)

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Atlanta has come through for me time after time this season, but I don’t see them doing it again in week 13. At best, they should be 3 point favorites because that’s the standard spread for two teams at a similar level of success/talent.

The fact that the KC offense hasn’t put up more than 20 points in over a month is alarming (last week’s Denver game saw a safety, a safety kick return and a FG in overtime that they were handed by Denver).

I think this game is going to overtime and I trust the Falcons offense just a bit more than the Chiefs defense in terms of pulling out a late win. But can’t pick Atlanta to cover.


Detroit at New Orleans (-5.5) | over/under 53.5

The Pick: New Orleans

The Score: New Orleans 34, Detroit 27

The Bets:Over (54) / Over (44) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

I initially thought this was a dumb line because Detroit is 7-4 and possibly playoff bound while the 5-6 Saints are a longshot to be playing meaningful football in January.

But it turns out the Lions still don’t rate out very well in the overall advanced stats. Considering Detroit has the 32nd ranked pass defense and the Saints are slightly better at #25, I think the over is pretty damn safe in this one.

Four of the Saints six home games this season have exceeded 68 total points, and the two that fell below that number were against defensive stalwarts Seattle (5th in defense) and Denver (2nd in defense).

I’m reluctant to touch either team with the point spread because the Lions have been doing a great job making sure every game is decided by 7 points or less, but if ever there was a game for them to lose by double digits, this might be it.


Los Angeles at New England (-13.5) | over/under 44.5

The Pick: Los Angeles

The Score: New England 28, Los Angeles 19

The Bets: New England (-3.5) in a 3-way tease / Over 34.5 in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

It’s probably safe to get the Patriots into a 3-way tease where you adjust the lines by 10 points. Even though it would be nice to not have someone favored by more than 3 when you’re risking so much in a teaser, I don’t think you have to worry about Jared Goff and the Rams pulling off any kind of backdoor (teaser) cover.

I also think teasing the over is super safe. Even with the Patriots rolling out a (permanently) Gronk-less offense, they’ll wander their way to 24 points at least. And since everyone should know by now that the Pats defense regularly gives QBs a career day, I think we can count on the Rams to put up a couple touchdowns.

I would put low confidence on picking LA to cover, but it feels more likely than the Pats rolling to an easy win against a solid defense in December football.


Denver (-4) at Jacksonville | Over/Under 40

The Pick: Denver

The Score: Denver 21, Jacksonville 14

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

SuperContest: No

The Jaguars have scored more than 23 points exactly one time through 11 games this year. Do you really expect them to excel against the Broncos? No, they’re going to struggle mightily.

Keep in mind this is a pissed off, suddenly-outside-the-playoff-picture Denver team (ranked 2nd in defense) facing a full-on Jacksonville dumpster fire.

Denver games have gone over the teased total of 50 just once this season in regulation. The Broncos offense is even less effective on the road than at home. And the Jags putting up 14 points might be a generous estimate.

Crush the under in this one.


Houston at Green Bay (-7) | Over/Under 45

The Pick: Green Bay

The Score: Green Bay 28, Houston 18

The Bets: Green Bay (+3) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Green Bay (-7)

So I was originally looking at lines during the Monday night game and the Packers were favored by 3.5 in this game…that woulda been awesome. Too bad they looked so decent in Philly and ruined everything. Imagine teasing them to +6.5 in this game? That train has sailed, but don’t be afraid to still tease the Packers down. They’re winning this game.

Rodgers is on an absolute roll and I think the Packers figured out that he needs to have the ball in his hands and give up on a real running game. Also, Jordy Nelson has 7+ catches in 3 of his last 4 games while having zero 7+ catch games in his first 7 games this year. Same with yards. Nelson has had 90+ in 4 of his last 5, but only had 1 such game in his first 7 games.

Houston on the road is 1-4, with their one win being a 24-21 nailbiter at the Jaguars.

The Packers are a favorite this week.


Philadelphia at Cincinnati (-1) | Over/Under 42

The Pick: Cincinnati

The Score: Cincinnati 24, Philadelphia 21 (in OT)

The Bets: Cincinnati (+9) in a 3-way tease / Under (52) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

The Eagles are 1-5 on the road, where their road win was at Chicago. Think about that. This game feels very even.

Before I knew the lines, I pegged this game as a “don’t even look at the total…automatically bet the under,” and I stand by that.


Miami at Baltimore (-3.5) | Over/Under 40.5

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Baltimore 17, Miami 14

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

SuperContest: No

This is a pretty easy under. Yeah, the Dolphins are decent on offense, almost entirely due to the running game, but the Ravens have a top 5 defense, are awesome defending the run, and have given up more than 16 points only once in their six home games this year.

-Listen, if the Dolphins don’t slip up here, they could easily be 10-4 heading into week 16. They’ve gotta lose this game, but it feels like a close one.


San Francisco at Chicago (-1) | Over/Under 43.5

The Pick: San Francisco

The Score: San Francisco 22, Chicago 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

These two teams have scored a combined 406 points this year. By comparison, the Falcons alone have scored 358 points (just 48 fewer points).

And with that, we’ll spend no further time on this game. Both teams are too volatile to rely on.


Buffalo at Oakland (-3.5) | Over/Under 49

The Pick: Buffalo

The Score: Oakland 30, Buffalo 27

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

SuperContest: No

Oakland puts up 30 points on just about everyone and they give up almost as many. This game pits the 4th ranked offense (Oakland) against the 7th ranked offense (Buffalo). This is such an obvious over game.


