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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NFL WildCard Picks

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Though I lost plenty of money on ridiculous teaser bets throughout the regular season, these last four months proved I’m doing something right when it comes to researching my weekly picks and predictions.

Not only did I win a very competitive pick ‘em league (by going 13-3 against the spread in week 17), but I also put up my best season yet in terms of ATS record: 143-106-7. Professionals try to be right 55% of the time. I just put up a 57.4% season.

I’m not bragging just for bragging sake (though I am a little). I’m also writing this to remind myself not to change up the process and not to get sucked into the extra loud narratives that will be played up in the media over the next four weeks. As they say in Philly…trust the process.

Without further ado, here are my Wildcard picks with a bonus Prop Bet included.

Oakland at Houston (-4) | over/under 37

The Pick: Oakland

The Score: Houston 21, Oakland 20

The Bets: Oakland (+4) / Oakland (+14) in a 3-way tease

I feel like I sniffed out some good value here. There are only two things I had to remind myself before making this pick.

  1. The Raiders went 12-4 with the 5th hardest schedule in the league while the Texans went 9-7 with the NFL’s 12th easiest schedule. Derek Carr alone doesn’t account for the difference between these two teams.
  2. No matter who is playing QB for Oakland, it’s not like we’re talking about a matchup of a Ben Roethlisberger-type against Oakland’s 3rd stringer. The guy only needs to be “almost as good as Osweiler” for Oakland to have a chance. “Almost as good as Osweiler” is the same as saying “every living adult male on planet earth.”

Bonus Note: If you had to bet your life on 1 player taking over this game, wouldn’t it be Khalil Mack? I’m not saying he will, but it’s much more likely than expecting any Texans defender or a guy like DeAndre Hopkins to steal the show (we’ve had a whole season to learn that there is no Osweiler-to-Hopkins connection even though they should be a perfect fit for each other).

I know for sure the Raiders are covering. I just don’t know if they can win outright.

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

The Pick: Seattle

The Score: Seattle 23, Detroit 14

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

It feels like I’m being generous projecting the Lions to score 14 points, which makes me uber confident in the under since the Seahawks don’t really have the firepower to drop 30 on anyone these days.

As I’m writing this on Thursday, I don’t see how I possibly bet either team with the spread. Sure, it’s the Lions on the road in the playoffs. Considering they couldn’t keep a home game against Green Bay competitive last week when a lot was at stake, you could easily argue the Seahawks should win this by double digits. But at the same time, when was the last game that Seattle really impressed you?

Miami at Pittsburgh (-10) | over/under 46

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Pittsburgh 30, Miami 23

The Bets: Pittsburgh (pick) in a 3-way tease / Over (46) / Over (36) in a 3-way tease

The over in this game feels like one of the easiest bets of the weekend. There’s no way these teams aren’t both scoring into the 20’s. I will remind you that Matt Moore is not much of a downgrade from Ryan Tannehill.

It feels way too easy to throw the Steelers in a tease, but that’s the reality of things. Though the Dolphins beat the Steelers in Miami earlier this year, I’m gonna go out on a limb and call that game a fluke (Roethlisberger got injured in that game). They couldn’t beat another decent team all year.

Meanwhile, the Steelers’ only home loss with a healthy Roethlisberger was a 35-30 close call against the Cowboys. No shame in that at all.

They’ll go ahead and handle such a mediocre team, even if the Dolphins secure the backdoor cover.

NY Giants at Green Bay (-4.5) | over/under 44.5

The Pick: NY Giants

The Score: Green Bay 23, NY Giants 19

The Bets: NY Giants (+14.5) in a 3-way tease

My least confident pick. My research had both the spread and the total landing right near the numbers that have been set. I would say I’m going to avoid betting this game and just try to enjoy what might be the only good matchup of Wildcard Weekend, but I know my betting-partner-in-crime from the Teasy Money podcast won’t stand for that. He’s an overconfident Giants fan so he’ll gladly tease New York up to +14.5 with me.

As for my prop bets, I actually don’t like too much.

Who will record the most passing yards during Wildcard Weekend?

