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2020 NFL Expert Picks Week 17

Start timeMatchupSpreadTotal
SUNDAY
13:00L.A Chargers @ Kansas CityKAN -8.545.0
13:00N.Y. Jets @ BuffaloBUF -1.536.0
13:00New Orleans @ Carolina NO -13.045.5
13:00Cleveland @ CincinnatiCLE -2.544.0
13:00Green Bay @ DetroitGB -13.043.0
13:00Chicago @ MinnesotaMIN -1.036.5
13:00Atlanta @ Tampa BayTB -1.047.5
13:00Miami @ New EnglandNE -16.045.0
16:20Arizona @ LA RamsN/AN/A
16:25Tennessee @ HoustonTEN-3.545.0
16:25Washington @ DallasDAL -10.545.5
16:25Pittsburgh @ BaltimorePITT -2.537.5
16:25Philadelphia @ NY GiantsPHI -4.545.0
16:25Indianapolis @ JacksonvilleIND -4.042.5
16:25Oakland @ Denver DEN -3.041.0
20:20San Francisco @ SeattleSF -3.047.0

L.A Chargers @ Kansas City (-8.5)

 

Philip Rivers has a great record as a division road dog, however, he is facing his arch nemesis here. Rivers is 3-10 SU and 4-9 ATS vs. Andy Reid’s Kansas Chiefs. In those 13 games, Rivers has a TD/INT ratio of 18/21. When you combine that with his record for this year – 21 touchdown passes, 18 interceptions, and 3 fumbles – this game could get ugly.

I Like Kansas City here.

N.Y. Jets @ Buffalo (-1.5)

Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott says he will open this game with his starters, but they won’t play the whole game. Whether they play one series, two series, or an entire half is anybody’s guess, but at some point several of them on both sides of the ball are coming out. I can’t imagine Josh Allen and other starters for Buffalo playing into the second half of this meaningless game. McDermott isn’t that stupid.

Buffalo’s backup quarterback Matt Barkley went bonkers vs. the Jets last year, throwing 2 touchdown passes and passing for 232 yards in a 41-10 win. If you’ve followed Barkley’s career (67.6 passer rating, 10/19 TD/INT ratio), you are aware that game was an outlier. Here, he’ll likely be playing without several offensive starters.

I am picking the Jets with the points.

New Orleans (-13.0) @ Carolina

New Orleans is playing to possibly win the #1 seed. Carolina is on a 7-game losing streak. Their lone ATS cover during that span came against New Orleans. Since Carolina foolishly fired head coach Ron Rivera and installed Scott Turner (Norv’s son) as the new offensive coordinator, the Panthers have scored 20, 24, and 6 points, while the defense has allowed 40, 30, and 38 points, and the team’s special teams have given up two punt return touchdowns. This team has quit

The line is hefty, I pass.

Cleveland (-2.5) @ Cincinnati

Cleveland, the most over-hyped team in recent memory, is 1-3 SUATS as a road favorite this year. I’d like to fade them, but Cincinnati is 1-14 SU, including 1-6 SU and 2-5 ATS at home, with head coach Zac Taylor looking to be as clueless as Cleveland’s Freddie Kitchens. Baker Mayfield is 3-0 SU and 1-1-1 ATS vs. Cincinnati.

I pass here.

Green Bay (-13.0) @ Detroit

Similar to the New Orleans game, the Packers are playing to win and laying a hefty number on the road against a team that appears to be circling the drain. Detroit is on an 8-game losing streak. They’ve covered only one of those eight games, by a slim half point margin. Detroit has scored 17 or less points in five of their last seven games. To say they miss Jim Caldwell is an understatement.

I’ll take Green Bay.

Chicago @ Minnesota (-1.0)

Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer is another one of those coaches faced with a decision of whether or not to play his starters in a meaningless game. It would be stupid for him to do so, but as we’ve pointed out earlier, with these coaches you never know.

Chicago head coach Matt Nagy is 3-0 SUATS vs. Minnesota, holding the Vikings to 20, 10, and 6 points, and to yardage totals of 268, 164, and 222. And those games were all against Minnesota’s A-team. If Zimmer does the right thing, then Chicago should roll.

I will take the Bears +1.

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay (-1.0)

This is a tough game to call. Both teams are out of contention. Atlanta wants to finish the season on a 4-0 run and save head coach Dan Quinn’s job. Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians wants to finish the season 8-8, and then decide what to do with Turnover Boy Jameis Winston.

No bet here.

Miami @ New England (-16.0)

New England is yet another playoff-bound team laying big points this weekend. However, they have a history of covering these types of games. Since 2009, New England is 6-0 SUATS as a double-digit home favorite in their last home game of the year, including 4-0 SUATS in Week Seventeen, and they are 9-1 SUATS in their last home game of the season when favored by any number.

I will pick the Patriots to cover.

Philadelphia (-4.5) @ NY Giants

New York has won two games in a row, something they’ve done sparingly since 2015. Over the last five years, the Giants are 2-5 SUATS off two wins exact, including 1-3 SU and 0-4 ATS when playing their next game at home and not off a bye week.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia has been in this position before. Last year they needed a win in Week Seventeen to make the playoffs. They went into Washington as 6-point road favorites and won 24-0. The team has rallied behind head coach Doug Pederson in each of the last two years to make the playoffs.

If this is was Eli’s last game, then maybe I could see New York rallying for a win. As is, Daniel Jones will start. Jones has 11 interceptions and 10 fumbles in 11 starts. That’s almost two turnovers a game.

I am taking the Eagles here.

Indianapolis (-4.0) @ Jacksonville

Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone will almost certainly be fired after this game. Teams in that position usually lose in Week Seventeen. Meanwhile, Indianapolis has overcome a lot this season. From Luck’s retirement to multiple injuries, they have a chance to finish at a respectable 8-8. I trust Frank Reich and his coaching staff to do a much better job rallying their troops for this final game than I do for Marrone and his staff to rally the crybaby players at Jacksonville.

I am betting the Colts.

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore

In a rare display of common sense among the NFL’s current crop of head coaches, Baltimore’s John Harbaugh said he will rest several starters, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, running back Mark Ingram, guard Marshal Yanda, defensive tackle Brandon Williams, and safety Earl Thomas. Other players could be pulled during the game, including tight end Mark Andrews, who is already questionable.

Harbaugh is 6-1 SU and 2-5 ATS in Week Seventeen in every year that his team has gone to the playoffs. With the #1 seed locked up, expect Harbaugh to treat this like a preseason game

With all of the backup player action going on with Baltimore, and with no incentive for them to win this game, it’s hard to see Pittsburgh not winning. If quarterback Devlin Hodges throws multiple picks, then Pittsburgh will lose, but he will be playing against a lot of second-string competition. And Pittsburgh’s defense is one of the best in the league.

I’m on Pittsburgh -2.

Washington @ Dallas (-10.5)

Garrett is 20-36-1 ATS as a home favorite, including 3-3 ATS this year. He’s 4-12 ATS as a home favorite of 7 or more points. In other words, Garrett’s team has consistently underperformed when playing at home against inferior opponents. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott is nursing a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, Washington has improved under interim head coach Bill Callahan. He hasn’t turned them into world-beaters, but he was handed a tough assignment and the team has gone 3-7 SU and 5-5 ATS under his leadership. Washington was averaging less then 15 points a game under Jay Gruden. Since their bye week, they have averaged a little under 24 points per game. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins is out, but going from him to Case Keenum is not a downgrade.

I am taking Washington.

Tennessee (-3.5) @ Houston

Regardless of who starts for Houston, all signs point to them losing this game. They are a middling team, with middling stats, that has won 10 games. They’ve been out-gained in four of their last six games. They’ve lost the yards per play battle in five of their last six games. They’ve allowed 5.0 yards per rush and 151 rushing yards per game in their last six games. They’ve been outscored by an average of 5.5 points in their last six games. Quarterback Deshaun Watson has been sacked 20 times and has thrown 7 interceptions in their last six games.

Meanwhile, Tennessee is averaging 33 points per game in their last six games, and has rushed for 225, 219, 154, 161, 163, and 149 yards. Running back Derrick Henry and cornerback Adoree Jackson are both due back for this game. When these teams met two weeks ago, Tennessee out-gained Houston by 58 yards, and averaged 6.4 yards per play.

I am taking Tennessee minus the points.

Oakland @ Denver (-3.0)

The early weather forecast for Denver projects a game time temperature in the 40s. Oakland quarterback Derek Carr has lost his last nine games when playing in temperatures under 50 degrees. He has a career passer rating of 65.9 in games with temperatures below 50, and a rating of 94.7 in games with temperatures of 50 degrees or more.

Denver is 3-1 SUATS with rookie Drew Lock at quarterback. They have some offensive line injuries that need to be monitored, but aside from that, I like their chances here. They’ve won four of their last five home games, with the only loss coming vs. Kansas City.

Let’s go with Denver.

Arizona @ LA Rams (N/A)

I was all set to go into a detailed analysis of why the Rams should both win and cover this spread, when I read that Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay is not going to play several starters in this meaningless game. So much for that.

I pass.

San Francisco @ Seattlle

All the talk about Lynch joining Seattle has kept the attention away from several key issues. The first is that the running back who is apt to get the most touches in this game for Seattle isn’t Lynch, but rookie Travis Homer. Homer has 8 carries for 52 yards with Seattle (6.5 average). In college he averaged 5.9 yards per carry. As bad as Seattle’s offensive line is with pass blocking, they are pretty decent in run blocking. Don’t be surprised to see Homer running wild against a San Francisco team that has given up gobs of rushing yardage in its last nine games: 130, 153, 147, 135, 117, 178, 116, 89, and 72 yards.

The second issue no one is talking about is Seattle’s home dog status. Seattle is 7-3 in their last ten home games. That makes them a 70% home club getting points. We’ve seen two other teams in this exact same scenario the last two weeks – Dallas as a home dog vs. the Rams, and Philly as a home dog vs. Dallas – and both won outright. Frisco is 6-4 in their last ten road games.

Finally, Seattle has a big quarterback edge, with Russell Wilson holding a TD/INT ratio of 29/5 (almost six times as many touchdown passes as interceptions) vs. Frisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo at 27/13. Garoppolo also has 5 fumbles. Wilson has 2.

I will take the Seahawks.

 

NFL Week 16 Picks

Start timeMatchupSpreadTotal
SATURDAY
13:00Houston @ Tampa BayN/AN/A
16:30Buffalo @ New EnglandNE -6.037.0
20:15L.A. Rams @ San FranciscoSF -6.544.5
SUNDAY
13:00Jacksonville @ AtlantaATL -7.546.5
13:00Baltimore @ ClevelandBAL -10.049.5
13:00Carolina @ IndianapolisIND -6.546.5
13:00Cincinnati @ MiamiCIN -1.046.5
13:00Pittsburgh @ NY JetsPIT -3.037.0
13:00New Orleans @ TennesseeTEN – 2.549.5
13:00N.Y. Giants @ WashingtonWAS -2.041.0
16:05Detroit @ DenverDEN -7.038.0
16:05Oakland @ LA ChargersOAK -7.045.0
16:25Dallas @ PhiladelphiaDAL -1.546.0
16:25Arizona @ SeattleSEA -9.551.0
20:20Kansas City @ ChicagoKAN -6.044.0
MONDAY
20:15Green Bay @ MinnesotaMIN -5.546.0

 

Houston @ Tampa Bay N/A

Still unclear if Jameis will be under center for Tampa. The game’s a pass.

Buffalo @ New England (-6.0)

Buffalo has struggled vs. elite quarterbacks over the last two years, going 0-14 SU and 3-11 ATS vs. Brady, Brees, Luck, Rivers, Wentz, Rodgers, and Lamar Jackson. 

Something else about the first game between these two: Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen went out with an injury and was replaced by Matt Barkley, who completed 9 of 16 pass attempts for 118 yards, and also threw an interception. Allen had 3 interceptions. New England ended up +3 in turnover margin, but couldn’t cover the 7-point line. I think the overall vibe with the Bills is, “we could have won that game, and we should have won that game.” I don’t think they will be intimidated.

If the line goes to 6.5, I’m betting Buffalo.

L.A. Rams @ San Francisco (-6.5)

It’s desperation time for Los Angeles. They need two wins and help to make the postseason. Quarterback Jared Goff now has 16 turnovers in 14 games. He has more turnovers than touchdowns this year, and appears to have lost some of his confidence.

San Francisco isn’t the powerhouse they were earlier in the year as injuries have slowed them down. They have lost 2 of their last 3, and 3 of their last 6. I don’t like either side.

I pass.

Detroit @ Denver (-7.0)

Denver head coach Vic Fangio is 0-3 SU and 2-1 ATS vs. his former division. I like Denver to win here, but I don’t like the 7-point line. That’s a bit steep for a team averaging only 17 points per game and starting a rookie quarterback.


I pass.

Oakland @ LA Chargers (-7.0)

Oakland is on a 4-game SUATS losing streak. In those four games, they’ve scored 3, 9, 21, and 16 points, and allowed 34, 40, 42, and 20 points. At this point, they are probably thinking more about their move to Las Vegas than finishing out the current season.

Oakland running back Josh Jacobs and offensive lineman Trent Brown are both out for this game.

Los Angeles head coach Anthony Lynn is 4-1 SUATS vs. Oakland. In those five games, the Raiders have scored 16, 10, 10, 6, and 26 points. If quarterback Philip Rivers plays a clean game, this should be an easy win. Take the Chargers minus the points.

Jacksonville @ Atlanta (-7.5)

I think firing Coughlin is a stupid decision, but knowing how these crybaby players think and react, it could give Jacksonville an emotional edge in this game, as it provides the players with an opportunity to blame Coughlin for their losing ways. All they have to do is play a spirited game and they can then point their fingers and say, “You see, he’s the one that was holding us back all this time.”

Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone is a bit of a conniver. He can spin the Coughlin firing to his advantage also. Right now, Marrone is coaching for his job. With a win here, he can claim that Coughlin was holding him back.

In addition to that, Atlanta is coming off an emotional win in San Francisco, where they were able to get back at Kyle Shanahan for blowing the 2016 Super Bowl. I will take Jacksonville with as many points as possible.

Baltimore (-10.0) @ Cleveland

Baltimore is on a 10-game winning streak. The last time they lost was in Week Four against these same Cleveland Browns. They’re favored by 10 points here and most pundits are predicting a blowout. I’m not so sure.

For starters, the revenge angle for Baltimore that I keep hearing about doesn’t make much sense at this point in the season. Baltimore is more concerned with securing the #1 seed than they are in extracting revenge against a losing team.

Cleveland has their share of cocky, arrogant players. With Baker Mayfield at quarterback, they are 5-2 SU and 3-2-2 ATS off one loss exact, and 3-0 SU and 1-0-2 ATS off a loss as a favorite. Mayfield is also 8-5 SU and 5-6-2 ATS at home; 6-3 SU and 5-3-1 ATS in division games, including 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS as an underdog in division games, and 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS vs. Baltimore. 

Baltimore’s one weakness is their run defense, giving up 4.5 yards per rush. Cleveland’s Nick Chubb is averaging 5.2 yards per rush. In their Week Four game, Cleveland rushed for 193 yards. 

I’ll bet Cleveland.

Carolina @ Indianapolis (-6.5)

Carolina is benching Kyle Allen and giving rookie quarterback Will Grier his first start. When you consider that Allen had 22 turnovers in 12 starts, the only way to view this is a quarterback upgrade. It also gives the team a reason to play. Carolina is eliminated from playoff contention, and a lot of teams in that situation will merely go through the motions. But when a rookie gets his first start, players tend to step up their game. They want to help their teammate get a win his first time out.

On the other side of the field, Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich says they will unveil some surprises with Brissett in these last two games. That could work out well, catching Carolina by surprise. Or it could blow up in their faces, by trying something new for the first time without adequate practice.

I pass here.

Cincinnati (-1.0) @ Miami

I don’t have a lot to say about this game. Last week, Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton had one of those games where he looks like some kind of MK-Ultra mind control subject, moving in slow motion and throwing multiple interceptions. Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor looks to be out of his league, even more so than Freddie Kitchens. Actually, a lot more than Freddie Kitchens.

Both teams are eager for the season to end.

I pass.

Pittsburgh (-3.0) @ NY Jets

I’m expecting a ton of money to come in on Pittsburgh. It’s important to remember that this late in the season, teams that are out of contention will cover the spread around 60% of the time when playing a must-win team. I’m not sure why that is, but I suspect the must-win team plays tight and conservative, while the out of contention team plays looser.

This game has running back Le’Veon Bell up against his former team. That should give the Jets an emotional edge, however, Bell is only averaging 3.3 yards per rush, and when Bell is on the field, Gase rarely calls his number. Bell is averaging less then 15 carries a game.

New York defensive coordinator Gregg Williams faced Pittsburgh four times in 2017-18, while he was with Cleveland. His results were mixed. His defense held Pittsburgh to 21 points in two of those games, but yielded 28 and 33 points in the other two. Of course, those games all featured Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, not Devlin Hodges.

I will bet the Jets

New Orleans @ Tennessee (-2.5)

New Orleans has their sights set on the #1 seed. Meanwhile, a win by Houston on Saturday means Tennessee needs help to make the playoffs. That could lower their morale. A loss by Houston could have the opposite effect.

I will take the Titans here.

N.Y. Giants @ Washington (-2.0)

It looks like Eli Manning’s last hurrah was short-lived as Daniel Jones has been getting first-team reps at practice and is likely to start for New York. Jones has 20 turnovers in ten starts. He makes Tampa Bay Turnover Boy Jameis Winston look like Alex Smith. Jones averages 5.7 net yards per pass attempt

Quarterback Dwayne Haskins is still a work in progress, but he is improving. He’s raised his net yards per attempt average to 5.5, just under Jones’s average. The Redskins are playing hard for their interim coach. They might also want to help Adrian Peterson reach 1,000 rushing yards for the season. He needs 216 more yards to do that. When a team bands together to help a fellow player achieve a milestone, they are hard to beat.

Washington is 26-20-1 SU and 31-16 ATS when playing on a Sunday off a Sunday game since 2014.

I will take the Redskins.

Dallas (-1.5) @ Philadelphia

I loved the end of last week’s Philadelphia at Washington game. It turned a non-cover into a cover, however, that’s two weeks in a row now that Philly has come back from halftime deficits. It’s not something that’s likely to continue.

Dallas head coach Jason Garrett is 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS on the road at Philadelphia. Running back Ezekiel Elliott has run wild in all five games he’s played against Philly, running for over 100 yards in each one. Quarterback Dak Prescott has some kind of injury. Jerry Jones promises that Dak will play, but the line has dropped from Dallas -2.5 to Dallas -1.

I will pass here.

Arizona @ Seattle (-9.5)

People have been calling Seattle a fraud all season long, but they just keep on winning. They should win this game, too, but I’m not sure if they’ll cover the 10-point spread. Seattle actually has a losing spread record at home this season, while Arizona is 4-1-1 ATS on the road.

I’m betting on Arizona.

Kansas City (-6.0) @ Chicago

To me, this game hinges on the results of some earlier games. As we mentioned earlier, if Tampa Bay, New England, and Baltimore all win, then I don’t see why Kansas City would bring their A-game here. It just doesn’t make sense. Although, I must add that NFL head coaches often make non-sensical decisions, like Matt Nagy playing his starters in a meaningless Week Seventeen game last year, a decision that led to his team getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs.


I will pass.

Green Bay @ Minnesota (-5.5)

Similar to Seattle, many are calling Green Bay a fraud. That might be true, as their stats don’t equal a team with an 11-3 record. However, they qualify for my Smart Investor Approach system, so I will be playing them.

Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins is 0-8 SU on Monday nights. Granted, those games were played with worse teams than the one he is with now. Running backs Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison appear to be out. As we mentioned earlier, if Frisco beats the Rams on Saturday, the Vikes are in the playoffs, so they might not be 100% motivated for this game. Sure, they’ll say they are, but inside they’ll know it’s not a must-win situation.


I will bet Green Bay with the points.

NFL Week 14 Picks

Start timeMatchupSpreadTotal
SUNDAY
13:00Carolina @ AtlantaATL -3.047.0
13:00Baltimore @ BuffaloBAL -6.043.5
13:00Cincinnati @ ClevelandCLE -7.541.5
13:00Washington @ Green BayGB -12.041.5
13:00Denver @ HoustonHOU -9.042.5
13:00Detroit @ MinnesotaMIN -12.543.0
13:00San Francisco @ New OrleansNO -2.544.5
13:00Miami @ NY JetsNYJ – 5.546.0
13:00Indianapolis @ Tampa BayTB -3.047.0
16:05L.A. Chargers @ Jacksonville LAC -3.043.0
16:25Pittsburgh @ ArizonaPITT -2.543.5
16:25Kansas City @ New EnglandNE -3.049.0
16:25Tennessee @ OaklandTEN -3.047.5
20:20Seattle @ LA RamsLAR -1.047.0
MONDAY
20:15N.Y. Giants @ PhiladelphiaPHI -10.046.0

Carolina @ Atlanta (-3.0)

As you know, Carolina’s new owner fired head coach Ron Rivera this week; a stupid decision, but new owners often make stupid decisions.

 

Often when a head coach is fired in midseason, the team responds with a win. However, it didn’t happen for Fewell (the interim coach) in 2009, and I don’t think it’s going to happen for him this year. There’s just too much dysfunction going on in Carolina right now.

Atlanta’s Matt Ryan is 7-2 SUATS vs. Carolina since 2015, when head coach Dan Quinn joined the team. That includes a 29-3 win just three weeks ago.

I’m siding with Atlanta here.

Baltimore (-6.0) @ Buffalo

Is this a preview of the AFC Championship Game? Could be.

On the plus side for Buffalo, they are 21-6 SU and 23-3-1 ATS under head coach Sean McDermott when they hold an opponent to 20 or less points, something they’ve done in ten out of twelve games this year. They are also 24-9 SU and 21-11-1 ATS when hosting teams from grass fields. On the downside, McDermott is 2-5 SUATS off two or more consecutive wins.

Baltimore has a Thursday night home game on deck, so that could be a distraction. They also have a 3-game lead in their division, so they may not have a sense of urgency here. 

With Buffalo competing with Pittsburgh for a Wildcard slot, Harbaugh would probably prefer to play Buffalo in the playoffs rather than division-rival Pittsburgh. He could help that happen by letting Buffalo win this one. Finally, Baltimore is coming off a hard-hitting, extremely physical game vs. San Francisco, while Buffalo is more relaxed. The Bills played on Thursday, giving them more time to rest and prepare, and their win was not as physically draining as Baltimore’s.


Taking Buffalo +6.0.

Cincinnati @ Cleveland (-7.5)

While Cleveland is getting guys back and improving somewhat, Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield injured the thumb on his throwing hand just before half time last week. Before his injury, Cleveland was tied with Pittsburgh at 10-10. After Mayfield’s injury, Cleveland scored 3 points in the second half. Mayfield claims he is okay, but I’ll believe it when I see it. We’ve all seen quarterbacks lie about injuries, especially this year.

Cincinnati is 4-1 ATS on the road this year. Cleveland is 2-3-1 ATS at home. Cincinnati is allowing 24.8 points per game, but they have improved slightly, allowing only 13 points per game in their last three. Cleveland isn’t much better. They are allowing 22.7 points per game.

Betting Cincinnati plus as many points as possible.

Washington @ Green Bay (-12.0)

This line opened at Green Bay -14, and it is now down to -12.0 and dropping. A lot of pro money has come in on the Redskins, and that’s because many of the sharps are using the same stats I am and they are coming up with the same 7-point overlay for Washington. They’re also looking at yards per play stats. Green Bay is ranked 17 in offense and 29th in defense, vs. 28th and 13th for Washington. Those ratings are too close to be laying double digits.

Meanwhile, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers has a ratio of 22/2. So who’s going to score more points and turn the ball over less?

It’s tough to say – I’m passing here.

Denver @ Houston (-9.0)

Houston head coach Bill O’Brien is 3-1 SUATS after playing New England, but only 1-1 SUATS vs. Denver. In those two Denver games, O’Brien’s offense has scored 9 and 19 points. Since losing J.J. Watt for the season, the Texans have allowed rushing yards of 228, 175, and 145 in their last three games. That appears to play into Denver’s penchant (and necessity) for running the ball.

Houston is 8-4 and carrying the perception of a playoff team. My numbers show them to be only a hair above average and only 2 points better than Denver. I would love to go against Houston here, but I’m nervous about backing Denver with rookie quarterback Drew Lock in only his second career start. Lock played poorly last week (4.8 net yards per pass attempt), but he led his team to a win. 

I pass.

Detroit @ Minnesota (-12.5)

Minnesota covered the first half line last week at Seattle. After that, it was all downhill. I blame the play-calling, and it could surface again this week. Although, Minnesota has done a far better job calling plays at home than on the road. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has a TD/INT ratio of 9/1 at home so far this year.

Minnesota is laying a hefty 14 points here. Meanwhile, Detroit hasn’t lost by more than 12 points in any game this year.

Betting the Lions here.

San Francisco @ New Orleans (-2.5)

New Orleans is 3-4 ATS with Drew Brees at quarterback. They’ve looked good the last few weeks, but here’s who they have played since Week Five: Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Chicago, Arizona, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Atlanta. That’s not exactly a stellar group of teams. Every one of them except Atlanta has a below average quarterback, and all of them have suspect offensive coordinators. 

Chicago is the only one in the bunch with a halfway decent defense, and that’s overshadowed by their ineptitude on offense. San Francisco represents the best team that New Orleans has faced since Week Three when they played Seattle.

San Francisco has played a tougher schedule than New Orleans. In the last four weeks alone, they’ve played Seattle, Arizona, Green Bay, and Baltimore. This is a rare opportunity to take them with points.

New Orleans is off four consecutive division games. Over the last ten years, teams in that situation are 3-3 SU and 3-2-1 ATS.

If you can get the 49ers at +3.0, do it.

Miami @ NY Jets (-5.5)

Miami got their first win of the season over the Jets in Week Nine, and they would love to sweep the series. Especially with their former head coach Adam Gase now on the New York sideline. Miami is 3-5 SU and 6-2 ATS since their bye week. Of course, they have no run game, but New York is tops in the league at stopping the run, so that might not matter anyway. This game will be decided by how well quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick plays, and he’ll be helped by several injuries in New York’s defensive backfield, including safety Jamal Adams, who is going to miss his first game.

No bet here.

Indianapolis @ Tampa Bay (-3.0)

Indianapolis is 4-1 ATS on the road this year, vs. Tampa Bay’s home record of 1-3 SU and 0-4 ATS. It’s a great scheduling spot for the Bucs, catching Indianapolis off three consecutive division games, however, this has become almost a must-win game for Indianapolis, after losing four of their last five.

My numbers rate Indianapolis as a slightly better team, yet they’re getting 3 points. Defensively, they’re holding opponents to an average of 21 points per game. Tampa Bay is allowing 29 points per game. Turnover Boy Jameis Winston now has 22 touchdown passes, 20 interceptions, and 5 fumbles. That’s an average of 2.1 turnovers a game.  I’m taking Indianapolis with the 3 points.

L.A. Chargers (3.0) @ Jacksonville 

Los Angeles quarterback Philip Rivers is 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS vs. Jacksonville since 2014, winning by an average score of 31-15. Defensive back Derwin James is due back for Los Angeles. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is familiar with the Jaguars from his time as their head coach. He would love to get a win here.