NY Giants at Pittsburgh (-6) | Over/Under 48

The Pick: NY Giants

The Score: Pittsburgh 25, NY Giants 20

The Bets: Giants (+16) in a 3-way tease / Under (58) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Giants (+6)

The Giants are on a 6-game win streak, but the last five have come against teams that are now under .500, and other than last week in Cleveland, they haven’t been able to beat anyone by more than a touchdown.

The Steelers look like a group who can beat non-playoff contenders (at Cleveland and Indianapolis in the last two weeks), but can’t beat contenders (4 game losing streak starting in week 6 against Miami, New England, Baltimore and Dallas).

I think this will be a close game because neither team is as good as we think they are. If anything, the Giants’ defense is the difference-maker.


Washington at Arizona (-2.5) | Over/Under 49

The Pick: Washington

The Score: Washington 24, Arizona 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest: Washington (+2.5)

I could see a way where the Cardinals win by one or two, but it’s far more likely that the Redskins offense does just enough to get the late win. I really don’t have a feel for any bets because the Skins are definitely worse on the road, but the Cardinals have only won four games all year, and two of those wins came against the 49ers.


Tampa Bay at San Diego (-3.5) | Over/Under 47.5

The Pick: San Diego

The Score: San Diego 28, Tampa Bay 18

The Bets: San Diego (+6.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with San Diego (-3.5)

I realize this should be a close game and that a lot of people will probably bet the Bucs just because they’re getting an extra half point. But something about this game screams Chargers to me. Either they win somewhat easily, or a sloppy, turnover-filled game looks more like a blowout with the final score than what really transpired.


Carolina at Seattle (-7) | Over/Under 44.5

The Pick: Seattle

The Score: Seattle 27, Carolina 17

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

SuperContest: Yes with Seattle (-7)

Seattle’s back to their old ways of being unbeatable at home.

Meanwhile, on the road, the Panthers are 1-4 with their one win coming in Los Angeles.

The Panthers won’t put up much of a fight. Maybe they play decent defense for a while, but their offense will be almost no threat and eventually the Seahawks will break through.

I think people are forgetting that if the season ended today, the Panthers would get either the 7th or 8th pick in next year’s Draft. They are REALLY bad.


Indianapolis (-2.5) at NY Jets | Over/Under 49

The Pick: Indianapolis

The Score: Indianapolis 27, NY Jets 24

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

This is a perfect 14 seconds that captures my exact thoughts about this game.

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

  • Favorites are 73-95-9 against the spread through 12 weeks (including 7-8-1 in week 12)
  • The Point Total has landed on Over 89 times, Under 85 times, and Pushed 3 times
  • I’m 94-77-6 against the spread.

Enjoy week 13.

My Rapid Fire Week 12 NFL Picks

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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.

My Heroic Week 11 NFL Picks

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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.

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.

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

most-wonderful-time-2

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.

Week 4 NFL Picks & My Gambling Rock Bottom

steelers-eagles

Over the course of an entire NFL season, even us professional bettors are due for a horrible week. There’s just no getting around the fact that in a 21 week sample size where just 267 games are played, there are bound to be some random, unexpected results.

But just like a 1-loss college football team can be either helped or hurt by when that loss takes place, so too does the timing of the rock bottom week for the professional gambler have a major effect on the overall success of the season.

Last year my gambling partner & I didn’t have our “week from hell” until late December. That meant not only did we have a bankroll to bounce back from such a shitty week, but we already had a successful formula in place for knowing which teams and matchups would likely produce the most profit for us. It was extremely easy to put that awful week behind us and continue on.

Unfortunately we just endured our 2016 rock bottom last weekend. At least I hope it was our rock bottom. I can’t imagine continuing to live if we have an even worse week on the horizon.

Since this huge letdown happened in week 3–while we were still figuring out how good & bad the various NFL teams are this year, along with their styles of play–it’s a little bit of a problem knowing if our preseason thoughts are still valid, how much stock we should put into these first few weeks, and if we were just plain lucky in 2015.

Thanks to the Steelers & Cardinals, the Teasy Money crew has been shaken to its core.

But then I take a step back and notice I’m still in first place in one of my Pick ‘Em leagues. And my against the spread record for the year is a decent 26-22. And even the bet recommendations I’ve given you in this space for the past three weeks have had more hits than misses. So it’s not all gloom & doom. I don’t think we just got lucky last year. I think week 3 will go down as one of the toughest weeks for gamblers in 2016 and we just gotta roll with the punch.

So as I keep saying in writing and on our Teasy Money podcast, I remain undeterred. Trust the process and the rest will work out.

It’s onto the week 4 picks.

Miami at Cincinnati -8 | over/under 46.5

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Cincinnati 23, Miami 18

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

I highly recommend you stay away from this game. First of all, it’s a Thursday night game. Usually that’s a good enough reason to hang onto your money until Sunday.

But it’s also very tough to get a read on either of these teams. While both could easily be 0-3 (Cincy’s one win was by 1 point against the Jets in week 1. Miami’s win was in overtime against Cleveland last weekend), they’ve each had to face a brutal opening schedule. The Bengals were at the Jets and at Pittsburgh before the week 3 home game against Denver. Miami started the year at Seattle and at New England.

Until Tyler Eifert returns and we see what this fully healthy Bengals offense looks like, I won’t be picking them to cover a full touchdown or more, regardless of who they’re playing. And be careful betting against Miami this year. They seem like the team that loses 11 games but never by more than a touchdown.