  • Ben Roethlisberger (+200 odds) – He’s the odds on favorite for a reason. He’s going up against a shitty pass D that Tom Brady just torched on the road. And that game is easily expected to be the highest-scoring game of the weekend. I think this is such an obvious bet.
  • Russell Wilson (+500) – I think I’m putting a bet on Roethlisberger and Wilson, knowing I have to lose 1 of those bets. Since the Lions rank dead last in pass D according to FootballOutsiders’ DVOA metric, and the fact that Seattle just doesn’t have many other offensive weapons right now, I could see Wilson throwing a lot in this game.

And finally, if you don’t mind getting -300 odds on something, I’d say the prop bet of “Under 1.5 Wildcard teams will win this weekend” is pretty much a lock. I could see the Raiders or the Giants winning, but not both.
Enjoy Wildcard Weekend.

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 15 NFL Picks

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Well, it’s Saturday and I’m just finally posting my week 15 picks. Life sucks because it keeps getting in the way of my usual football research & writing routine. Oh well. As of the time I’m posting this, there are still 20 hours to get your bets in for the Sunday games. Get on it.

Here are the week 15 picks (yes I realize some of the games have absolutely no commentary this week).

Los Angeles at Seattle (-16) | over/under 38.5

The Pick: Seattle

The Score: Seattle 29, Los Angeles 10

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

SuperContest: No

Absolutely crazy to back a 16-point favorite in an NFL game. But the Rams and other exceptionally awful teams like Cleveland and San Francisco have made this a crazy betting season.

Getting the Seahawks into a 3-way, 10-point tease is a must-do.

Miami (-3) at NY Jets | over/under 38

The Pick: NY Jets

The Score: NY Jets 21, Miami 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

For whatever reason, I was ultra confident in the Jets to cover in San Francisco last week, and I’m jumping right back in. Ryan Tannehill’s injury affects my thinking on this game almost 0%. It’s the end of the line for the Dolphins.

Tennessee at Kansas City (-5.5) | over/under 41.5

The Pick: Tennessee

The Score: Kansas City 24, Tennessee 19

The Bets: Kansas City (+0.5 or +4.5) in a 2-way or 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Wow. Really feel like this game is going to play out exactly how the Vegas line suggests. Can’t get a read on a straight up bet here.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Cincinnati | over/under 44.5

The Pick: Cincinnati

The Score: Cincinnati 24, Pittsburgh 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest: Yes with Cincinnati (+3.5)

Just feels like a half point too high for a December divisional game where the home team is playing for pride and to keep their biggest rival from getting closer to a playoff spot.

Detroit at NY Giants (-4) | over/under 40.5

The Pick: NY Giants

The Score: NY Giants 25, Detroit 19

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Feels like this is a matchup of the NFL’s two luckiest teams. But really the Lions are by far the luckier of the two. Detroit has no business having won 9 games.

Indianapolis at Minnesota (-4.5) | over/under 45.5

The Pick: Indianapolis

The Score: Minnesota 21, Indianapolis 20

The Bets: Under (55.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Colts on the road against a good defense + Indy’s defense making people like Brock Osweiler look semi-competent…immediately liked Minnesota.

After a long look at these two teams, I feel good about the Vikings winning, but not by more than 4 points.

Jacksonville at Houston (-5) | over/under 39.5

The Pick: Jacksonville

The Score: Houston 20, Jacksonville 17

The Bets: Jacksonville (+15) in a 3-way tease / Under (49.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Overreaction line to the Texans taking it to Indy on the road? As is customary in AFC South matchups, this is going to be ugly, probably particularly low-scoring.

Where are the points coming from in this game?

Green Bay (-6) at Chicago | over/under 38.5

The Pick: Chicago

The Score: Green Bay 24, Chicago 18

The Bets: Green Bay (+4) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Cleveland at Buffalo (-10.5) | over/under 41.5

The Pick: Buffalo

The Score: Buffalo 28, Cleveland 16

The Bets: Buffalo (-0.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Buffalo (-10.5)

The Bills in a 3-way tease is probably my favorite teaser component of the week. The Buffalo offense has really only played 3 bad offensive games all year. They’ll get close to 30 in this one, and there’s just no way the Browns can hang.