It’s still tough to bet this one – pass.

Pittsburgh (-2.5) @ Arizona

For starters, the Steelers are coming off a huge revenge game; a game that weighed heavily on their minds for the prior two weeks. This is also a long travel game for them, and despite last week’s results, Arizona is no pushover. They’ve scored 25 or more points in six of their last eight games. Of course, their defense is awful, but they are coming off their worst loss of the year and should be motivated to make amends.

Arizona defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was the head coach of Denver last year. His defense held Pittsburgh to 17 points. In 2016, Joseph was the defensive coordinator for Miami. His defense there held Pittsburgh to 15 points. 

Bet the home underdog here.

Kansas City @ New England (-3.0)

The head coaches for these two teams have often flipped results, with Andy Reid’s Eagles losing in 2011, his Chiefs winning 2014, losing in 2015, winning in 2017, and then losing twice in 2018. I guess that makes them due for a win.

New England’s offense has looked slow and lethargic the last four games, scoring 20, 17, 13, and 22 points. Of course, those games were all against quality teams, but Kansas City is a quality team too.

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes hasn’t been quite the same since his injury, but he’s still an upper tier quarterback. His TD/INT ratio for the season is 20/2. Tom Brady’s is 18/6. 

Neither team will be lacking for motivation, but this is a massive playoff revenge game for Kansas City. They were only a coin flip away from the Super Bowl last year, and they’ve had this game circled since the schedule first came out. This doesn’t mean they won’t lose.

I pass.

Tennessee @ Oakland

Carr is 3-0 SUATS vs. Tennessee since 2015, with a TD/INT ratio of 6/1, however, none of those games came against quarterback Ryan Tannehill or head coach Mike Vrabel, and they were all on the road at Tennessee.

Tennessee is on a roll, and running back Derrick Henry has a history of playing better in the last half of the year. Last season, Henry ran for 585 yards over the last four weeks. Meanwhile, Oakland is 17-61 ATS at home when they allow 100 or more rushing yards, and 6-44-1 ATS when they lose SU at home.

I pass here.

Seattle @ LA Rams

Crazy line movement here. Started Seattle -3.0 and is now LA -1.0.

Skip this game.

N.Y. Giants @ Philadelphia (-10.0)

It’s an unfortunate situation, because as we’ve mentioned before, Philadelphia’s defense plays much better at home than on the road. This year, they are allowing 4.7 yards per play, 18 points, and 271 yards per game at home, vs. 6.1 yards per play, 29 points, and 395 yards per game on the road. No other team has such a marked difference between their home and road defensive performances.

In Philly’s last three home games, all vs. playoff teams from last year, they have allowed 16 points and 270 yards per game. Meanwhile, New York’s defense has allowed an average of 30 points and 426 yards in five road games this season, plus 34 points and 294 yards in their London game.


The line is too steep. I pass.

NFL Week 13 Picks

 

Start timeMatchupSpreadTotal
SUNDAY
13:00San Francisco @ BaltimoreBAL -5.546.5
13:00Washington @ CarolinaCAR -10.039.5
13:00N.Y. Jets @ CincinnatiNYJ -3.041.0
13:00Tennessee @ IndianapolisIND -2.543.5
13:00Tampa Bay @ JacksonvilleTB -2.047.5
13:00Philadelphia @ MiamiPHI -10.044.5
13:00Green Bay @ N.Y GiantsGB -6.544.5
13:00Cleveland @ PittsburghCLE – 2.539.0
16:05L.A. Rams @ ArizonaLAR -3.047.5
16:25L.A. Chargers @ DenverLAC -3.038.5
16:25Oakland @ Kansas CityKAN -10.051.0
20:20New England @ HoustonNE -3.045.0
MONDAY
20:15Minnesota @ SeattleSEA -3.050.0

San Francisco @ Baltimore (-5.5)

This is one of the marquee games of the week. Some (not me) would call it a possible Super Bowl preview. Both teams are coming off big wins. San Francisco has gotten some key players back from injury. Baltimore lost their starting center, Matt Skura, for the season last week. 

Baltimore is riding so high on the statistical charts, it’s ridiculous. They’ve covered their last five games by spread margins of 17, 20, 26, 29.5, and 36 points. Their defense has acquired 11 turnovers in the past five games. In their last three games, Baltimore has scored 135 points and allowed 26. Those numbers are simply unsustainable.

I have Baltimore and San Francisco rated exactly even, yet the 49ers are getting 5.5 points. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a little too turnover prone for my tastes, but the guy just keeps on winning. 

I’m taking San Francisco.

Washington @ Carolina (-10.0)

This game actually sets up well for Washington. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you why. Carolina is giving up a hefty 5 yards per rush, and that was before losing defensive lineman Dontari Poe. Poe was their team’s best defensive player and their best run-stuffer. His loss is going to make their run defense even worse than it already is.

Meanwhile, Washington interim head coach Bill Callahan loves to run the ball. He’s going to take one look at the situation and decide to hand off to his running backs all game long. Which might not be a bad strategy, because quarterback Dwayne Haskins is horrible and could singlehandedly sink the game with his poor throws and turnovers.

I’ll pass here.

N.Y. Jets (-3.0) @ Cincinnati

When the 2016 Cleveland Browns beat San Diego in Week Sixteen for their first win of the season, a crazy celebration occurred. The year Detroit went 0-16, their players were giving it everything they could to prevent a winless season, going 7-5 ATS in their last 12 games. Of course, that can’t be said for the 2017 Cleveland Browns.

Andy Dalton is coming back. He is 12-22 SU and 19-17 ATS over the last three years. He’s 2-0 SUATS vs. New York head coach Adam Gase, beating Miami last year by a score of 27-17, and in 2016 by a score of 22-7. Dalton isn’t the only player back for Cincinnati. Cordy Glenn returned last week. He’s an upgrade to the offensive line.

 

I am betting the Bengals with the points.

Tennessee @ Indianapolis (-2.5)

 

I’m hesitant to back the Titans here. Ryan Tannehill has struggled on road turf in his career, going 6-21 SU and 7-20 ATS, with a TD/INT ratio of 22/25. 

But…

 

Indianapolis is one of the most disciplined teams in the league. They’ve committed only three penalties in each of their last three games. That seems very odd to me, and I wonder if that will reverse itself this week. I also wonder if quarterback Jacoby Brissett has lost a step since his injury. In the two games he’s played since his return, he’s passed for 125 or less yards, completed 63% of his passes, and averaged 5.0 net yards per attempt. 

I’m passing here.

Tampa Bay (-2.0) @ Jacksonville

Jacksonville was blown out last week, but that was their third consecutive game away from home, and their sixth game out of eight away from home. They’re in a better spot this week, playing at home where they’ve allowed their last three opponents to score 7, 13, and 15 points. Tampa Bay is now in a similar spot to the one Jacksonville was in last week. This is their seventh game out of nine away from home.

Tampa Bay’s Turnover Boy – Jameis Winston did it again last week, tossing two picks, yet his team still won. He now has 20 interceptions and 4 fumbles in 11 starts.

I am going with the home underdog here.

Oakland @ Kansas City (-10.0)

Andy Reid is one of the league’s better head coaches when given extra time to prepare. He is 17-2 SU in the regular season off a bye week, 3-1 SU in the postseason with a week of rest. His team has quietly put together one of the league’s better pass defenses, allowing 17 touchdowns vs. 10 interceptions. 

We pointed out last week, that Oakland had no real urgency to beat the Jets. Here, they do have urgency. If they beat Kansas City, then both teams are 7-5, and they’ll each have a 3-1 record in division games. They should come into this game very focused, despite the weather forecast calling for rain or snow and temperatures in the 30s.

I am not picking a side here.

Philadelphia (-10.0) @ Miami

Miami is at home and catching Philly off back-to-back games vs. New England and Seattle, and with four consecutive division games on deck. You couldn’t design a better letdown/lookahead spot, and yet these are Brian Flores’s Dolphins.

Meanwhile, since getting Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby back from injury, Philadelphia has allowed their last four opponents to score 13, 14, 17 and 17 points, along with net yards per pass attempt averages of 4.5, 4.8, 4.3, and 6.9. They’ve allowed 2 touchdown passes to Josh Allen, 1 touchdown pass each to Russell Wilson and Julian Edelman, and 0 touchdown passes to Tom Brady and Mitch Trubisky.

Add it all up and it looks like Miami could have serious difficulty moving the ball in this game.

I won’t be betting this game.

Green Bay (-6.5) @ N.Y Giants

New York’s Daniel Jones has 8 interceptions and a whopping 10 fumbles to go along with his 17 touchdown passes. That gives Green Bay a huge and obvious quarterback advantage in this game. Green Bay does have a leaky run defense, allowing 4.8 yards per rush, and Jones could pick up chunks of yardage with his running ability.

New York head coach Pat Shurmur is familiar with Green Bay from his time as the offensive coordinator for Minnesota. He’s 2-1 ATS this year vs. his former division, and he went 1-0 SUATS vs. the NFC North last year. Green Bay beat the Jets on this same field last season by a score of 44-38. The Packers were humiliated last week. I am picking them here.

Cleveland (-2.5) @ Pittsburgh

This is a grudge game for Cleveland, and a revenge game for Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh will be without starting center Maurkice Pouncey, but B.J. Finney is an above average backup. Cleveland will be without defensive lineman Myles Garrett (suspended) and safety Morgan Burnett, who is out with an injury for the rest of the year. Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield is now 5-2 SUATS in division games, including 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS in division road games, but Pittsburgh should be treating this rematch like the mother of all revenge games. That’s no guarantee that they’ll win, but if they lose, it will be a complete disgrace to their fans and to themselves.

The line is Cleveland -2.5, and climbing. That’s because Cleveland blew out the hapless Dolphins. Any team can blow out the hapless Dolphins. It makes the line movement in this game ridiculous. Think about it: Cleveland was a 3-point favorite vs. Pittsburgh two weeks ago. That equates to being a 3-point road underdog here. Now they’re favored by 2 points, which equates to being an 8-point home favorite.

I am betting on the Steelers to cover.

L.A. Rams (-3.0) @ Arizona

Unfortunately for Arizona, they have to play an angry and humiliated Los Angeles team this week. Under head coach Sean McVay, the Rams are 4-0 SUATS vs. Arizona, winning by scores of 33-0, 32-16, 34-0, and 31-9. McVay’s team has taken some ugly losses this year, including last week’s 45-6 clunker vs. Baltimore, but they have performed well vs. bottom-tier teams. Prior to last week’s game, they held their last four opponents to 17 or less points.

My concern with Los Angeles is quarterback Jared Goff. He has 0 touchdown passes and 6 interceptions in his last three games. He looks like his confidence is shot.I’ll still take the Rams minus the points.

L.A. Chargers (-3.0) @ Denver

Philip Rivers has 4 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions in his last four games. Yet he’s laying points on the road against a team that he has routinely struggled against (2-3 SU and 2-2-1 ATS under head coach Anthony Lynn). 

I’m very tempted to take Denver with the points, but not with Lock making his first career start. And with Lock and Allen splitting first-team reps in practice this week, it dampens my enthusiasm considerably.

I am passing here.

New England @ Houston

New England is looking more and more like the 2015 Denver Broncos: great defense and special teams, helping to carry an older, past-his-prime quarterback. However, Brady is not playing as bad as Peyton Manning did in his final year, and New England’s defense is much better than what Denver had. New England is allowing 11 points per game. Their pass defense is allowing 4.7 net yards per pass attempt, along with 4 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions. I’ve never seen numbers like that before.

New England is not overpowering their opponents, they’re outsmarting them, like with last week’s blocked punt vs. Dallas. And that strategy might work in this game, because Houston appears to be snake bit as far as this series is concerned.

Despite their 7-4 record, Houston is a slightly below-average team statistically. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is great he’s getting points. Like Seattle’s Russell Wilson, he rarely loses by double-digits 

Bill Belichick has extra motivation for this game. Houston tried to acquire New England’s Director of Player Personnel to be their General Manager. The Patriots had to file tampering charges.

 

I’m taking New England -3.

Minnesota @ Seattle (-3.0)

This is the third year in a row that Seattle is facing Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins. In the two previous games, Cousins led his team to an average of 12 points, throwing 1 touchdown pass, 0 interceptions, and fumbling twice. He’s also taken 8 sacks. This year could be different. 

Cousins is the highest-rated quarterback in the league. Over his last seven games, he has 18 touchdown passes and 2 turnovers. Unlike his time with Washington, he now has a decent defense and coaching staff behind him. Meanwhile, Seattle is 1-3-1 ATS at home this year. 

I’m taking Minnesota +3 or more points. 

NFL Week 12 Picks

tart timeMatchupSpreadTotal
THURSDAY
20:20Indianapolis @ HoustonHOU – 3.546.5
SUNDAY
13:00Tampa Bay @ Atlanta ATL -4.051.5
13:00Denver @ BuffaloBUF -4.037.5
13:00N.Y. Giants @ ChicagoCHI -6.040.5
13:00Pittsburgh @ CincinnatiPITT -6.538.5
13:00Miami @ ClevelandCLE -10.547.0
13:00Carolina @ New OrleansNO -9.540.0
13:00Oakland @ NY JetsOAK -3.046.5
13:00Seattle @ PhiladelphiaPHI – 1.048.0
13:00Detroit @ WashingtonSF -10.045.0
16:05Jacksonville @ TennesseeTEN -3.041.5
16:25Dallas @ New EnglandNE -6.545.5
20:20Green Bay @ San FranciscoSF -3.047.5
MONDAY
20:15Baltimore @ LA RamsBAL -3.046.5

Indianapolis @ Houston (-3.5)

Since he became head coach of Indianapolis in 2018, Frank Reich is 3-1 SUATS vs. Houston, with the lone loss coming by only 3 points in overtime. Reich’s team won two games last year on the road at Houston, including a 21-7 postseason win. Indianapolis is 6-2 SUATS this year with Jacoby Brissett finishing and starting at quarterback.