Indianapolis (-3) vs Jacksonville | over/under 49 (IN LONDON)

The Pick: Jacksonville

The Score: Jacksonville 29, Indianapolis 23

The Bets: Over (43) in a 2-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Jacksonville (+3)

If only the Colts had managed to lose in week 3 against San Diego, we’d be able to call this the “loser leaves its newly-fired coach in London” game. Initially I wanted to predict that the Colts would extinguish what little hope Jacksonville has left for the season, and Gus Bradley would indeed get fired during the team’s bye week. But the numbers just aren’t there to back up such a claim. Indy’s defense is so bad that I feel like this is the game that gets the Jags back on track, offensively speaking.

Buffalo at New England (-6) | No current over/under

The Pick: New England

The Score: New England 33, Buffalo 17

The Bets: New England (PICK) in a 2-way tease

Supercontest: No

There really is a first time for everything, huh? Never in my five years of doing this have I been unable to find a game total this late into the week. But it’s also understandable because there’s a gigantic gap between what we should expect out of New England’s offense if Jimmy Garoppolo starts at QB compared to another start by Jacoby Brissett.

What I love about the Patriots here is that they don’t play into any of the ways Buffalo has had success this season. All three of Buffalo’s offensive touchdowns last week against Arizona came on drives where they got to start around midfield. The Patriots almost never give a team the ball in such good position. Two weeks ago against the Jets, two of Buffalo’s three offensive touchdowns came on ridiculous 70+ yard touchdown passes. The Patriots almost never get burned by the long plays. And in those two games, the Bills’ defense scored a couple times on fumble recoveries or interceptions. Guess what? The Patriots don’t turn the ball over.

So good luck to sophomoric prankster Rex Ryan and his crew of shitty football players in trying to keep up with the Patriots on Sunday. My score prediction is based on Garoppolo playing. If Brissett plays instead, maybe the Patriots score three less points.

Tennessee at Houston (-5.5) | over/under 41

The Pick: Houston

The Score: Houston 23, Tennessee 14

The Bets: Houston (-5.5) straight up, Houston (+0.5) in a 2-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Houston (-5.5)

The Titans are averaging 14 points per game. Though they faced the Vikings in week 1 (one of the best defenses in football), their other two games were against Detroit (currently 31st in FootballOutsiders’ defensive DVOA rankings) and Oakland (29th in defensive DVOA).

They’re going into Houston and playing the 8th best defense this weekend. I feel like we’ll see an almost identical game as when Chicago traveled to Houston in week 1 so that’s why I’m predicting that exact same score.

And don’t worry about J.J. Watt being out. He was essentially invisible these first three weeks so if anything, the Texans might get a boost by having a healthy body take over his spot.

Oh, and the Texans are on extra rest. Bet this game confidently.

Cleveland at Washington (-8) | over/under 46

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: Washington 31, Cleveland 26

The Bets: Over (46), Over (40) in a 2-way tease

SuperContest: No

I suspect lots of money has come in on the Browns earlier this week because this line opened at Washington -10. I would have LOVED to get Cleveland with that spread. I still think the line is too high. I guessed it would be Washington -6. I think I’ll stay away from the spread, but where I’m loving a bet here is on the over!

Certainly the Browns have been nothing to write home about offensively this year (averaging 15.7 points per game on offense), but all three of the Redskins’ games have gone over the point total. And their defense is bad enough to make me think Cleveland won’t pull a “Texans at Patriots” in this one. Washington’s defense has given up 11 touchdowns in three games, and only one of them was of the cheap variety (a short field that the Giants scored on to open the game last week).

Seattle (-2.5) at NY Jets | over/under 40.5

The Pick: NY Jets

The Score: NY Jets 23, Seattle 17

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Even though the Jets’ schedule is famously impossible this year, I think they actually get a little bit of a break by playing Seattle early in the season. If this was the Seahawks of weeks 10-17 from last year, I’d confidently be betting on them here. But this current installment is a lot more like their team from weeks 1-8 last year, where they either lost on the road (at St. Louis, at Green Bay, at Cincinnati) or won in unimpressive fashion (at Dallas).

So yeah, I feel like I have no choice but to pick the Jets at home, but I’m not confident enough to put money on it.

Carolina (-3) at Atlanta | over/under 50

The Pick: Carolina

The Score: Carolina 27, Atlanta 23

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

On this week’s Teasy Money Podcast, I talked about my high level of interest in teasing the over in this game. But I’m backing away from that a little bit. Carolina’s still got a legit defense, even if it’s not as good as last year’s version, and it looks like the Atlanta receivers are pretty banged up. What I thought would be a track meet with lots of passing now looks like it could turn into two teams focused on running as much as possible.

And for as good as the Atlanta offense has been so far, they’ve gotten the luxury of facing the 21st (Tampa Bay), 29th (Oakland) and 30th (New Orleans) ranked defenses. Playing the Panthers will be a different story. No confidence on the pick or the score in this one, but I’m leaning towards Carolina.

Oakland at Baltimore (-3.5) | over/under 46.5

The Pick: Oakland

The Score: Baltimore 23, Oakland 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Go ahead and try to make sense out of this game because I can’t. Baltimore has the 5th ranked defense but the 26th ranked offense. Oakland comes into week 4 with the #1 offense in the entire league but the 29th ranked defense.

No real idea how this plays out so I’m staying away from all bets. Since the Ravens are winning ugly these days, I’m thinking they’ll win by a field goal.

Detroit (-3) at Chicago | over/under 47.5

The Pick: Chicago

The Score: Chicago 24, Detroit 19

The Bets: None

SuperContest: Yes with Chicago (+3)

Detroit feels like such an obvious pick here. So obvious, in fact, that something doesn’t smell right. The Bears haven’t put up more than 17 points in a game this year, and they happen to have a pretty bad defense. Meanwhile Detroit checks in with the 3rd best offense in the league (according to FootballOutsiders). And the Bears are missing Jay Cutler and plenty of other important players. So why is this line so low? Not sure, but not betting it.