Philadelphia at Baltimore (-6) | over/under 40.5

The Pick: Philadelphia

The Score: Baltimore 20, Philadelphia 15

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

SuperContest: No

The Eagles are 2-8 in their last 10 games and they’ve given up 24 points or more in all 8 of those losses (and under 24 in the 2 wins).

The numbers say Philly will cover, but the gut instinct is that the Ravens are significantly better and they should probably be the pick as long as they’re giving up less than a touchdown.

I say ignore the line and focus on the UNDER. Lock that into a teaser right now.

San Francisco at Atlanta (-13) | over/under 50.5

The Pick: San Francisco

The Score: Atlanta 35, San Francisco 23

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

SuperContest: No

New Orleans at Arizona (-3) | over/under 50.5

The Pick: Arizona

The Score: Arizona 27, New Orleans 23

The Bets: None

SuperContest: Yes with Arizona (-3)

Oakland (-3) at San Diego | over/under 49

The Pick: San Diego

The Score: Oakland 28, San Diego 26

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

SuperContest: No

Even though the shine’s come off the Chargers after losing 4 of their last 6, most of their games still see a lot of points. I’m confident the over will hit, but I’m extraordinarily confident the teased over of 39 will hit.

New England (-3.5) at Denver | over/under 44

The Pick: Denver

The Score: New England 23, Denver 20

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

SuperContest: No

Tampa Bay at Dallas (-7) | over/under 47

The Pick: Tampa Bay

The Score: Tampa Bay 25, Dallas 24

The Bets: Tampa Bay (+17) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Tampa Bay (+7)

Carolina at Washington (-6.5) | over/under 51.5

The Pick: Washington

The Score: Washington 31, Carolina 21

The Bets: Washington (-0.5 or +3.5) in a 2-way or 3-way tease / Over (41.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Washington (-6.5)

Possibly my favorite straight up bet of the week is Washington. They’re good for 30 at home, and the Panthers are 1-5 on the road and have essentially been stuck on 20ish points per game away from North Carolina.

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

  • Favorites are 92-106-10 against the spread (including 8-7-1 in week 14)
  • The Point Total has landed on Over 104 times, Under 101 times, and Pushed 3 times
  • I’m 111-90-7 against the spread

Enjoy week 15.

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

AP PACKERS REDSKINS FOOTBALL S FBN USA MD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pick: New Orleans

The Score: Carolina 25, New Orleans 24

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

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

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

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

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

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 24

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

SuperContest: No

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

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

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

I think the Browns will come up just short.

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

The Pick: Dallas

The Score: Dallas 26, Baltimore 17

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

SuperContest: Yes with Dallas (-7)

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

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

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

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

The Pick: Jacksonville

The Score: Detroit 31, Jacksonville 25

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

SuperContest: No

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

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

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

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

The Pick: Tennessee

The Score: Tennessee 33, Indianapolis 27

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

SuperContest: No

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pick: Buffalo

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

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

SuperContest: Yes with Buffalo (+3)

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

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

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

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

The Pick: Tampa Bay

The Score: Kansas City 21, Tampa Bay 18

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

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

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

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

The Pick: Chicago

The Score: NY Giants 23, Chicago 16

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

SuperContest: No

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

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

The Pick: Minnesota

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

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

SuperContest: No

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

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

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

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Miami 25, Los Angeles 13

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

SuperContest: Yes with Miami (-2)

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

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

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

The Pick: San Francisco

The Score: New England 29, San Francisco 20

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

SuperContest: No

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

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

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

The Pick: Seattle

The Score: Seattle 23, Philadelphia 16

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

SuperContest: Yes with Seattle (-7)

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

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

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

The Pick: Washington

The Score: Washington 29, Green Bay 24

The Bets: Washington (-3)

SuperContest: Yes with Washington (-3)

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

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

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

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

The Pick: Houston

The Score: Houston 23, Oakland 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

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

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

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

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

Enjoy week 11.