Running my stat numbers on Houston, I was actually surprised to see that they are a slightly below average team. They’ve allowed 32 sacks this year, while generating only 22. That stat ranks them below average. In every other category they are tied: 7.2 net yards per pass attempt offense, 7.1 yards per attempt on defense; 5.0 yards per rush offense, 4.7 yards per rush defense; 44.6% on 3rd down conversions offense, 45.6% on defense; 645 penalty yards on offense, 608 yards on defense; and on it goes. Indianapolis is actually the better team here and they are getting points.

I’m picking the Colts.

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta (-4.0)

Since Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn stopped calling plays for the defense and handed those duties off to linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich, Atlanta’s defense has allowed 4 field goals and zero touchdowns – a total of 12 points – in two games. Both of those games were on the road, now the Falcons are at home. 

For those of you who enjoy psychological angles, there are a couple of strong ones favoring Atlanta in this game. For starters, Atlanta’s coaching staff features two former Tampa Bay head coaches – Dirk Koetter and Raheem Morris. They would both love to get revenge on their former team. What’s more, Koetter was with the team just last year, so he should have knowledge on how to exploit Tampa Bay’s personnel. Finally, going back to his time as the defensive coordinator for Seattle, head coach Dan Quinn is 4-1 SUATS vs. teams coached by Bruce Arians.

About time we bet against Jameis Winston. I’m laying the points.

Denver @ Buffalo (-4.0)

Buffalo is 23-9 SU and 20-11-1 ATS when hosting teams from grass fields.  Going back to his time as Carolina’s defensive coordinator, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott is 37-10 SU and 27-18-2 ATS as a home favorite, including 3-1 SU and 1-3 ATS this year. However, Buffalo also has an absolutely horrendous record of 15-38 SU and 11-42 ATS after playing Miami, including 0-3 SUATS under McDermott.

Denver has to be somewhat demoralized after blowing such a big lead last week, and now they have to take to the road again, this time all the way to the east coast. They should have more success running the ball against Buffalo than Miami did last week. Quarterback Brandon Allen hasn’t played poorly in his two starts, but he is only completing 50% of his passes. 

I pass.

N.Y. Giants @ Chicago (-6.0)

The Giants actually beat Chicago last year, one of only four teams to do so in the regular season. It was a good scheduling spot for New York, as they were at home and they caught Chicago off three consecutive division games. This isn’t a bad spot either. New York is off their bye week, and Chicago is stumbling their way through what looks like a losing season. Still, as you can guess from my comments on Turnover Boy Jameis Winston, I don’t like betting on turnover-prone quarterbacks like New York’s Daniel Jones.

Pass this one.

Pittsburgh (-6.5) @ Cincinnati

It’s a little scary to consider taking Pittsburgh as a road favorite with such a big revenge game vs. Cleveland on deck for next week. How can they possibly concentrate on this game? Pittsburgh is also dealing with multiple injuries. I can’t back Cincinnati either, as they have surpassed the lowly Dolphins as the worst team in the league.


I’m passing.

Miami @ Cleveland (-10.5)

Cleveland is a team that head coach Brian Flores’s former team, New England, played only a few short weeks ago. Flores will most certainly be on the phone with Bill Belichick, picking his brain for some tips on playing the Browns. In fact, I think that is what Flores has been doing for the last six weeks, as he is 1-4 SU and 4-1 ATS vs. teams that New England played before Miami did, and 1-0 SUATS vs. former New England quarterback Brian Hoyer. That gives Miami an advantage in game-planning, but whether they have the talent to exploit that advantage is another story.


Let’s go with Miami in this one.

Carolina @ New Orleans (-9.5)

It’s deja vu all over again for Carolina. Last year, they were riding high at 6-2 and fresh off a double digit win over Tampa Bay before losing on the road at Pittsburgh by a score of 52-21. After that loss, they went 1-6 SU and 2-5 ATS the rest of the season. This year, Carolina was riding high at 4-2 and fresh off another double digit win over Tampa Bay before losing on the road at San Francisco by a score of 51-13. Since that loss, they are 1-2 SUATS. 


Not sure I can lay the wood with the Saints though. I pass.

Oakland (-3.0) @ NY Jets

Oakland has won three in a row, so now they’re favored by a field goal over the Jets, who have won two in a row. I guess Oakland’s three wins over the 3-6-1 Lions, 4-7 Chargers, and 0-10 Bengals is more impressive than New York’s two wins over the 2-8 Giants and 1-9 Redskins.

This is a possible letdown spot for Oakland. For starters, they’re coming off three consecutive wins for the first time since 2016. Next, this is a long travel game with an early start time for a west coast team. Finally, Oakland has division-leader Kansas City on deck. They could be looking ahead to that game.

New York head coach Adam Gase has a decent history vs. Oakland, going 1-1 SUATS vs. the Raiders in the last two years. In those two games, Gase’s offense scored 24 and 28 points.

I’ll bet the Jets for a second week in a row.

Detroit (-3.5) @ Washington

It’s hard to believe that Detroit, with their 3-6-1 record and a backup quarterback, is a road favorite in this game, but how else can you figure it? Washington has a clueless coaching staff and very little offensive firepower. They’re averaging only 12.5 points per game.

No bet.

Jacksonville @ Tennessee (-3.0)

Tennessee running back Derrick Henry is a second half runner, averaging 3.9 yards per rush in September and October, and 5.3 yards per rush in November and December. That could spell trouble for Jacksonville. They are 1-15 SU and 2-14 ATS since 2018 when they allow an opponent to rush for 100 or more yards. Tennessee has rushed for 346 yards in their last two games. 

Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel has quietly put together one of the league’s better home field advantages. In Vrabel’s year-and-a-half calling the shots at Tennessee, he is 9-4 SU and 7-6 ATS at home, including 7-4 SUATS when not favored by double digits.

Jacksonville’s Nick Foles played decently last week, despite the loss. He was handicapped by some poor play-calling from his coaching staff. Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone has telegraphed his intentions to run Leonard Fournette in this game. If that’s the case, I’ll take Tennessee’s run defense (4.0 yards per rush) to stop Fournette, over Jacksonville’s run defense (5.3 yards per rush) to stop Derrick Henry.Take the Titans at -3.0.

Dallas @ New England (-6.5)

On a pure statistical basis, these teams are pretty close. New England has a significant coaching advantage, but Dallas might have the better all-around team, and they could even have a better quarterback. Tom Brady has 5 touchdown passes and 4 turnovers over his last five games. Dak Prescott has 13 total touchdowns and 3 turnovers over his last five games.


If the line goes to 7.0, I pick Dallas.

Green Bay @ San Francisco (-3.0)

Green Bay is one of the healthiest teams in the league right now, with their entire 53-man roster practicing. San Francisco is riddled with injuries, with the following players all questionable for this week’s game: George Kittle, Emmanuel Sanders, Joe Staley, Dee Ford, and Deebo Samuel. So give Green Bay the edge there.

I also give Green Bay the edge in quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers has 17 touchdown passes and 1 rushing touchdown vs. 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles. Jimmy Garoppolo has 18 touchdown passes and 1 rushing touchdown vs. 10 interceptions and 4 fumbles.

 

Green Bay is coming off their bye week. San Francisco is coming off three consecutive division games. 

However, I have to give the coaching edge to San Francisco and that defensive front. Looks like The 49ers will break all trends this year.

I’m picking them minus the points.

Seattle @ Philadelphia (-1.0)

Philadelphia had a 10-point lead over New England last week before offensive lineman Lane Johnson was injured. After Johnson left the game, the Eagles failed to score a single point. Prior to the start of this season, Philadelphia was 54-32 SU and 47-38-1 ATS since 2013 with Johnson on the offensive line, and 6-10 SUATS without him. From 2016-18, Philly went 3-9 SU and 4-8 ATS without Johnson. His loss could be an important factor for this game. He is currently questionable.

Russell Wilson is 2-0 SUATS vs. Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz, winning in 2016 by a score of 26-15, and winning in 2017 by a score of 24-10. Both of those games were at home. Wilson won at Philadelphia in 2014 by a score of 24-14. 

If you can get Seattle at +1.5, do it.

Baltimore (-3.0) @ LA Rams

In Week Nine, I mentioned that New England had become extremely top-heavy in all of my statistical checkpoints. When that happens, the team in question is due for a fall, and New England lost outright as a 3-point road favorite at Baltimore.

Last week, I mentioned that Pittsburgh had become extremely top-heavy in all my stats and was due for a fall. They lost by double digits as 3-point road underdogs at Cleveland.

This week it’s Baltimore who is carrying the top-heavy load. My hesitation in fading Baltimore lies with Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff. He has 11 touchdown passes and 2 rushing touchdowns vs. 10 interceptions and 5 fumbles. However, the Rams defense has improved considerably since acquiring Jalen Ramsey. Before Ramsey, they were allowing 26 points per game. After Ramsey, 11 points per game. Granted, their last four opponents were not world-beaters.Take the points with the Rams.

NFL Week 11 Picks

Start timeMatchupSpreadTotal
THURSDAY
20:20Pittsburgh @ Cleveland CLE – 3.041.5
SUNDAY
13:00Houston @ Baltimore BAL -4.951.5
13:00Atlanta @ CarolinaCAR -5.049.5
13:00Dallas @ DetroitN/AN/A
13:00Jacksonville @ IndianapolisIND -3.043.5
13:00Buffalo @ Miami BUF -6.540.5
13:00Denver @ MinnesotaMIN -10.540.0
13:00New Orleans @ Tampa BayNO -5.550.0
13:00N.Y. Jets @ WashingtonWAS – 1.538.5
16:05Arizona @ San FranciscoSF -10.045.0
16:25Cincinnati @ OaklandOAK -10.548.5
16:25New England @ PhiladelphiaNE -3.545.0
20:20Chicago @ LA RamsDAL -6.540.0
MONDAY
20:15Kansas City vs. L.A. Chargers (in Mexico City)KAN -3.552.0

Pittsburgh @ Cleveland (-3.0)

One of my concerns with Pittsburgh is their running game. Before last Sunday’s win over the Rams, the Steelers were averaging 3.9 yards per rush, with Jaylen Samuels bringing up the rear at 2.3 yards per carry. I don’t like backing teams with poor running games when they play on the road. Especially when they have an inexperienced quarterback. This will be Mason Rudolph’s second career road start. His first road start was in Los Angeles vs. the Chargers and it was played with lots of Steeler fans in the stands.

Pittsburgh is trending sky high in defensive turnovers. I talked about that in my writeup for the New England/Baltimore game a couple of weeks ago. When teams are averaging more then 2 defensive turnovers per game, they’re usually due for a fall. Pittsburgh is averaging 2.9 defensive turnovers per game.

My bet is on Cleveland minus the points.

Houston @ Baltimore (-4.0)

Baltimore is going to attract a lot of money this week, thanks to their video game win over Cincinnati. However, that was against a rookie quarterback in his first start on a winless team. This game will be much different. It’s also a sketchy situational spot for Baltimore, coming off a huge win over the Patriots in Week Nine, and then last week’s blowout win over the Bengals. Meanwhile, Houston head coach Bill O’Brien is 4-1 SUATS off a bye week. O’Brien is also 1-1 SU and 2-0 ATS vs. Baltimore, covering both games as an underdog.

I’m picking the Texans.

Atlanta @ Carolina (-5.0)

Last week, Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn stopped calling plays for the defense and handed those duties off to linebackers’ coach Jeff Ulbrich. Atlanta’s defense responded with their best performance since 2017.

I strongly suspect that Ulbrich will call defensive plays again this week and that could spell trouble for Carolina, a team whose quarterback has 10 turnovers to go with 10 touchdown passes. Carolina has also lost the yards per play battle in each of their last four games, and since their bye week, they have allowed 6.0 yards per rush, and 172 rushing yards per game.

I’m pulling the trigger with Atlanta here.

Dallas @ Detroit (N/A)

Matthew Stafford’s status for this game is still up in the air, making it difficult to predict. If Stafford plays, there’s no telling how effective he will be. If he doesn’t play, the line for Dallas is going to be too high. Pass.

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis (-3.0)

Both games in this series were close last year, with Indianapolis winning the first one by a score of 29-26, and Jacksonville winning the second by a score 6-0. Of course, the Colts had Andrew Luck for both of those games. Here, they’ll have Jacoby Brissett who might not be fully recovered from his recent injury.

Brissett struggled against Todd Wash’s Jacksonville’s defense in two starts in 2017. He led his team to 0 points in the first game, and 10 points in the second. In both games combined, he took 14 sacks, threw 1 touchdown pass, and had two interceptions

One of Jacksonville’s big advantages in this game is on special teams. Kicker Josh Lambo is 22 for 22 in field goals, and 12 of 13 in extra points. His counterpart with Indianapolis, Adam Vinatieri, is 14 for 19 in field goals, and 14 for 20 in extra points. 

If you can get the Jags at +3.5, do it!

Buffalo (-6.5) @ Miami

With Miami running back Mark Walton suspended, and Kenyan Drake traded away to Arizona (5.8 yards per rush with the Cards), the lead running back for the Dolphins is now Kalen Ballage. Ballage averaged 3.1 yards per rush against Buffalo in two games last year, and he is averaging 2.1 yards per rush for Miami this year. His longest run this season has been 8 yards. To me, this is the key to the entire game. Miami will not be able to exploit Buffalo’s poor run defense (4.5 yards per rush allowed), and will have to depend on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to win the game on his own. I doubt he’ll succeed.

I still can’t lay that many points with Buffalo. I pass.