Bonus stayaway reason: EVERYONE IN YOUR PICK ‘EM LEAGUE WILL BE BACKING DETROIT. That’s normally a recipe for disaster…you know what, as I type this and realize I’m low on the five SuperContest picks I need to make, fuck it, I’ll take Chicago.

Denver (-3.5) at Tampa Bay | over/under 43

The Pick: Tampa Bay

The Score: Tampa Bay 26, Denver 23

The Bets: Over (33) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

The way I see it, the Bucs defense probably won’t play Denver much worse than Cincy did last week. And the Tampa Bay offense is dangerous enough to put up some points, especially with the Broncos on the back end of a two-game road trip. Tampa keeps this close-ish and either wins outright or covers when they’re down by 10 late and drives for a semi-meaningless touchdown.

But instead of betting on such uncertainty, I’d much rather roll with a teased over on this game. Two solid offenses, one bad defense, and one tired, road-weary defense. Get this over down to 33 and you won’t be sorry.

Los Angeles at Arizona (-8) | over/under 43

The Pick: Los Angeles

The Score: Arizona 24, Los Angeles 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Despite the pressure I’m definitely going to get from my gambling & podcast partner to tease the Cardinals down to -2, I’m not willing to do it. The Rams get up for their division games like no other team, and Arizona is legitimately sketchy right now. I can’t imagine putting my hard-earned money on the Cardinals and having to live through three hours of their Jekyll & Hyde play. And after watching the Bills rush for 208 yards (6.5 yards per carry) on this “vaunted” Arizona defense last week, I just can’t pull the trigger on anything in this game.

I’ll gladly wait until the Cardinals get right and string together multiple games of looking good.

New Orleans at San Diego (-4) | over/under 53.5

The Pick: San Diego

The Score: San Diego 28, New Orleans 18

The Bets: Under (53.5), Under (59.5) in a 2-way tease

SuperContest: San Diego (-4)

The pick for San Diego and the under is simple if you know how the Saints perform on the road. It’s basically the exact opposite of how they play at home. Over their past nine road games, the Saints have averaged 18 points per game. If you take out road games within their division (where they generally play teams with terrible defenses), that number drops to 16 points per game. This is a large enough sample size for me. Betting the under straight up and in a teaser are must-do’s this week. And I don’t hate a bet on the Chargers at -4 (or teased to +6) either.

Dallas (-3) at San Francisco | over/under 45.5

The Pick: San Francisco

The Score: San Francisco 21, Dallas 15

The Bets: None

SuperContest: Yes with San Francisco (+3)

Similar to the Jaguars, Jets, Bears & Bucs this week, I’m taking the home underdog. Maybe I’m a sucker for thinking all five of these teams will keep it close or even win outright. In the case of the 49ers, we can’t be too down on them just yet. They dominated the Rams at home in week 1, then hit the road for impossible games at Carolina and Seattle. And they really haven’t looked as horrible as I expected.

Throw in the fact that Dez Bryant’s status is completely unknown, and that it wouldn’t be crazy for the Cowboys to overlook the 49ers as games against Cincinnati & Green Bay loom in weeks 5 & 6, and it just feels like we’re heading for an upset.

Kansas City at Pittsburgh (-5.5) | over/under 47.5

The Pick: Kansas City

The Score: Pittsburgh 17, Kansas City 13

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

So I ran through this stat on this week’s podcast: Since Kansas City’s 1st half no-show against the Chargers in week 1, their defense has allowed only one touchdown in five halves of football…and that touchdown was in Houston on a 1-play, 27-yard pass by the Texans after Alex Smith fumbled and gave them the ball basically in the red zone.

That’s great for the Chiefs defense, but on the flip side, their offense has only scored one touchdown in the past two games. So what do we make of this game? Are we looking at a ridiculous defensive game where Pittsburgh wins 10-7? Actually yeah, I do expect a low scoring game with a ton of punting, running (Le’Veon Bell returns!) and sloppy play. While throwing the Steelers into a 2-way teaser looks appealing, I’m too nervous that these teams are in the same tier of the NFL contenders and either one could win.

NY Giants at Minnesota (-5.5) | over/under 43

The Pick: NY Giants

The Score: Minnesota 19, NY Giants 16

The Bets: Under (43), Under (49) in a 2-way tease

SuperContest: No

The decent defense in this game (Giants) gets to face the decent offense, and the juggernaut defense (Vikings) gets to face the solid offense. I really can’t imagine a lot of scoring unless Eli Manning tries to one-up Ryan Fitzpatrick’s awesome interception count from week 3.

And in a game featuring two anemic offenses, it’s wise to pick the team getting a handful of points. This would be a minor shock of an upset if the Giants pull off the win, but they should be able to keep it relatively close. And if you’re seriously considering backing the Giants, I’d wait as long as possible to make the bet. It looks like the public money is already all over the Vikings, and when people are chasing their losses from Sunday, they’ll look to Minnesota to help them recoup some of it. My guess is this line goes to Minnesota -6 or 6.5 by Monday afternoon.

The under bet is one of my favorites of the week.

Here are the season-long stats I’ve been tracking:

  • Favorites are 18-29-1 against the spread (including an incredible 5-11 last week!)
  • The point total has landed on Over 25 times, Under 21 times and Pushed 2 times
  • I’m 26-22 against the spread

Enjoy week 4.

Week 3 NFL Picks & The 2 Teams Screwing Everyone

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I don’t mean to come off as a know-it-all, but I definitely know where most of us have gone wrong through the first two weeks of the NFL season, especially when it comes to picking point spread winners.