Week 10 NFL Picks

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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

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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 3 NFL Picks & The 2 Teams Screwing Everyone

seahawks-packers-rodgers-wilson

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.

Week 1 NFL Picks: It’s Finally Here!!

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I know you all have gotten really used to my weekly NFL picks column over the last few years, but I’m trying something slightly different in 2016. Of course I’m still going to make my best prediction on the point spread for every game. Don’t worry about that going away. But while I was racking up an incredible profit from football gambling last year, I realized my loyal readers were missing out on plenty of great advice. I wasn’t giving you my favorite teaser bets of the week. I wasn’t consistently telling you which point spread picks ranked higher for me than others each week. So that’s the change you’ll see this year.

On top of the normal picks and the ridiculously witty comments for each game, I’m also delivering my favorite bets (if any) and whether I’d consider a certain team for my Survivor Pool pick or my SuperContest picks (the SuperContest involves picking just five games against the spread each week).

As you can probably guess after seeing six articles posted by me in the last three days, I’m over-the-top excited for the start of football season.

Let’s kick things off with the week 1 picks:

Carolina (-3) at Denver | over/under 40.5

The Pick: Carolina

The Score: Carolina 24, Denver 17

The Bets: Carolina -3

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: Yes to SuperContest with Carolina (-3)

I don’t see this going very well for Denver. At least in the beginning of the season, their offense should struggle to crack 20 points a game. Carolina scored less than 20 points on the road just once in 2015 (it happened to be their one loss, week 16 in Atlanta). And there was a road game in Seattle where the Panthers offense methodically marched down the field on three of their four scoring drives and patiently dismantled the Seahawk defense. So they can do it to an awesome defense.

I know we all want money down on the very first game, but for me this is either a stayaway, or 1 unit on the Panthers by 3.

Green Bay (-6) @ Jacksonville | over/under 48

The Pick: Jacksonville

The Score: Green Bay 24, Jacksonville 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

Can’t Jacksonville at least keep this to a 3-point loss at home? They should be better all around, Green Bay may need to work off a little rust, and I’m reluctant to pick against a decent home team before we have any facts about this season.

But there’s really nothing you could do to get me to actually bet this game. Such a wildcard.

San Diego at Kansas City (-7) | over/under 44.5

The Pick: San Diego

The Score: Kansas City 23, San Diego 17

The Bets: Kansas City (-1) in a 2-team teaser / Kansas City (+3) in a 3-team teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: Kansas City #2 Survivor Pool Pick

I don’t love a divisional matchup in week 1 with a team favored by a touchdown, even if it is this particular matchup of a real contender against a (best case scenario) mediocre team. Did you know that the Chiefs’ defense has ranked in the top 5 in total sacks in each of Andy Reid’s three seasons as head coach? And the year before, when they went 4-12, they were dead last in sacks? I bring this up because Justin Houston is definitely not healthy, and Tamba Hali might not be healthy. I want to see what this defense looks like with a much weaker pass rush.

While the under feels like an OK play here, I’m only comfortable using KC in a teaser to get them to a -1 or better.

Oakland at New Orleans (-1) | over/under 51

The Pick: New Orleans

The Score: New Orleans 31, Oakland 26

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

This game was always a stayaway in terms of the point spread, but I was ready to throw the over in a 3-team teaser. I’ve soured on that in the last two days. I have enough good options to avoid feeling terrible the moment I place a certain bet.

Cincinnati (-3) at NY Jets | over/under 41.5

The Pick: NY Jets

The Score: NY Jets 24, Cincinnati 23

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

You can think the Jets are going to struggle to get to eight wins this year and still pick them to win this game. Those two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive. Yes, the Jets’ ridiculous schedule will take its toll and there’s just no way Ryan Fitzpatrick is allowed to make the playoffs, apparently, but they will have some good games with an offense featuring Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Matt Forte. They also had a top 5 defense last year.

And I’m on record as being concerned about the Bengals missing Mohamed Sanu & Marvin Jones (on new teams), Tyler Eifert (injured) and Hue Jackson (coaching the Browns)…all of whom were significant contributors to Cincy’s offense the past couple years.