Denver @ Minnesota (-10.5)

Denver’s secret weapon in this game is head coach Vic Fangio. He has several years of experience going up against Minnesota from his time as the defensive coordinator for Chicago. In his last four games vs. Minnesota, Fangio’s defense allowed the Vikings 20, 23, 20, and 10 points. Even so, I’m leery of going up against Mike Zimmer’s defense in a road game with a quarterback in his second career start.

Zimmer also has a strong 20-3 ATS record as a home favorite vs. non-division opponents, including 3-1 ATS this year. The only non-cover this season was when Minnesota laid 17 points to Washington and won by 10. That’s a pass.

New Orleans (-5.5) @ Tampa Bay

Since 2015, the team that lost the first game in this series came back to win and cover the rematch. That bodes well for Tampa Bay who lost to New Orleans in Week Five by a score of 31-24. However, I don’t know if I have the stomach to back the Bucs, at least not with Jameis Winston at quarterback.

On the other side of the field, Drew Brees might be hiding a rib injury, which would help account for his team’s lackluster performance last week. Pass this game.

N.Y. Jets @ Washington (-1.5)

Do you think Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins can win this game for the Redskins? Because that’s what this one boils down to. 

To me, this game falls under the “You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me” system, similar to Arizona laying 3 points to Carolina back in Week Three. As you recall, that game featured a rookie quarterback and a rookie head coach, neither of whom had ever won an NFL game, laying 3-points. Well, if they had never won before, how in the world were they supposed to cover as favorites?

Here, we have a quarterback who not only has never won a game, he has never even thrown a touchdown pass or run for a touchdown. A quarterback averaging less than 5 yards per pass attempt, and playing for a team with an interim head coach and record of 1-8. And if you recall that lone win for Washington came by a single point, and would not have occurred if Miami’s Kenyan Drake had not dropped a 2-point conversion pass on the final play of the game. You’ve got to be kidding me.

Just bet the Jets with as many points as you can get.

 

Arizona @ San Francisco (-10.0)

San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan is 1-4 SUATS vs. Arizona, including 1-0 SU and 0-1 ATS this year. These teams played just two weeks ago. Going back 10 years, teams that lose the first game in a division series and then play the same opponent two weeks later are 16-4 ATS.

Frisco is dealing with a slew of injuries. Offensive lineman Joe Staley injured his finger and is out for multiple weeks, and the team just lost defensive lineman Ronald Blair for the season. Running back Matt Brieda, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and tight end George Kittle are all on the wrong side of questionable this week. If they do play, they likely won’t be at 100%.

I said earlier this season that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was a fraud and he went a long way to validate that last week with two fumbles and an interception. For the year, he has 14 touchdown passes, 8 interceptions, and 4 fumbles. If he played for any other team, their record would be 2-7, instead of 8-1.

The Niners will not lose the game but I doubt they will cover. Pick Arizona with the points.

Cincinnati @ Oakland (-10.5)

This is a division sandwich game for Cincinnati, but none of that matters. They’re 0-9 and floundering their way to a possible winless season. This is a long travel game for the visiting team, all the way west to the black hole. It’s a terrible spot, and with the Raiders sniffing at the playoffs, it’s made even worse. But do you really want to lay double-digits with Oakland? The only way I might play this one is with Oakland in a 10-point teaser, so all they have to do is win the game. Even then, I’m not decided. Quarterback Derek Carr is 2-5 SUATS off two wins exact.

I pass.

New England (-3.5) @ Philadelphia

Payback time for Brady and Belichick. Nothing would make them happier than a win over the team that beat them in the 2017 Super Bowl. The question is, can they do it? Brady has been showing his age lately. He can talk about playing till he’s 45 all he wants, but I can tell you right now, he’s not going to make it.

The motivation for Philadelphia is to prove that their Super Bowl win was not a fluke. Like New England, they’re coming off their bye week. Jim Schwartz’s defense plays better at home: 18.5 points and 244 yards per game this year; 16 points and 311 yards per game from 2016-18. Plus, Brady has often struggled on road grass.

I pass this game.

Chicago @ LA Rams (-6.5)

The Rams scored a total of 12 points last week on a fumble return for a touchdown, a safety, and a field goal. It was the third time in the Sean McVay era that Los Angeles was held without an offensive touchdown. What’s more, McVay appears to have moved on from the run-first approach that worked so well for him in his first two years, and opted to put the ball in Jared Goff’s hands. We can all see what that has led to.

I’m thinking Chicago takes this game, if only because of the matchup between their defense and L.A.’s offensive line. But I don’t know if I want to put my money on Chicago’s anemic offense.

No bet here.

Kansas City (-3.5) vs. L.A. Chargers (in Mexico City)

Road warrior Andy Reid doesn’t lose often when playing away from home, but when he does, he is 12-6 SU and 11-7 ATS in his next game, including 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback. 

Steichen (the now O-coordinator of the Chargers) had never called plays before on any level. He looked okay in the win over Green Bay, but last week featured some of the worst play-calling I’ve ever seen. Now he has to travel – to Mexico, no less – and I have a hard time seeing him keeping up with Kansas City’s explosive offense.

Since this a neutral field, I am picking Kansas minus the points.

NFL Week 10 Picks

Start timeMatchupSpreadTotal
THURSDAY
20:20L.A. Chargers @ OaklandLAC -1.548.5
SUNDAY
13:00Detroit @ ChicagoCHI -2.541.5
13:00Baltimore @ CincinnatiBAL -10.044.5
13:00Buffalo @ ClevelandCLE -3.040.0
13:00Atlanta @ New OrleansNO -13.051.0
13:00N.Y. Giants @ NY Jets NYG -2.544.5
13:00Arizona @ Tampa BayTB -4.552.0
13:00Kansas City @ TennesseeKAN -6.040.0
16:05Miami @ IndianapolisIND -10.044.0
16:25L.A. Rams @ PittsburghLAR -3.544.0
16:25Carolina @ Green BayGB -5.547.0
20:20Minnesota @ DallasDAL -3.048.0
MONDAY
20:15Seattle @ San FranciscoSF -6.047.0

L.A. Chargers (-1.5) @ Oakland

These aren’t last year’s Raiders. Well, maybe the defense is. Oakland allowed 29 points per game last year, and they’re allowing 27 points per game this year. However, Oakland’s offense has improved tremendously, from 18 points per game last year, to 23 points per game this year. Credit head coach Jon Gruden, who was quoted this week saying he hates playing on Thursday night, where he is 0-3 SUATS.

On the other side of the field, Rivers is 18-9 SU vs. Oakland. Best of all, he is 4-0 SUATS over the last two years vs. Oakland defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, with 8 touchdown passes and only 1 interception. Conversely, Oakland’s Derek Carr is 1-4 SUATS vs. Los Angeles defensive coordinator Gus Bradley since 2016, with 4 touchdown passes, 4 interceptions, and 1 fumble.

I am taking the Chargers -1.

Detroit @ Chicago (-2.5)

Detroit was swept by Chicago last year, so they should be up for this game. Meanwhile, Chicago is off a playoff revenge game vs. Philadelphia, as well as four straight losses. The local Chicago media has been brutal, with no sign of letting up. 

Chicago benefitted from a lot of defensive turnovers last year, but the turnovers are not coming this year, and now quarterback Mitch Trubisky appears to have lost some of his confidence. The idea of laying points with Chicago is comical, but I don’t trust the people running Detroit. For reasons unknown, they trade away skilled, popular players (Golden Tate last year, Quandre Diggs this year), and then struggle to win games.

I pass.

Baltimore (-10.0) @ Cincinnati

Benched! Andy Dalton, that is. Dalton’s replacement is rookie Ryan Finley. All of the rookie and 1st time starters we’ve seen this year that have done well have had at least two of the following factors in their favor: an above average defense, an experienced coaching staff, a strong running game. Cincinnati has none of those things. In fact, they rate near the bottom of the league in all three categories.

As for Baltimore, they are 4-1 SU and 0-4-1 ATS in division games with Lamar Jackson at quarterback. The Ravens are also off a huge Sunday night win. Think about that. They just knocked off last year’s Super Bowl champions, who just happened to be the only unbeaten team in the AFC. And now the Ravens are playing a winless team. They could be just a little distracted for this game.

It is time for Baltimore to cover at least once in the division. I am picking them minus the points.

Buffalo @ Cleveland (-3.0)

For some odd reason, Buffalo has played better on the road than at home this year, going 3-0 SUATS. Of course, they played the Jets, Giants, and Titans, so that could explain it.

On defense, Buffalo is ranked 3rd in the league in points allowed per game (16), and 3rd in the league in yards per play. Cleveland is ranked 23rd in the league in points allowed, and 20th in yards per play.

Buffalo is being downgraded because of the low level of competition they’ve beaten, but as John Madden liked to say, “They played the teams on their schedule.” Buffalo also held their own against New England. 

A lot of people called Cleveland their best bet last week. Indeed, Cleveland was a top pick among the 3,000-plus SuperContest contestants. A lot of those same people are calling Cleveland their best bet this week. What am I missing here? I see a winning, but flawed Buffalo team getting points against a train wreck (Cleveland). From the coaching staff on down, the Browns look like a collection of personalities, but not a team. I am taking Buffalo and the points.

Carolina @ Green Bay (-5.5)

Green Bay has allowed their last six opponents to score 34, 24, 22, 24, 24, and 26 points. When I lay points with a favorite I want a little better defense than that. I’ll make an exception if my squad is going up against a flawed team, like Miami, the Giants, or the Jets, but Carolina is not a flawed team. They’re 5-3 SU, including 5-1 SU with Kyle Allen at quarterback.

Carolina offensive coordinator Norv Turner has some familiarity with Green Bay from his time with Minnesota. That might help just a little. Green Bay is allowing 4.7 yards per rush and 128 rushing yards per game. Carolina is averaging 5.1 yards per rush and 133 rushing yards per game. Carolina’s pass defense is allowing 6.1 net yards per attempt. Green Bay’s pass defense is allowing 7.6 net yards per attempt.

I think Carolina covers here.

Atlanta @ New Orleans (-13.)

Like Cincinnati, the Falcons are another desperate team coming off their bye week. This game is the first of five consecutive division games for them, and the start of four consecutive division games for New Orleans. I’m not enthusiastic about either team. Atlanta has no pass rush and no defense, but it’s too many points for New Orleans to be laying.

Despite some key injuries, New Orleans has been playing like one of the best teams in the league. Now some of those players are back, including Drew Brees.

No bet here.

N.Y. Giants (-2.5) @ N.Y. Jets

The Jets are off a brutal three game stretch that saw them play New England at home, Jacksonville on the road, and then Miami on the road. That Miami game was head coach Adam Gase’s first game vs. his former team, and he lost. To the worst team in the history of the NFL (almost). Teams off Miami are 3-4 SUATS this year.

Either of these teams could implode. I’m not touching either one.

Arizona @ Tampa Bay (-4.5)

Well, he did it again. Who did what, you ask? Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury lost another game thanks to a boneheaded coaching decision; in this case, calling a timeout just before his defense stuffed a running play and saved a touchdown. That is yet another example of why I say more games are lost due to boneheaded coaches than for any other factor. The Cardinals did get the cover, though.

This is a tricky scheduling spot for Arizona. It’s their third game out of four, and fourth game out of six on the road. And they have another road game next week against San Francisco, the team they came dangerously close to beating (if not for Kingsbury’s timeout). For Tampa Bay, this is their first home game since Week Three. And it’s Bruce Arians’ first game vs. his former team.

Both teams feature pass-happy offenses and Swiss cheese defenses. The difference is Arizona’s Kyler Murray rarely turns the ball over, while Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston is a turnover machine.

I am betting the Over here.

Kansas City (-6.0) @ Tennessee

More on boneheaded coaches: Did you know that Tennessee running back Derrick Henry, the team’s most dynamic player, had only two touches in the first half of last week’s game?

Patrick Mahomes is slated to return for this game, but it’s not final. Matt Moore could get the start. If Moore does start, then I kind of like Tennessee. Ryan Tannehill is 28-18 SU as a starter at home, including 2-0 SUATS with the Titans. 

Kansas City plays the Chargers in Mexico next week, and that game could be on their mind just a little. I an picking the Titans here.

Miami @ Indianapolis (-10.0)

Miami is tied with the Jets for being the worst team in the league. Yet the line is just -10.0.

Of course, that’s based on Brian Hoyer possibly starting for Indianapolis. Even with Hoyer, Indianapolis should cover this line, although I hesitate to bet them as they haven’t won a game this year by more than 7 points. 

I pass.

L.A. Rams (-3.5) @ Pittsburgh

Road favorites off a bye week will cover the spread around 60% of the time. But the numbers here don’t add up as I have the Rams better by only 2 points on a neutral field. And now they are laying 3.5 on the road?

You may have heard that Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff falters under pressure. That’s true and it could come into play in this game. Pittsburgh has one of the league’s top defensive lines. They’re averaging 3.6 sacks a game. Pittsburgh also has one of the league’s top offensive lines in terms of pass protection. L.A.’s offensive line hasn’t been the same this year since they lost some key players in the offseason.

I am siding with Pittsburgh and the points.

Minnesota @ Dallas (-3.0)

Dallas head coach Jason Garrett 1-6 SU and 2-5 ATS off MNF. And one of those wins came last year at Philadelphia, where he is 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS. Minnesota counters that with quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has a penchant for performing poorly in night games, and also against winning teams.

Cousins is 15-25-2 SU on the road (40-41-2 SU overall). He seems to struggle with surface changes. When he played for the Redskins, on a grass field, he struggled on road turf. Since joining the Vikings, with a turf field, he has struggled on road grass, going 0-3 SUATS this year, and 1-2-1 SUATS last year.

Dak Prescott is 21-9 SU at home (38-21 SU overall). He’s a far better player than most people give him credit for, and he makes Garrett look a lot better than he is. I think he’ll be able to take advantage of Minnesota’s pass defense, which has regressed a bit this year. Minnesota has allowed 15 touchdown passes through nine games. Dallas has allowed 6 touchdown passes in eight games.