Here are the four teams from each conference that we all thought would be the best going into the season, along with their against the spread record through two weeks:

AFC

  • Pittsburgh (2-0)
  • New England (2-0)
  • Denver (2-0)
  • Cincinnati (0-2)

NFC

  • Arizona (1-1)
  • Carolina (1-1)
  • Seattle (0-2)
  • Green Bay (0-2)

Using the results of my 15-person CBS Pick ‘Em league, anyone wanna guess which two teams have screwed people over the most so far?

If you said Seattle & Green Bay…Congratulations! You’re either still feeling the sting from these teams’ terrible performances, or you know how to answer a really easy question that’s slanted towards getting a specific response.

In week 1, 13 of 15 people in my league picked Seattle to cover against the Dolphins. In week 2, all 15 of us picked them to cover against the Rams on the road (including 7 people who had Seattle as their #1 or #2 weighted game for the weekend).

For the Packers, it was 11 of 15 people backing them in week 1 when they fell just a point shy of covering in Jacksonville. And in week 2, 14 people took them on the road against the Vikings.

So while the NFL overall doesn’t feel particularly crazy or any less predictable than it’s been in years past, these two perennial Super Bowl contenders have already screwed you three or four different ways on the young season.

As you’ll see in my picks, it’s time to stay away from these teams until they show us they’re not just living on past reputation. Let’s take a look at the week 3 picks.

Houston (-1.5) at New England | over/under 40.5

The Pick: New England

The Score: New England 20, Houston 17

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

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: No

Holy shit, the Patriots are underdogs at home! Can someone find out the last time that happened, not including week 17’s in years where the Patriots were already locked into their playoff seed?

It’s very, very, VERY difficult to pick against Belichick, at home, giving less than a field goal, on a short week (for the other coaching staff)…especially when they are playing just a very good team, not a great team. Don’t get me wrong, the Texans are deserving of their 2-0 record, but it’s not like they’ve looked like world beaters.

While I think I’ll have better options that don’t cause me to secretly root against my team scoring lots of points, you could talk me into the teased under. Last year with a healthy Brady & Gronk, the Patriots went on the road and beat Houston 27-6. I see a similar amount of points being scored on Thursday night.

Arizona (-4.5) at Buffalo | over/under 47

The Pick: Arizona

The Score: Arizona 24, Buffalo 17

The Bets: Arizona (-4.5)

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: SuperContest with Arizona (-4.5)

I’m actually a little surprised that this line has hung tight at 4.5 all week. I really thought money would pour in on Arizona. After all, the public loves the Cardinals, especially after their week 2 demolishing of Tampa. And the public knows the Bills have looked terrible, the ownership has been meeting with players behind the coach’s back, and that they just fired their offensive coordinator after week 2.

Considering I’m into an Arizona bet, I’m glad the line hasn’t gone up, but still confused.

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

The Pick: Tennessee

The Score: Tennessee 23, Oakland 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: No

So the Raiders have given up 306 rushing yards on 55 carries (5.6 yards per carry) through two games. The Titans just ripped off 140 yards on 23 carries (6.1 yards per carry) in Detroit last week.

This Raiders team is plenty flawed, but it’s tough to figure out if Tennessee can really take advantage of that. The Titans went out and won their game last week, but in a more real way, the Titans watched the Lions give the game away with SEVENTEEN penalties, several of them negating scoring plays.

If you’re sane, you stay away from this game.

Washington at NY Giants (-4.5) | over/under 46.5

The Pick: Washington

The Score: NY Giants 26, Washington 22

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: No

At some point I’m going to have to decide if “backing the Redskins” is a hill I’m willing to die on. But in week 3, I remain undeterred. The NFC East continues to be synonymous with mediocrity. So regardless of the 0-2 / 2-0 records at play here, the right spread is Giants -3. Gimme some more Washington and keep your snarky comments to yourselves.

Cleveland at Miami (-10) | over/under 42

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: Miami 26, Cleveland 20

The Bets: Over (31.5) in a 3-way teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: No

You couldn’t pay me enough to make a bet on this point spread. That’s right. If you gave me a free bet on either side of this–I keep the profits but take on none of the risk–I would politely decline. But c’mon, you know I’m picking against Ryan Tannehill as a gigantic favorite.

More importantly: Tease this over down to 31.5. I promise you that Miami will get to ~26 themselves. Even a Browns team starting Cody Kessler (with Charlie Whitehurst looming over everything) will probably scratch & claw its way to seven points.

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

The Pick: Baltimore

The Score: Baltimore 24, Jacksonville 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: No

So a 2-0 team that’s an annual playoff contender is only favored by 1 against an 0-2 team that’s perennially at the bottom of the league standings? Would that be because the Ravens are winning in really ugly fashion (which is almost always their recipe for success) while the public still has a half-chub for the Jaguars? Cool. I’ll take Baltimore.

Detroit at Green Bay (-8) | over/under 48

The Pick: Detroit

The Score: Green Bay 25, Detroit 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: SuperContest with Detroit (+8)

I definitely want to pick against Green Bay because I don’t think they can beat many teams by eight points right now, but I have to at least pause and consider the fact that the Packers haven’t played a home game yet. That could cure some of the offensive problems.

In 2015, this would have been a safe spot to tease Green Bay down to -2 and pre-spend the winnings, but they’re sketchy as hell right now. I’ll stay away from a betting standpoint, and I’ll certainly be prepared to hate the Lions after they screw up this pick.