Minor concern that we walk away from this game staring at an A.J. Green stat line of 9 catches, 165 yards, 2 touchdowns…and realizing Darrelle Revis is getting a little old.

Cleveland at Philadelphia (-4) | over/under 41

The Pick: Cleveland

The Score: Cleveland 17, Philadelphia 16

The Bets: Under (51) in a 3-team teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: Hell No

For those keeping score at home, it looks like Vegas is saying the public thinks Sam Bradford was only worth two more points than Carson Wentz.

I really liked Cleveland when it was Philly -6, but I could easily see one of those thrilling 9-6 wins for either team so I’ll stick with the Browns. It feels like futile work to really sit and think about how this game will play out. While both defenses are shitty enough to let up a lot of points, neither offense can come close to taking advantage. That’s why I’m throwing the point total into a teaser that gets the under to 51.

Minnesota (-2) at Tennessee | over/under 41

The Pick: Tennessee

The Score: Tennessee 19, Minnesota 17

The Bets: Under (41) or even better, Under (51) as part of a 3-team teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

Does it feel like the Titans are constantly screwing up your Survivor Pool on the first week of the season? That’s because in 2013 they upset the Steelers in Pittsburgh and then in 2014 went into Kansas City and routed the Chiefs. Add in last year’s big win for Marcus Mariota facing off against Jameis Winston in week 1, and the Titans are very randomly 3-0 in their last three week 1 games. Do yourself a favor and leave Minnesota out of any straight up picks this weekend.

Jump in on this under because I promise you we aren’t going to be using the word “explosive” to describe either team’s offense any time soon.

Chicago at Houston (-6) | over/under 44

The Pick: Chicago

The Score: Houston 23, Chicago 20

The Bets: Houston (PICK) in a 2-team teaser with KC

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: Houston #3 Survivor Pool Pick

I don’t doubt that Houston wins this game, so go ahead and use them in your Survivor Pool if you are trying to overthink things just a tiny bit. With the line increasing 2 points last week, probably because it’s being said that J.J. Watt will play, I’m grabbing the Bears. My assumption is that Watt won’t be nearly 100%, but Vegas knew it could count on an influx of Houston bets once that news broke regardless of the line.

There’s something especially difficult to figuring out the flow of this game. I initially liked the over after hearing how banged up Chicago’s defense is, but something feels off. Staying away on the point total.

Buffalo at Baltimore (-3) | over/under 44.5

The Pick: Baltimore

The Score: Baltimore 24, Buffalo 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

I feel like Baltimore will win by either 3 or 4 and the total amount of points will be 44-46. So clearly I can’t touch this game.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-3) | over/under 47.5

The Pick: Tampa Bay

The Score: Tampa Bay 21, Atlanta 20

The Bets: Tampa Bay +3, Under (48)

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: Yes to SuperContest with Tampa +3

I like this game a lot. First of all, I think Tampa Bay is simply a better team and they can win outright.

Second, I think Vegas knows the public still considers Atlanta to be a “high-scoring offense,” and the offensive pieces for the Bucs are probably making people think they’ll play in a lot of shootouts. The truth is, neither team is very explosive on offense. I love the under, and I’m happy to slot Tampa +3 into one of my favorite 5 picks this week.

Miami at Seattle (-10.5) | over/under 44

The Pick: Seattle

The Score: Seattle 28, Miami 16

The Bets: Seattle (-10.5), Seattle (-0.5) in a 3-team teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: Seattle #1 Survivor Pool Pick & Yes to SuperContest with Seattle (-10.5)

This is the most obvious component of a 3-team teaser ever. Seattle just has to win for that to work out so go ahead and count it. I know every year there’s one major shock on opening weekend that fucks up everyone’s Survivor pick, Pick’Em leagues and teasers, but this isn’t it.

The total of 44 points seems right, so I wouldn’t mess around with that. But there’s no way Maimi, one of the five worst teams in football, comes in and seriously competes.