I am going with Dallas -3.0.

Seattle @ San Francisco (-6.0)

Pete Carroll is 26-5-1 ATS in prime time games. That’s an incredible record.

Seattle also has a quarterback edge in this game. Russell Wilson has 25 total touchdowns vs. 3 turnovers, while San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo has 14 touchdowns vs. 9 turnovers.

Unfortunately, aside from Carroll and Wilson, all my statistical numbers point to San Francisco. The 49ers one weakness could be the run defense that has regressed of late. Since their Week Four bye week, they have allowed 5.5 yards per rush and 120 rushing yards per game. That plays right into Seattle’s penchant for running the ball…. As long as Chris Carson doesn’t fumble.

We are getting just too many points with Seattle to pass this one up. Take the points and bet on Seattle.

NFL Week 9 Picks

Start timeMatchupSpreadTotal
THURSDAY
20:20San Francisco @ ArizonaSF -10.043.0
SUNDAY
09:30Houston @ Jacksonville (in London)HOU -1.546.5
13:00Washington @ BuffaloBUF -9.036.5
13:00Tennessee @ CarolinaCAR -3.542.0
13:00Minnesota @ Kansas CityN/AN/A
13:00N.Y. Jets @ Miami NYJ -3.042.5
13:00Chicago @ PhiladelphiaPHI -5.042.0
13:00Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh IND -1.042.5
16:05Detroit @ OaklandOAK -2.550.0
16:05Tampa Bay @ SeattleSEA -5.552.0
16:05Cleveland @ DenverCLE -3.039.0
16:25Green Bay @ LA ChargersGB -3.548.5
20:20New England @ BaltimoreNE -3.045.5
MONDAY
20:15Dallas @ NY GiantsDAL -7.048.0

San Francisco (-10.0) @ Arizona

You’ve heard me talk about boneheaded coaches and boneheaded play-calling. I think poor decisions by boneheaded coaches are the number one reason why teams fail to cover spreads. Which brings me to Arizona. Did you see them last week when they had 3rd-and-1 inside their own 30-yard line? It was still a close game at that point. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury called a pass play. That’s a boneheaded play call, because the odds of completing a 1-yard run are much higher than completing a 1-yard pass. The pass was incomplete. So what does Kingsbury do next? He goes for it on 4th down. On the road. Against New Orleans. I don’t have to tell you what happened next.

San Francisco, as I mentioned last week, is trending very high on all my statistical markers and is due for a fall. Not only that, they’re doing it with very suspect quarterback play. Jimmy Garoppolo has 9 touchdown passes and 9 turnovers in seven games. For a team to be 7-0 SU and 5-2 ATS with that kind of quarterback play is highly unusual.

I will pass this game.

Houston (-1.5) @ Jacksonville (in London)

While London is a neutral field, you have to give a slight advantage to Jacksonville, if only because they are used to the overseas travel. They did lose their London game last year to Philly by a score of 24-18, but in the three London games prior to that, the Jags went 3-0 SUATS.

Since Bill O’Brien became the head coach of Houston, the team that wins the first game in this series is 5-0 SU and 3-2 ATS in the second game. That bodes well for Houston, as they took the first game in Week Two by a score of 13-12. However, they lost the yards per play battle in that game 4.2 to 4.8. It was also rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew’s first career start. He has a lot more experience under his belt now.

I am siding with Jacksonville in this one.

Washington @ Buffalo

For the second week in a row, Washington was right on the verge of pulling the upset as a double-digit dog. They were right there, only down a handful of points late in the game, but stupid mistakes and a costly turnover did them in. I think their two-game streak of staying close as a double-digit dog ends here. Especially, if quarterback Case Keenum, who was knocked out of last week’s game with a concussion, can’t play. Backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins is far from being ready to compete in the NFL, and the team’s primary offensive weapon appears to be 34-year-old running back Adrian Peterson.

Something else to consider: Washington is off three consecutive “big” games. First, they had a road trip to Miami in their first game after Jay Gruden was fired. The whole team was on high alert for that one. They knew that jobs were on the line, they knew they had to win their first game, and they knew they didn’t want to be disgraced by losing to the worst team in the history of football. Washington won. Barely.

I don’t trust either side here. Pass.

Tennessee @ Carolina (-3.5)

I was pleasantly surprised to see Tennessee pull that win out for us last week. They did it despite some horrendous play-calling, including an ugly fake field goal. If Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston wasn’t such a turnover machine, Tennessee would have lost.

Through two games as a starter, quarterback Ryan Tannehill is completing 71% of his passes, with a TD/INT ratio of 5/1. Tennessee has also improved tremendously in red zone scoring since making the switch to Tannehill. The only problem is those games were both at home. Now he’s on the road.

Carolina gave up 51 points on the road last week. The last time they did that was in Week Ten last year, when they gave up 52 points to Pittsburgh. After that game they went on an 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS run. Could it happen again this year?

I like Tennessee with the points.

Minnesota @ Kansas City

It is unclear who will play QB for Kansas this week. Even if it is Mahomes, I still like the Vikings but it depends on the line.

N.Y. Jets (-3.0) @ Miami

One of these bottom-feeders has to win. You would think that Adam Gase, having spent the previous three years as the head coach of Miami would have the upper hand, but no, I actually think Miami has a shot to win, provided their clueless coaching staff lets them.

I am betting Miami.

Chicago @ Philadelphia (-5.0)

Most see this as a good playoff revenge spot for Chicago. I see it as a repeat of last year’s playoff match, with Philly coming out on top. Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson is 3-0 SUATS vs. Chicago. He has the better quarterback, the better coaching staff, and he’s at home, where he sports a 22-7 SU and 18-11 ATS record.

Jim Schwartz’s defense is allowing 20 points per game at home this year, compared to 28 points per game on the road.

Still, that’s too many points to lay. I am passing.

Indianapolis (-1.0) @ Pittsburgh

The more I look at this game, the more I like Pittsburgh. Jacoby Brissett has performed better than most expected since taking over as the starter in late August. A slight letdown in a road situation like this is only natural. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has held together admirably, despite being down to their 2nd and 3rd string quarterbacks.

Indianapolis just came off a pair of home games, and they have a pair of home games on deck vs. Miami and Jacksonville. So, again, this could be an overlooked game.

I am taking the Steelers plus the points.

Detroit @ Oakland (-2.5)

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford is having one of his better years – some say his best. However, I’m a little reluctant to back him in a road game played on grass. Also, Oakland has been better than most expected this year. They’re back to having one of the league’s best offensive lines, although center Rodney Hudson might be out for a while.

Tough to pick a side here. Pass.

Tampa Bay @ Seattle (-5.5)

Since 2013, head coach Pete Carroll is 1-4 SUATS at home vs. Tampa Bay’s Bruce Arians, and 40-8 SU and 28-16-4 ATS vs. everyone else. During that same time, Carroll is 1-1 SU and 0-2 ATS vs. Tampa Bay. Here, he gets the double whammy: facing both Arians and Tampa Bay. There’s just one problem with backing Tampa Bay: quarterback Jameis Winston.

I will pass this one.

Cleveland (-3.0) @ Denver

The big news here is that Joe Flacco is out and Brandon Allen will get his first NFL start. On the one hand, Flacco was 2-6 SU as a starter, with 6 touchdown passes and 8 turnovers, so can Allen really play that much less efficiently?

With Cleveland, you have a 2-4 team laying points on the road. It’s a situation that does not make any sense. Unless you think that backup quarterback Brandon Allen is going to throw multiple interceptions. That’s possible, but at this point nobody knows how he will play. So we have massive public perception, which very well could be wrong, driving this line up to 3.5 points, and probably more than that by kick-off.

I’ll take Denver with as many points as possible.

Green Bay (-3.5) @ LA Chargers

Los Angeles head coach Anthony Lynn made offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt the fall guy, firing him after last week’s win. (Maybe I’m wrong, but I always thought winning your last game was a good thing.) Shane Steichen, the team’s quarterback coach, will be the interim offensive coordinator. Steichen has never called plays before on any level.

This is a desperate mid-season gamble that could blow up in the Chargers’ faces. It makes Green Bay look like a solid pick. However, they are playing on the road immediately after a Sunday night road game. Plus they are favored. That’s not a good spot. And while the Chargers are notorious for having their home games filled with fans of opponents’ teams, it’s still a long travel game for the Packers.

A small bet on Green Bay makes sense, though.

New England (-3.0) @ Baltimore

I’ve been waiting for this game. As I’ve mentioned over the last few weeks, New England is trending extremely high in almost all of my statistical categories. In fact, they are so high, they are ready to burst. They haven’t burst yet, because they’ve gone up against a plethora of bad teams. This will be the first time all season they’ll face a real team.

Let me tell you about one of the categories I look at: defensive turnovers. The average team will notch 1.5 defensive turnovers a game. When I see a team trending 2.0 or more defensive turnovers a game, it’s usually a sign that they’re ripe for fall. Through eight games this season, New England is averaging 3.1 defensive turnovers a game. They are so close to bursting, I am amazed it hasn’t happened yet.

Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh is 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS when playing off a bye week, including 5-1 ATS vs. non-division opponents. Harbaugh is also 3-6 SU and 4-3-2 ATS vs. New England. He’s the only coach in the league who has beaten the Patriots at Foxborough twice in the postseason.

The value is on the Ravens. Bet them.

Dallas (-7.0) @ NY Giants

There’s a big difference between the Detroit defense that the Giants faced last week and the Dallas defense they will face this week. Detroit traded one of their best defensive backs before last week’s game vs. New York, and another starting defensive back did not play. The Giants are not going to score 4 touchdowns in this game.

Also, Dak Prescott has a TD/INT ratio of 31/10 in division games, including 14/2 vs. New York, and 14/3 in division road games. Dallas is 25-3 SU and 21-6-1 ATS when Prescott throws one or more touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Meanwhile, road favorites off a bye week have a solid history, hitting around 60%.

It is risky to bet Dallas on the road minus so many points, but it’s worth it here.

2020 NFL Predictions: Week 8

 

Start timeMatchupSpreadTotal
THURSDAY
20:20Washington @ MinnesotaMIN -17.042.0
SUNDAY
13:00Seattle @ AtlantaN/AN/A
13:00Philadelphia @ BuffaloBUF -2.043.5
13:00L.A. Chargers @ ChicagoCHI -4.041.0
13:00N.Y. Giants @ DetroitDET -7.049.5
13:00Tampa Bay @ TennesseeTEN -2.545.5
13:00N.Y. Jets @ JacksonvilleJAX -6.540.5
13:00Cincinnati vs. L.A. RamsLAR -13.048.5
13:00Arizona @ New OrleansNO -10.548.0
13:00Denver @ IndianapolisIND -5.543.0
16:05Carolina @ San FranciscoSF -5.542.5
16:25Oakland @ HoustonHOU -6.551.5
16:25Cleveland @ New EnglandNE -13.045.5
20:20Green Bay @ Kansas CityGB -3.548.0
MONDAY
20:15Miami @ PittsburghNE -14.043.5

 

Washington @ Minnesota (-17.0)

Washington’s offense was painful to watch last week, absolutely painful. 26 rushing attempts and 12 pass attempts. They had a golden opportunity to steal a win, but they kept shooting themselves in the foot. Under interim head coach Bill Callahan, they have scored 17 points total over the last two games

On the positive side, Washington’s defense seems to have come alive since they fired Jay Gruden. The Redskins have allowed 25 points total over the last two games, including holding Frisco to season-low points and yards. Has defensive coordinator Greg Manusky been sandbagging us all this time? 

Having said that, I’m not laying 17 points with Kirk Cousins. I’m just not doing it. In fact, the last time Cap’n Kirk was a 17-point favorite he lost outright. That was a home game vs. Buffalo in Week Three last year.I am betting Washington plus the points.

Seattle @ Atlanta (N/A)

There’s no line for this game as it is not clear if Matt Ryan will start. If he plays, and Seattle’s at -3.0, it is okay to bet them.

Philadelphia @ Buffalo (-2.0)

Buffalo is now 22-8 SU and 19-10-1 ATS when hosting teams from grass fields. That’s not all; going back to his time as Carolina’s defensive coordinator, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott is 36-9 SU and 26-17-2 ATS as a home favorite. But Buffalo has struggled vs. elite quarterbacks over the last three years, going 0-10 SU and 2-8 ATS vs. Brady, Brees, Luck, Rivers, and Rodgers. Whether you consider Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz “elite” is debatable. I consider him well above average. He’s certainly better than Buffalo’s Josh Allen. No bet here.

L.A. Chargers @ Chicago (-4.0)

Both teams are on losing streaks. The Bears have lost two in a row, and the Chargers have lost three in a row. Chicago has a scheduling advantage, as this is a back-to-back home game for them, while a back-to-back road game for Los Angeles. Both teams have injury issues. Of course, Philip Rivers gives L.A. a huge quarterback edge.

What stands out to me is how anemic Chicago’s offense is this year. They’re averaging less than 19 points and 265 yards per game. They haven’t cracked 300 yards of offense once in six games this year. For a team like that to cover a 4-point spread, they pretty much have to shut down their opponent. That doesn’t seem likely this week.

Taking the points with the Chargers here is the way to go.

N.Y. Giants @ Detroit (-7.0)

This looks like a “get right” game for Detroit. After losing three in a row to a trio of teams that all appear headed for the postseason, they get to play the 2-win Giants. The problem is Detroit has only won two games themselves, each by 3 points, and now they’re laying a full touchdown. They’ve lost the yards per play battle in every game this year except for Week One, and in that game they blew a huge lead to a rookie quarterback in his first start and ended the game in a tie. There’s also a Golden Tate revenge angle for the G-Men, with the former Detroit player up against his old team.

New York quarterback Daniel Jones has 11 turnover in five starts. 

I Pass.