Denver at Cincinnati (-3.5) | over/under 41

The Pick: Cincinnati

The Score: Cincinnati 24, Denver 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: SuperContest with Cincinnati (-3.5)

The Broncos have to take their show on the road for the first time this season, meaning at least a slightly worse defense, Trevor Siemian dealing with crowd noise, and maybe the refs don’t make 100% of the favorable calls go in Denver’s favor.

I loved Cincy earlier in the week when it was -3, but the extra half point is terrifying. The Bengals need this game so much more than the Broncos (if Pittsburgh moves to 3-0 and Cincy falls to 1-2, say goodbye to the division). That’s the tiebreaker for me.

Minnesota at Carolina (-7) | over/under 43

The Pick: Carolina

The Score: Carolina 27, Minnesota 10

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: SuperContest with Carolina (-7) / Carolina is my #3 Survivor option

This is crazy. If you told me four weeks ago that the Vikings would be playing in Carolina with Sam Bradford as its starting quarterback, Adrian Peterson not on the field and they lost their starting left tackle after week 2, I would tell you that Carolina should be favored by 13 and that I’d be making a sizeable wager on the Panthers.

Now, is there a chance that the Vikings are only 2-0 because they beat a terrible Titans team and an underachieving Packers team and we’re about to see them get absolutely smoked by the first good opponent they face? Yes. That could definitely happen. And in fact, I’m basing my pick on this exact scenario playing out on Sunday. 

Remember, the Vikings were only able to put up 17 points at home against Green Bay last week. They should be even worse on the road.

Los Angeles at Tampa Bay (-5.5) | over/under 42

The Pick: Los Angeles

The Score: Tampa Bay 23, Los Angeles 19

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

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: No

I don’t think the Rams’ offensive woes get cured in any way this coming Sunday, but I do think their defense will make life somewhat difficult for Jameis Winston and the Bucs’ offensive line. Another game where you just throw your hands up and keep your money in your wallet.

San Francisco at Seattle (-9) | over/under 40

The Pick: San Francisco

The Score: Seattle 21, San Francisco 18

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

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: No

A sane person could talk themselves into either side of this spread. Seattle certainly hasn’t earned the respect to be backed while laying so many points. But you can also see how this could be the game that gets them on track. If they were going to shut down a team and dominate, this would be one you could picture it happening to.

Ultimately, it’s too big of a spread to take a really bad-looking Seahawks team. Last year (and even in week 1 this year), I would have been all over Seattle in a 3-way tease where they go to a +1, but I feel like I don’t even know this current installment of that obnoxious team from the Northwest.

Love me some under teased in this game though. Get on it.

NY Jets at Kansas City (-3) | over/under 43

The Pick: NY Jets

The Score: Kansas City 24, NY Jets 23

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: No

Sorry, Jets. I’m not getting tricked into thinking what we saw against the sinking Bills is going to be a regular occurrence. I don’t think the offense does nearly as well against decent teams like the Chiefs.

San Diego at Indianapolis (-3) | over/under 52

The Pick: Indianapolis

The Score: Indianapolis 29, San Diego 17

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: No

 

I had this whole paragraph ready about how I can see the Chargers winning a close game, and how incredibly embarrassing that would be for the Colts. And also how I was loving the teased over from a betting standpoint. But as I thought more & more about the Chargers and their injuries, and heard that even Antonio Gates might be out this week, I had to change courses quickly.

Even Philip Rivers teams have a point of no return with injuries, and I think this is the game where the spare tires fall off for the San Diego offense.

Already looking forward to Chuck Pagano crying in the locker room after this win and telling his team it was the most important game of their lives. Can’t wait.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Philadelphia | over/under 46

The Pick: Pittsburgh

The Score: Pittsburgh 34, Philadelphia 17

The Bets: Pittsburgh (-3.5)

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: SuperContest with Pittsburgh (-3.5) / Pittsburgh is my #1 Survivor option

The Steelers might be my favorite pick this week. I said it on the Teasy Money Podcast (check it out on iTunes!) and I’ll say it again: I think the Steelers are about to show us exactly what happens when an awesome team faces a team that isn’t nearly as good as their 2-0 start makes it look.

Chicago at Dallas (-7) | over/under 44.5

The Pick: Dallas

The Score: Dallas 24, Chicago 16

The Bets: Dallas (-1 or +3) in a 2-way or 3-way teaser / Under 55.5 in a 3-way teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: Dallas is my #2 Survivor option

I’ve got the under hitting by 4.5 points so I’m clearly liking that. Brian Hoyer isn’t a good quarterback, but he is a guy who can probably move the ball reasonably well when equipped with Jeffrey-White-Royal as his receivers. I don’t think Dallas really wants to get into a high-scoring game with anyone right now. Watch them run on the Bears over and over and over.

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

The Pick: Atlanta

The Score: New Orleans 30, Atlanta 28

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

SuperContest or Survivor Pool: No

Sure, I’ll keep going with the teased over (43.5 in this case) in New Orleans until it proves me wrong.

A couple facts about games in New Orleans:

  • In 2015, the average total points per game was 64.
  • This includes an astonishing five games that had more than 62 points.
  • In 2014, the total points per game was a more modest 52.25.
  • But since we’re talking about the teased over of 43.5, here’s how many of the last 17 games played in New Orleans went under that total: 1.

Don’t be an idiot. And don’t be scared that I lost you a bunch of money last week by assuring you the Giants/Saints over would hit. This is definitely happening. (Unless the Thursday night & Sunday night games are especially thrilling. Then all bets are off because the NFL is contractually obligated to never have all three of its PrimeTime games be awesome in a single week.)