NY Giants (-1) at Dallas | over/under 46

The Pick: NY Giants

The Score: NY Giants 24, Dallas 20

The Bets: NY Giants (-1)

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: Yes to SuperContest with NY Giants (-1)

The Giants win comfortably by 4 or 6 points. If you want to get the Giants in a 3-team tease that takes them to +9, I’m OK with that because there’s no way they don’t at least keep this a one-score game. And honestly, they should win.

Detroit at Indianapolis (-3.5) | over/under 51

The Pick: Detroit

The Score: Detroit 30, Indianapolis 27 (OT)

The Bets: Detroit (+3.5), Over (41) in a 3-team teaser

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: Yes to SuperContest with Detroit +3.5

I’m still convinced that Indy is well below average, and they aren’t going to fare so well against real NFL teams. I also hear their defense is decimated from injuries this week. I always liked Detroit getting more than a field goal when looking at this game over the summer.

My bold prediction is that this game goes to overtime either at 24/24 or 27/27.

I don’t love the regular over, but I do like the teased over. And my podcast co-host and gambling partner is so in love with the over in this game that I basically don’t have a choice. I’ll be betting it in a teaser at least.

New England at Arizona (-6) | over/under 47

The Pick: Arizona

The Score: Arizona 28, New England 20

The Bets: None

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

If I wasn’t a Patriots fan, this game would be a complete stayaway. No idea about Garoppolo, no idea if the Pats defense is going to be the top 5 unit they looked like in August.

Being a fan makes it even more of a stayaway for me.

The reason I’m picking the Cardinals when forced to pick is because I can easily envision a scenario where New England’s down 7 or 8 with two minutes left in the 4th, and Garoppolo stumbles through an attempt to lead a patented Tom Brady comeback against a blitzing-on-every-down defense. And he gives the game away with an interception or fumble. No crazy expectations should be coming out of the Boston media or fanbase this week.

Pittsburgh (-3) at Washington | over/under 50

The Pick: Washington

The Score: Washington 26, Pittsburgh 24

The Bets: Washington (+3)

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

Listen, I’m particularly high on the Redskins this year. It feels like no one else sees this as an 11-win team like I do. So obviously I like them at home getting three points against a Steelers team starting the season short two huge offensive pieces from last year (Bryant & Bell).

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

The Pick: Los Angeles

The Score: Los Angeles 17, San Francisco 14

The Bets: Under (43.5)

SuperContest or Survivor Pool Pick: No

Ummm….43.5 for the over/under? I think this game barely cracks 30, and I might be assuming too generous of an offensive output from both teams. I think I have to call the under my favorite bet of the entire week.

If all you East Coasters wake up on Tuesday morning, look at your phones and scream, “Dammit! I can’t believe I went to sleep before the end of that epic game!” then I’ve gotten something horribly wrong about these teams and I’ll retire from all things football.

 
Those are the 16 games. Check out the twitter handle @TeasyMoneyNFL for my finalized bets over the weekend. Enjoy week 1.

Too Many X-Factors in week 1 of the NFL Season: Be Careful Out there

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If you’re ever going to profit off the NFL, there are two traits you must have: Discipline and Patience.

We’ve been waiting since February 7th for the moment where week 1 is upon us and we can fire off a variety of ridiculous bets. I get it. I’ve been walking around with a week 1 boner for about a month now.

But when we have no recent results or stats to go on for these week 1 picks, we default back to the way teams played last season. That can be useful, of course, because a lot of players, coaches, schemes and talent remain similar to the recent past. But there are also huge changes, or maybe more appropriately said, there are huge unknowns for many of these teams going into the start of the new season.

It feels like this year more than other years we really need to take a wait-and-see approach to some of these unknowns

By my count, there are only four games in week 1 where there isn’t a huge blinking warning sign telling me to slow the fuck down and let the situation play out over a couple weeks before drawing a conclusion on a player or team. Here they are:

  • San Diego at Kansas City – Jamaal Charles’ slow-healing knee is a minor factor when considering this game. The Chiefs did just fine without him last year. Other than that, no crazy QB or coaching changes. No suspensions to deal with. Pretty much business as usual for these two AFC West teams.
  • Oakland at New Orleans – I can’t think of any monumental changes to these two teams compared to how they ended last year. Thinking Oakland is going to be a playoff team isn’t really an X factor.
  • Tampa Bay at Atlanta – Ditto for these NFC South rivals. Sure, Dirk Koetter is technically a brand new coach in Tampa, but he was the team’s offensive coordinator in 2015 so there’s actually good continuity there.
  • Miami at Seattle – The Dolphins also have a new head coach in Adam Gase, but I’m not expecting him to have a dramatic effect on such a lousy team, and certainly he won’t be a difference-maker in how badly the Dolphins will get slaughtered up in Seattle.