Oakland @ Houston (-6.5)

This is Oakland’s fifth game in a row away from home. That has to be some kind of record. Under head coach Jon Gruden the last two years, Oakland is 2-9 SU and 3-8 ATS on the road.

 

But Oakland seemed to move the ball at will last week at Green Bay, before shooting themselves in the foot with costly fumbles. When looking at Oakland’s offense last week, there’s an inclination to assume they’ll move the ball well against Houston too. 

I don’t feel well when I see a team move the ball up and down the field, only to lose the game due to stupid mistakes and turnovers. Isn’t Atlanta following that pattern this year?

I will bet the Over 51.5 in this one.

N.Y. Jets @ Jacksonville

New York quarterback Sam Darnold went 2-5 SUATS on the road last year, and here he’ll be facing one of the league’s better defenses. In last year’s game between these two, Darnold led his team to 12 points and 178 yards of offense. Jacksonville had a 503-178 yardage advantage. Darnold is off the worst performance of his career, and he hasn’t practiced so far this week, because he had an operation on his toe on Tuesday. Yet he’s supposed to show up here and play at a high level? I don’t think so.

New York is on a 5-11-1 ATS run after playing New England, and teams coming off a game with New England this year are 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS.

I’ll lay the points with the Jaguars here.

Cincinnati vs. L.A. Rams (-13.0) (in London)

I think coaching experience could play a big role in this game. Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor is a first time head coach with first time assistants, traveling across the ocean. L.A.’s Sean McVay is in his third year as head coach, and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has been around forever. I think they will have their team better prepared for this game. Los Angeles is also coming off a win, so some of the pressure is off after they lost three consecutive games.

In this particular game, the Los Angeles pass rush has an enormous advantage over Cincy’s makeshift offensive line. And newly acquired cornerback Jalen Ramsey has plenty of experience playing in London from his time in Jacksonville. QB Andy Dalton went up against Ramsey’s old Jacksonville team in 2017 and lost by a score of 23-7.

Laying the points with the Rams doesn’t look like such a huge risk. Do it.

Arizona @ New Orleans (-10.5)

The line on this game opened at -8, and now it’s sitting at -10.5. It could even go higher. The reason for the line movement is news that quarterback Drew Brees will play. Everyone seems to think he’s going to step right in and perform flawlessly.

Expecting Brees to step in here, in his first game back, and play at a high level seems risky to me. He’s one of the worst quarterbacks in the league in Weeks One and Two, and that’s partly because he barely plays in the preseason. Now he’s been off the last five weeks, so he’s going to be rusty.

Arizona protects the football well. They have only 4 turnovers for the year. They’re riding a winning streak, so they’re playing with confidence. They got cornerback Patrick Peterson back last week. I say 10.5 points is too high

I’ll take a shot with Arizona and the generous points.

Tampa Bay @ Tennessee (-2.5)

After Ryan Tannehill passed for more yards than Marcus Mariota did in his previous two games combined, I don’t think he’s going anywhere. Tannehill’s 319 passing yards were more than any other Tennessee quarterback has had since Week Four of last season.

Tennessee is allowing 16 points per game. Tampa Bay is allowing 31 points per game. That is a huge difference. Of course, Tampa Bay is scoring 29 points per game, compared to 17 points per game for Tennessee. But Tennessee’s offense might have found a spark with their quarterback change. Last week, with Tannehill under center, they rolled up season-high yards (403) and season-high yards per play (6.6), and they scored 23 points.


Still, Tampa is coming off a bye and a 2-game losing streak. I am passing.

Carolina @ San Francisco (-5.5)

Carolina is trending high on some of my stats, which makes them due for a correction, but San Fran is trending even higher. Not only that, they’re doing it with very suspect quarterback play. Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in two games. His TD/INT ratio for the year is 7/6, which is awful and doesn’t include 2 fumbles. For a team to be 6-0 SU and 4-2 ATS with that kind of quarterback play is highly unusual. They’re due to come down hard.

Situationally, Carolina is in a much better spot. They’re coming off their bye week. The 49ers have a Thursday game on deck vs. a division opponent, followed by a Monday night matchup vs. Seattle, a game that could decide who wins the division. I’m taking Carolina and the points.

Denver @ Indianapolis (-5.5)

Denver quarterback Joe Flacco is 3-4 SU and 1-6 ATS vs. the Colts, including 0-3 SUATS when playing on the road at Indianapolis. If Flacco throws a touchdown pass at Indianapolis this week, it will be his first ever in their stadium.

Denver has played two winning teams this year – Green Bay and Kansas City – and lost to both. Flacco was sacked 15 times in those two games, with his team losing 27-16 at Green Bay, and 30-6 at home vs. Kansas City. 

Indianapolis is as close to full strength as they’ve been all year, with several injured players returning. Denver’s strength – if they still have it – is their defensive line and pass rush, but the Colts have one of the league’s best offensive lines.

I’m betting the Colts minus the points.

Cleveland @ New England (-13.0)

This is interesting. We have the offseason’s uncrowned Super Bowl champion team (Cleveland) and their uncrowned MVP quarterback (Baker Mayfield) vs. the real thing (New England and Tom Brady). New England is bursting at the seams in all of my stat categories. They are due for a huge fall, but I don’t know if it will happen here. After all, you have Bill Belichick on one sideline, and Freddie Kitchens on the other. Who do you think is going to win that chess match? I don’t like the line. It’s a pass for me.

Green Bay (-3.5) @ Kansas City

So your MVP quarterback is noticeably limping with an injured ankle and you call a quarterback sneak? Well, that’s Andy Reid for you. Fortunately for the Chiefs, Reid is one of the best coaches in the league when it comes to rallying the troops around a backup quarterback

I’m not betting this game.

 

Miami @ Pittsburgh (-14.0)

 

The Dolphins certainly looked more competitive last week, but there were several reasons for that. First off, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick automatically elevates their play over Josh Rosen. Also, Fitzpatrick is a former Buffalo Bill. He’s used to playing in that stadium and he is familiar with the atmosphere.From a situational standpoint, Pittsburgh has a big advantage. Miami is on the second of back-to-back road games, and in a division sandwich. Pittsburgh is off their bye week, giving them extra time to prepare. Pittsburgh is also very needy this week. They had plans to make the postseason, but have won only two games this season. This is the first of a three-game homestand for Pittsburgh and they need to start off with a win in the worst way. They will hold nothing back in this game. I still can’t lay that many points. It’s a pass.

 

Start timeMatchupSpreadTotal
THURSDAY
20:20Kansas City @ DenverKAN -3.049.5
SUNDAY
13:00L.A. Rams @ AtlantaLAR -3.055.0
13:00Miami @ BuffaloBUF -17.041.0
13:00Jacksonville @ CincinnatiJAX -3.544.0
13:00Minnesota @ DetroitMIN -1.543.5
13:00Oakland @ Green BayGB -5.547.0
13:00Houston @ IndianapolisIND -1.047.0
13:00Arizona @ NY GiantsNYG -3.050.5
16:05San Francisco @ WashingtonSF -9.541.0
16:05L.A. Chargers @ Tennessee TEN -2.040.5
16:25New Orleans @ ChicagoCHI -3.540.5
16:25Baltimore @ SeattleSEA -3.048.5
20:20Philadelphia @ DallasDAL -2.548.5
MONDAY
20:15New England @ NY JetsNE -9.544.0

2020 NFL Expert Picks Week 7

Kansas City (-3.0) @ Denver

When a team has to cross multiple time zones to play on a short week, it’s always a difficult spot. When you consider how banged up Kansas City is, it becomes even more tenuous. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been noticeably limping the last two weeks, and on Sunday he appeared to aggravate his ankle even more. Mahomes isn’t the only injured player on KC’s roster either.

Denver is a pretty healthy team right now. They’re not a great team, but they’re playing better than when the season started. They also have a little momentum going, winning their last two games. With Kansas City and the Chargers both struggling, this becomes a very important game for Denver if they want to keep pace in the division.

Denver head coach Vic Fangio is 3-0 SUATS vs. Andy Reid since 2011. I still don’t like how shaky Denver is. Doubt they can string another win here

I pass.

L.A. Rams (-3.0) @ Atlanta

Goff has certainly regressed back to his old days, with nine turnovers in the last four games. That’s pretty frightening, especially when you consider that he’s 0-2 SUATS vs. Atlanta’s Dan Quinn, losing by scores of 42-14 and 26-13. In those two games, Goff had 1 touchdown pass, 1 rushing touchdown, 2 interceptions, and 1 fumble.

The Rams allow 18 points per game with cornerback Aqib Talib on the field, and 30 points per game without him. Newly acquired cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s “back injury” has miraculously healed since being traded to the Rams, and he will likely start.

Los Angeles has a game in London vs. Cincinnati next week, so they’ll have to pack for two weeks, fly to Atlanta for this game, and then leave from Atlanta for London. A major distraction.I will go against everything I said here because I don’t think LA can string any more losses just like that.

My bet is on the Rams.

Miami @ Buffalo (-17.0)

ffalo averages 18 points per game. Meanwhile, the line on this game opened at Buffalo -15.5, was quickly bet up to -16.5, and now sits at -17. So if Buffalo scores their average point total of 18, they are going to have hold Miami scoreless in order to cover this spread. Then again, Buffalo is playing the worst team in the league, with the worst head coach and front office in the history of the league, so they should score over their average. Ryan Fitzpatrick, a former Buffalo Bill, is starting for Miami. He gives them a puncher’s chance of winning. That is, if the coaching staff will allow it.

I think the line is too big and will go with Miami here. Take the points!

Jacksonville (-3.5) @ Cincinnati

Jacksonville is favored by 3.5 points, on the road, with a rookie quarterback, and a 2-4 record. That shows you what the oddsmakers think of Cincinnati. I can’t bet either team. That’s a pass.

Minnesota (-1.5) @ Detroit

Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer is 5-5 SU and 6-4 ATS vs. Detroit, including 2-0 SUATS last year. In those ten games, Detroit has scored the following point totals: 17, 16, 16, 19, 22, 16, 14, 23, 9, and 9 points. The Lions are projected to score 22 points here, but that history vs. Zimmer suggests otherwise. 

My numbers show Minnesota to be at least a touchdown better than Detroit. I like Zimmer’s defense to once again put the clamp on Detroit scoring points. Also, Cousins is pretty good in that early afternoon slot.

I’ll take Minnesota up to a 2-point favorite.

Oakland @ Green Bay (-5.5)

Oakland is riding a two-game winning streak for the first time since 2017. If they win this week, it will be the first time since 2016 that they won three in a row. That’s not happening. Green Bay should be favored by at least 8 points.

I am picking the Packers at -5.5

Houston @ Indianapolis (-1.0)

Houston lost twice to Indianapolis last year, including a 21-7 loss in the first round of the playoffs, so they should be highly motivated to make amends. I also have them rated as a slightly better team than Indianapolis, and I’ll take Deshaun Watson over Jacoby Brissett any day. Watson is a winner. Remember, he went 32-3 SU at Clemson. In the NFL, he is now 8-1-1 ATS as a road dog.I’m taking the Texans.

Arizona @ NY Giants (-3.0)

One thing about Kyler Murray: he doesn’t turn the ball over. Through six games, he has four interceptions and zero fumbles. That can’t be said for his counterpart with the Giants: Daniel Jones. Jones has eight turnovers in four starts with New York. As a 3-year starter with Duke, he was 17-19 SU. Jones had 29 interceptions in those 36 starts. So we have two teams that are very closely matched, but one team has a winner at quarterback.

I will pass this one.

San Francisco (-9.5) @ Washington

If there was ever a letdown spot for the 49ers, this is it. For starters, it’s the second of consecutive road games. Secondly, it comes on the heels of a big double-revenge division win over the Rams. Those two factors alone are noteworthy, but there’s more. Frisco was off a Monday-night last week and playing on short rest. Now they have to travel all the way across the country for an early start time game. The 49ers are also ranking extremely high in all of my stat categories, to the point where they are becoming top-heavy.

Washington said they were going to run the ball last week and they did.
Let’s pick the Redskins plus the points

L.A. Chargers @ Tennessee (-2.0)

I was all set to bet on Tennessee, thanks to this little tidbit: Marcus Mariota is 6-4 SU and 8-1-1 ATS off a loss in which he had two or more turnovers, including 5-0 ATS at home. This was the perfect spot for him, but the Titans being the Titans, they’re going to start Ryan Tannehill for this game. The one game this year in which Mariota was almost guaranteed to win, and they bench him.I don’t like this game now. Pass.

New Orleans @ Chicago (-3.5)

Bye weeks have not been good to Chicago. They’re 0-5 SUATS with rest since 2014, including 0-1 SUATS last year under head coach Matt Nagy. In their last three years, they’ve lost SU as favorites after their bye week. Here they are favored again. As good as Chicago’s defense has played, their offense has been stuck in neutral, averaging 17 points and 266 yards per game. It’s hard to cover as a favorite when your offense generates only 266 yards. Chicago is also ranked 30th in yards per play. The only teams ranked worse are Miami and the Jets, who were forced to start a 3rd string quarterback.Bet on New Orleans to cover this one.

Baltimore @ Seattle (-3.0)

Seattle are actually below average in every area except for quarterback Russell Wilson. With him, they’ve squeaked out five wins, with four of those five wins by 4 or less points. Without Wilson, this is probably a 1-5 team.

Baltimore is traveling from one coast to the next and coming off three straight division games. That could put them in a slight disadvantage. They also have injuries in their secondary. Safety Earl Thomas spent several years in Seattle and he might be able to assist in game-planning against Wilson. Thomas will have his hands full defending Seattle’s D.K. Metcalf, who is averaging 21 yards per reception. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Thomas snags Wilson’s first interception of the season.

I think Seattle and its coaching dominates Lamar Jackson and cover the spread.