If you’re into tracking season-long stats, here’s what I’ve got for you:

  • Favorites are 13-18-1 against the spread
  • The point total has landed on Over 16 times, Under 14 times, and Pushed 1 time
  • I’m 17-15 against the spread with my picks

Enjoy week 3.

Week 2 NFL Picks: Beware the Abundance of Heavy Favorites

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My intro to the Week 2 picks is purely self-promotion. Shameless, unadulterated self-promotion. I know you greatly enjoy reading my picks every week, but if that’s the only interaction you have with my incredible football insight, you’re missing out big time. You need to be listening to the Teasy Money weekly podcast where me & my cohosts go through all the upcoming games and identify our favorite bets. This is your behind-the-scenes look at how 2.5 gambling pros come to their rock solid conclusions every week before placing their winning bets.

You can actually subscribe to the Teasy Money podcast on iTunes and never miss a new episode. I think you can also subscribe on SoundCloud.

But the most important thing you can do is follow the Teasy Money twitter handle: @TeasyMoneyNFL, or my twitter handle: @rossgariepy, or my podcast partner’s twitter handle: @matysugs. This is where you’ll get updated on Friday & Saturday every week about our final bets, SuperContest picks, and other general bullshit that we find interesting about the NFL.

And yes, we made a solid profit in week 1. So saddle up and get ready for the awesome ride that awaits you as long as you’re willing to put 100% of your faith in us.

Here are the week 2 picks.

NY Jets (-1) at Buffalo | over/under 40.5

The Pick: NY Jets

The Score: NY Jets 33, Buffalo 16

The Bets: NY Jets -1

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: SuperContest with Jets (-1)

I’m on the Jets in this one. Just think the Jets offense will easily move the ball on a defense as mediocre (at least with current players missing) as Buffalo. And Sammy Watkins is…what is he? On the verge of being IR’d, but now toughing it out on short rest? Not buying it. How is Buffalo going to score any points?

I’ve actually already placed a bet on this one.

San Francisco at Carolina (-14) | over/under 45.5

The Pick: Carolina

The Score: Carolina 26, San Francisco 10

The Bets: Carolina (-4) in a 3-way teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: Carolina’s a Survivor Pool option

Obvious part of a 3-team teaser. I feel like Carolina revealed their true selves last Thursday in Denver. Their offense will have games of looking like one of the better units in the league against mediocre defenses, and their defense will only get exposed by teams that have multiple really good offensive weapons.

Do not be fooled by San Francisco’s Monday night game. And definitely don’t forget Carolina has extra rest with their game being on Thursday and the 49ers playing on Monday.

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

The Pick: Washington

The Score: Washington 26, Dallas 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

Based on Washington’s preferred defensive philosophy that was on display this past Monday, they’re going to have their Pro Bowl cornerback make sure Dallas’ #2 wide receiver, Terrance Williams, doesn’t have a huge day–kind of fail at that too actually–and then let Dez Bryant go off for 130 yards and a couple touchdowns, all the while paying no attention to Ezekiel Elliott, who will be ripping off big gains every couple plays.

Throw in an embarrassing number of offensive penalties and a seemingly-impossible amount of bad luck with any kind of 50/50 bounce of the football, and you get that shitshow that the Skins “displayed” on Monday.

No, they’ll be better. Almost have to be. I’m sticking with my preseason feeling that Washington’s a 10-game winner and Dallas is crap.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-3) | over/under 48.5

The Pick: Cincinnati

The Score: Pittsburgh 28, Cincinnati 27

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: SuperContest with Cincinnati (+3)

Wish I had a cool stat about these two division rivals having played five games in a row decided by a field goal or less, but apparently it’s not like that. In the last six games between the Steelers and Bengals, only one has been decided by four or less. But I’m picking Cincy still because this matchup should be even tighter than a 3-point win.

I like watching Pittsburgh’s offense operating, and it’s obviously fun watching perfect pass & catch between Roethlisberger & Brown, but I’m not buying the Steelers as the infallible team/offense that everyone came into the season expecting, and has only had their opinion reinforced after week 1.

New Orleans at NY Giants (-4.5) | over/under 53

The Pick: New Orleans

The Score: New Orleans 28, NY Giants 26

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

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

As has been the case for a couple years running now, you already don’t wanna try to nail down either of these teams in terms of consistency and what level they’ll play at. So I’m leaving the spread alone. But doesn’t this feel like a shootout in the making? I’ll definitely be putting the over into a 3-way teaser.

Taking the Saints with the points because three seems like a more appropriate number for this game.

Miami at New England (-6.5) | over/under 42.5

The Pick: New England

The Score: New England 30, Miami 10

The Bets: New England (-0.5) in a 2-way teaser / New England (+3.5) in a 3-way teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: SuperContest with New Engand (-6.5), New England’s a Survivor Pool option

I know I’m setting myself up for a gigantic disappointment, but I have that feeling in my body this week. That sneaky over-excited feeling that precedes a game with all the makings of a blowout.

While both teams are traveling back to the East Coast after games out West, at least the Patriots got to go home and stay home. Miami had to jump right back on a plane a few days later. (I’m assuming they went back to Miami in between, but who knows?)

And yeah, I could see certain teams having a huge letdown if they were the Patriots coming off such a big win in week 1. But Bill Belichick doesn’t really allow letdowns to happen, and I’m sure plenty of people reminded Jimmy Garoppolo this week that it was only one game.