So those are the only four games where I feel I can judge who will win, by how many points, what will the over/under outcome be, etc, based on last year’s results and minor offseason roster changes.

The rest of these games? See for yourself:

  • Carolina @ Denver – Starting at quarterback for your defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos…2015 7th round pick Trevor Siemian?? X fucking factor!
  • Green Bay @ Jacksonville – Jordy Nelson returns to the Packers with zero preseason reps under his belt. Does he immediately cure the mediocre Green Bay offense? And what about this Jacksonville defense that has all sorts of shiny new toys? Overhyped or ready to make a huge first impression by shutting down Aaron Rodgers?
  • Cincinnati at NY Jets – Andy Dalton’s playing meaningful football for the first time since December 13th, but he has to do it without key pass catchers in Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Tyler Eifert. Oh, and offensive coordinator extraordinaire Hue Jackson is gone.
  • Cleveland at Philadelphia – All the X factors!! The new tandem of Robert Griffin and Hue Jackson try to lead the Browns to relevance while Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz look to do the same for Philly. It’s new head coach & QB vs new head coach & QB! And we don’t even know if either of these teams is trying to win, considering some of their offseason moves.
  • Minnesota @ Tennessee – Teddy Bridgewater is out for the year, you might have heard. And either Shaun Hill or Sam Bradford is going to try to replace him.
  • Chicago @ Houston – Super Bowl Champ Brock Osweiler tries to give the Texans the first bit of stability they’ve had at QB since 2012. Also, J.J. Watt and the Texans’ medical staff are saying he’s healthy after back surgery in the summer, but most medical experts are stunned and expect him to be far less than 100%. On the Chicago side, Kevin White should be lining up opposite Alshon Jeffrey for the first time ever.
  • Buffalo at Baltimore – Joe Flacco returns after tearing his ACL in late November (we’ve seen players struggle in their first year back off a major knee injury in the past). More importantly, the Bills’ defense is a complete unknown. The pedigree of Rex Ryan is still there, but they’re missing a handful of guys due to suspension (Marcell Dareus), injury (Reggie Ragland & Shaq Lawson) or being released (Manny Lawson). They also have the shitty Ryan brother in Rob trying to make a defense good for the first time in his career.
  • NY Giants at Dallas – Rookies Dak Prescott & Ezekiel Elliott take center stage for the Cowboys. And Ben McAdoo gets his first gig as a head coach, taking over for Tom Coughlin in New York.
  • Detroit at Indianapolis – Matt Stafford’s first year in the NFL without Calvin Johnson picking up all the slack in the passing game. A full season of Jim Bob Cooter! And for Indy, Andrew Luck’s return to health combined with being the team under the most pressure to succeed early.
  • New England at Arizona – Future Hall of Famer Jimmy Garoppolo makes his first career start.
  • Pittsburgh at Washington – The Steelers start the year without Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant.
  • Los Angeles at San Francisco – For the Rams it’s a new location and the ridiculous promise from Jeff Fisher that “I’m not fucking going 7-9.” For San Francisco, it’s Blaine Gabbert as their best option at QB and Chip Kelly trying to save his joke of an NFL coaching career. And sure, you can throw Colin Kaepernick as a “distraction” into the mix if you want.

So tell me how you’re going to bet on all these games when we don’t have a friggen clue how any of these changes will play out. I’m all ears.

It’s a long season. There’s plenty of time for you to waste money on stupid bets. Don’t let it happen in week 1. (But check out my picks for week 1 coming out later today where I will, in fact, make some bet recommendations.)