Kansas City at Houston (-2) | over/under 43.5

The Pick: Houston

The Score: Houston 24, Kansas City 20

The Bets: Over (33.5) in a 3-way teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

Forget about which of these teams you like more over the course of the year. For this particular week, the Texans seem to be in much better shape than the Chiefs, and they’re at home. Kansas City won in ridiculous comeback fashion in week 1, 100% due to the fact that the Chargers’ best offensive player went from destroying the KC defense in the 1st half to out with a torn ACL in the 2nd half. I was nervous about a defense without Justin Houston and a slowly-coming-along Tamba Hali, and it seems like for at least a little while, good teams can put up points on the Chiefs.

The Texans looked pretty much how I expected in their first test, a home win against Chicago. I like Houston giving less than a field goal, and I really like the over.

Tennessee at Detroit (-6) | over/under 47.5

The Pick: Detroit

The Score: Detroit 27, Tennessee 14

The Bets: Detroit (PICK) in a two-way teaser / Detroit (+4) in a 3-way teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: SuperContest with Detroit (-6), Detroit’s a Survivor Pool option

I have absolutely no feel for the total in this one. You could see the Lions scoring almost 47 on their own, but you definitely cannot put any faith in the Titans to pitch in with very much.

I do like the Lions to win by a touchdown, and I think they’ll establish in this game that they can beat up pretty good on the weaker teams of the NFL, especially at home.

Baltimore (-7) at Cleveland | over/under 42.5

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: Baltimore 21, Cleveland 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

Every week there’s that early Sunday game that just doesn’t get shown on the Red Zone Channel. Buffalo at Baltimore was that game in week 1. So I have no idea what to make of the Ravens. But while I won’t touch this game from a betting standpoint, I can promise you I’m picking against the Ravens laying seven points on the road in a divisional game.

Seattle (-7) at Los Angeles | over/under 39

The Pick: Los Angeles

The Score: Los Angeles 19, Seattle 15

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

Fuck this game. I’m a little bitter about my awful Seahawks bet last week combined with me paying a large sum of auction money to own Russell Wilson in fantasy. Not happy with the current state of Seattle.

This line is just absurd. Had Seattle won last week by 35, I wouldn’t have expected them to be a full touchdown favorite in this game just as long as LA played a reasonably decent game in week 1. Obviously, they didn’t. So the public will be lining up to bury the Rams in this one.

Complete stayaway for me, but LA gets the nod in my pick ‘em leagues.

Tampa Bay at Arizona (-7) | over/under 50

The Pick: Tampa Bay

The Score: Arizona 29, Tampa Bay 24

The Bets: Over (44) in a 2-way tease, Over (40) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

Force me to make a pick, and I’m taking the Bucs. The offensive weapons they have should allow them to either keep it close throughout, or make a just-not-enough comeback in the 4th quarter if the Cardinals are playing a soft “keep everything in front of us” defense.

But it feels completely impossible to form a conclusion about Tampa Bay’s offense after they faced Atlanta’s mockery of a defense on Sunday.

Jacksonville at San Diego (-3) | over/under 47

The Pick: Jacksonville

The Score: San Diego 27, Jacksonville 24

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

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

The over in a 3-way teaser seems like a gimme. The Chargers being at home and facing an easier defense than they got in week 1 will compensate for the loss of Keenan Allen just fine. And the Jags are going to either put up points because they’re a good, competitive team, or because they’ll be down by 14+ points and will revert to last year’s garbage time champions.

As for the spread, I’ll take a push.

Atlanta at Oakland (-5) | over/under 50

The Pick: Oakland

The Score: Oakland 28, Atlanta 14

The Bets: Under (60) in a 3-way teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

I don’t think this is a slam dunk over. Atlanta put up 24 points (only two touchdowns) at home against a below average defense. Put them on the road against what should be at least an average defense, and there’s a real chance they don’t crack 17 points. So you have to rely on Oakland putting up 33+ in a game that could become uncompetitive.

Indianapolis at Denver (-6.5) | over/under 46.5

The Pick: Denver

The Score: 25, Indianapolis 16

The Bets: Denver (-0.5) in a 2-way teaser / Denver (+3.5) in a 3-way teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: SuperContest with Denver (-6), Denver’s a Survivor Pool option

Listen, for the time being, Indy has a particularly generous defense and a one-dimensional offense. Denver, especially at home, should feast on those teams this year. Nothing the Colts can do should be able to confuse Trevor Siemian any more than Carolina was able to. And a team with three good cornerbacks and a great pass rush should create a long day for Andrew Luck.

In fact, the only thing the Colts do well on offense is throw deep. And what can you usually not do when you have an all-world pass rush coming at you snap after snap? Take the time to set up your deep routes and have the QB scan the field for the perfect matchup.

Also, Denver is on extra rest.

Green Bay (-3) at Minnesota | over/under 44

The Pick: Minnesota

The Score: Green Bay 23, Minnesota 20

The Bets: Under (54) in a 3-way teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

If you learn only one thing early on in this season, please let it be that the Vikings played in a lot of games that went under last year, and they’ll play in even more this year. That’s what you get when a team has a really good defense but an inept offense.

This is a game where I wait for the line to bump up to Minnesota +3.5, and I bet them. It feels like someone’s winning this game by three, and I’m positive that later in the week, the public will start sending money in on Green Bay. We will get this spread at Vikings +3.5.

Philadelphia at Chicago (-3) | over/under 43

The Pick: Chicago

The Score: Chicago 28, Philadelphia 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

I’m reasonably confident that the Eagles will be as bad as I thought they’d be prior to week 1, but I’m not putting any weight behind this pick because I need to see Chicago do a little more before I put them in that “mediocre” category.

Those are your week 2 bets. Did I mention that you can check me out on Twitter (@TeasyMoneyNFL or @rossgariepy) later in the week for my finalized bets? And that there’s a podcast called Teasy Money that you can listen to?

Enjoy week 2.