Philadelphia @ Dallas (-2.5)

This is the second of three road games in a row for Philadelphia, as well as the third road game out of the last four. Normally, that’s a poor spot to be in. However, there are some factors pointing in their favor. For starters, Doug Pederson’s Eagles have lost three in a row to Dallas. With triple revenge on their minds, they should be highly motivated. 

I’m giving Philly a psychological bump for this game because they were humiliated by Dallas in week 14 last season. Unfortunately, they still have injuries in their secondary, and that could torpedo them in this game. Aside from their one game vs. the Jets’ third-string quarterback, Philly has given up 2.6 touchdown passes a game, including 3 touchdown passes per game on the road.

On the other side of the field, Dallas has given up 5 total touchdown passes for the entire year. That’s less than 1 touchdown pass per game. Makes you wonder why they are only 3-3. But then that’s always been the story under head coach Jason Garrett, with Dallas continually playing down to the level of their competition, especially when they are favored.I’m betting the Eagles at +2.5

New England (-9.5) @ NY Jets

Has a team ever had an easier schedule than the one New England has had so far this year? Not in my memory. That’s good for them, because I suspect that quarterback Tom Brady is hiding a calf injury, the offensive line has injuries and is not playing particularly well, and a bunch of core players are on IR. New England is also tracking extremely high on all of my statistical indicators. In fact, they are so high on my stats, they have become top-heavy. When that happens, a correction is usually right around the corner.

Running back LeVeon Bell has been a disappointment, averaging only 3.0 yards per rush. However, for several games he was the team’s only weapon. With Sam Darnold back under center, the entire offense improves. With Darnold back last week, the Jets scored more points than they had in the previous three weeks combined.


I like the Jets here if the line goes over 10.0.

2020 NFL Expert Picks Week 6

 

Start timeMatchupSpreadTotal
THURSDAY
20:20NY Giants @ New EnglandNE -16.542.5
SUNDAY
09:30Carolina vs. Tampa Bay (in London)CAR -2.547.5
13:00Cincinnati @ BaltimoreBAL -11.048.0
13:00New Orleans @ JacksonvilleJAX -1.043.5
13:00Seattle @ ClevelandSEA -2.046.0
13:00Houston @ Kansas CityKAN -4.055.5
13:00Washington @ MiamiWAS -3.041.0
13:00Philadelphia @ MinnesotaMIN -3.044.0
16:05Atlanta @ ArizonaATL -2.051.5
16:05San Francisco @ LA RamsLAR -3.050.5
16:25Tennessee @ DenverDEN -2.040.5
16:25Dallas @ NY JetsDAL -7.044.5
20:20Pittsburgh @ LA ChargersLAC -6.541.0
MONDAY
20:15Detroit @ Green BayGB -4.047.0

NY Giants @ New England (-16.5)

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are still feeling the sting of those two Super Bowl losses. How bad do you think they want to win this game, which is likely the last time that Brady will face the Giants? I’d say pretty bad. New England, however, is not operating at peak efficiency. Brady is hiding a calf injury, the offensive line has injuries and is not playing particularly well, longtime kicker Stephen Gostowski is on I.R., along with fullback James Develin, Isaiah Wynn, and Harry K’Neal. In other words, this is a wounded team.I am passing this one but if the Over/Under gets to 42.5 bet the Under.

Carolina (-2.5) vs. Tampa Bay (in London)

Carolina has quietly put together one of the league’s top pass defenses. That gives them a slight edge in this game. However, it must be noted that two of Carolina’s three wins came against AFC South opponents. Those games were against Carolina secondary coach Perry Fewell’s old division, giving the Panthers a leg up in game-planning. Carolina’s third win was against Arizona.

I don’t trust either team in London.

Pass.

Cincinnati @ Baltimore (-11.0)

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson is 9-4 SU and 6-7 ATS as a starter, including 4-0 ATS as an underdog, and 2-7 ATS as a favorite. That’s pretty shaky to be laying 10 points (now up to 12 almost). What’s more, Baltimore’s defense has been horrible this year. Take away their romp over Miami in Week One, and it’s even worse, allowing 28 points per game to their last four opponents. And three of those four opponents have losing records. 

What’s more, safety Tony Jefferson, the team’s defensive signal caller, is out for the season; and cornerback Jimmy Smith is injured. Sure, Cincinnati stinks, but they’re not going to lose every game this year. This is too many points. 

My bet is on the Bengals plus the points

Seattle (-2.0) @ Cleveland

Steve Wilks is a former defensive line coach. With Carolina from 2011-2017, his unit generated a league-best 311 sacks. He has the horses with Cleveland to dominate Seattle’s below average offensive line, and that could be a major key to this game.

Another factor in this game: Seattle is coming off a triple division revenge game vs. the Rams; a game they won by 1 point. That makes this a prime spot for a letdown. Especially since it’s a long travel, early start time, eastern game.

I’m betting the Browns with the points at home.

New Orleans @ Jacksonville (-1.0)

Teddy Bridgewater is coming off a career game vs. Tampa Bay. For that reason alone, I’d like to go against him. Plus, there is Doug “Flip Flop” Marrone’s penchant for alternating wins with losses: 18-15 SU and 20-12-1 ATS off a loss, including 2-0 ATS this year. 

Situationally, Jacksonville just played back-to-back roadies and they are back on the road next week. That makes this an important home date. Also, they are riding Minshew Mania and could be very fired up playing at home. Meanwhile, backup quarterback Bridgewater has done an extraordinary job filling in for Drew Brees. Better than anyone expected. He’s guided the team to three straight wins. A letdown somewhere along the way is only natural.

I am betting the Jaguars to win at home.

Houston @ Kansas City (-4.0)

Houston has a huge playoff revenge game vs. Indianapolis on deck. They could be looking ahead to that game. However, Kansas City is a pretty formidable opponent, and Deshaun Watson lost to them in 2017 by a score of 42-34, so the following week’s game might not play a factor.

Kansas City is dealing with numerous injuries, including Patrick Mahomes’s ankle. He says he’s fine, but what else can he say? Quarterbacks lie all the time, as we most recently saw with Carolina’s Cam Newton.

Watson has been money as a road dog, going 7-1-1 ATS. That lone spread loss was by half a point. Kansas City is vulnerable at the moment. 

I’m taking Houston with the points.

Washington (-3.0) @ Miami

Two of the worst teams in the league. In all fairness, this game can go either way. There is plenty of stats that support both sides. I think Washington wins because of the coaching change Teams usually play harder after a coach is fired. Still, I don’t trust them.

That’s a pass.

Philadelphia @ Minnesota (-3.0)

I have play-on and play-against factors for both of these teams. Under head coach MIke Zimmer, the Minnesota Vikings have been money at home. However, Carson Wentz gives Philadelphia a huge edge at quarterback, and the Eagles have played much smarter as a team than the Vikes. Minnesota is ranked last in the league in penalty yards with 426.

No bet here.

Atlanta (-2.0) @ Arizona

We might see Arizona’s ground game running wild here. Last week, they ran for 266 yards against the hapless Bengals. Atlanta has already given up 172 rushing yards to Minnesota, 138 rushing yards to Tennessee, and 166 rushing yards to Houston.

Arizona could be on an uptick after their win last week. Rookie quarterbacks (and rookie head coaches) tend to improve as the season wears on and last week was Murray’s best game yet.

On the other side of the field, Atlanta is spiraling downward. They still have time to turn their ship around, but with Dirk Koetter calling plays, I don’t think they will. His playcalling led to the firing of Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville, Mike Smith in Tampa Bay, Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay, and then himself in Tampa Bay. Now he’s got Dan Quinn on the hot seat.


My bet is on Arizona.

San Francisco @ LA Rams (-3.0)

The Rams have lost consecutive games. That’s only happened once before to Sean McVay, and his team responded with a 31-9 win on the road at Arizona. The Rams have also allowed 27 or more points in three out of five games this year. Last year, they did that eight times in the regular season; half their schedule. Similar to Sean Payton’s Saints, the Rams have to score a boatload of points to have a chance at winning.

Meanwhile, Frisco is 4-0, however, they are living dangerously with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s five turnovers in four games. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is 0-2 SUATS off a Monday night game, with one of those losses against the Rams. The 49ers will be out both starting tackles and their fullback. I am passing this one.

Tennessee @ Denver (-2.0)

Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota has not had a turnover in five games and the rest of the team has only fumbled once. Yet Tennessee is 2-3 on the season. That’s not a good sign. Turnovers are instrumental in determining win results, both SU and ATS. For a team to go five games with only one turnover and have a record of 2-3 SUATS is a sign of a very inefficient offense. 

In addition to all that, after last week’s loss, Mariota is now 13-18 SU and 11-20 ATS vs. head coaches who were former defensive coordinators, and 7-13 SU and 5-14-1 ATS off a game in which he had no turnovers, including 4-7 SU and 3-8 ATS on the road. 

However, I don’t trust Denver to string 2 wins together. I pass.

Dallas (-7.0) @ NY Jets

Is this a “get right” game for Dallas? It very well could be. New York is averaging less than 10 points a game. A lot of people have come out backing the Jets this week, all because quarterback Sam Darnold is apparently coming back. But Darnold stinks. He was awful last year – 2-4 SUATS at home with a TD/INT ratio of 12/7. Now he’s supposed to come back, after being out the last four weeks, and suddenly morph into Johnny Unitas? I don’t get it.

Dallas is allowing 18 points per game. The Jets are allowing 25 points per game. Dallas is averaging 3.4 offensive touchdowns a game. The Jets are averaging 0.5 offensive touchdowns a game. That’s not a misprint. They have scored two offensive touchdowns in four games. And one of those touchdowns came in garbage time last week.

I’ll lay the points with Dallas.

Pittsburgh @ LA Chargers (-6.5)

Pittsburgh will be starting rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges. That might not be a bad thing. Mason Rudolph was serviceable, but nothing special. Hodges had a TD/INT ratio of 111/41 in college at Samford (not Stanford), along with 17 rushing touchdowns. He made a big impression in training camp and the preseason, and his ceiling is higher than Rudolph’s.

These teams played last year. Pittsburgh had a 23-7 halftime lead, yet ended up losing by a score of 33-30. But Los Angeles is now dealing with multiple injuries and this past week they lost their starting center, Mike Pouncey. That makes at least seven starters out, including kicker Mike Badgley. Speaking of kickers, did you know that L.A.’s five opponents have missed a combined 7 field goals and 3 extra points? That’s 24 points. No other team has been that lucky, yet the Chargers are 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS. 

I’ll take the Steelers +6.5 but if we can get 7.0 that’d be great.

Detroit @ Green Bay (-4.0)

Green Bay has lost to Detroit four straight times. In the first game between these two teams last year, Green Bay out-yarded Detroit 521 to 264, but they missed four field goals and lost three fumbles. The final score was 31-23. In the second game, Aaron Rodgers was shut out for the first time in his career, and lost by a score of 31-0. This sets up as a good revenge spot.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has a passer rating of 95 or more in his last seven games vs. Green Bay. His team has performed admirably this year, beating the Chargers and Eagles, tying Arizona, and almost beating the Chiefs. The points are tempting, but Green Bay is hot right now.

I’m betting Green Bay -4.0

2020 NFL Predictions Week 5

 

Start timeMatchupSpreadTotal
THURSDAY
20:20L.A. Rams @ SeattleSEA -1.549.0
SUNDAY
13:00Jacksonville @ CarolinaCAR -3.541.0
13:00Arizona @ CincinnatiCIN -3.047.0
13:00Tampa Bay @ New OrleansNO -3.046.5
13:00Minnesota @ NY GiantsMIN -5.043.5
13:00Chicago vs. Oakland (in London)CHI -5.540.5
13:00NY Jets @ PhiladelphiaPHI -13.044.0
13:00Baltimore @ PittsburghBAL -3.044.5
13:00Buffalo @ TennesseeTEN -3.038.5
13:00New England @ WashingtonNE -15.042.5
16:05Denver @ LA ChargersLAC -6.544.5
16:25Green Bay @ Dallas DAL -3.547.0
16:25Indianapolis @ Kansas CityKAN -11.056.0
MONDAY
20:15Cleveland @ San FranciscoSF -3.546.5

L.A. Rams @ Seattle (-1.5)

Before last week, the Rams were favored by 2 in this game. Now Seattle is favored by 1.5 points. Historically, Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay is 3-1 SU and 1-3 ATS vs. the Seahawks, including 2-0 SU and 1-1 ATS in Seattle. In three of the four games between these two, the Rams have scored 42, 33, and 36 points. They’re being downgraded here, because of last week’s loss to Tampa Bay, and because quarterback Jared Goff has turned the ball over seven times in the last two games. Goff is unlikely to continue that streak and it has me wondering if the Rams might be a bit undervalued in this game. If they were getting more than 1.5 lousy points, I would bet them.

Pass this game.

Jacksonville @ Carolina (-3.5)

Which of these two teams would you say has the better pass defense? If you said Jacksonville, you would be wrong. The Jags are currently allowing 7.6 net yards per pass attempt and an opponent passer rating of 97.9. The Panthers are allowing 4.4 net yards per pass attempt and an opponent passer rating of 74.4. 

Carolina has one of the league’s better home-field advantages. They went 5-3 SUATS at home last year. Since 2015, they are 25-9 SU and 20-14 ATS at home, including 12-7 ATS as a home favorite vs. a non-division opponent. Meanwhile, Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone is 11-20 SUATS off a win.

I will take Carolina, although a 3.0 line would have been better.

Arizona @ Cincinnati (-3.0)

The spread score for this game projects Arizona to score 22 points. However, Arizona has scored 21 or less points in three out of four games. The only game in which they scored more than 21 points was Week One vs. Detroit and they needed a miracle comeback and overtime to do that. This is also the second road game for Arizona’s rookie head coach and rookie quarterback, and it comes with an early start time.

The spread score projects Cincinnati to score 26 points, however, they haven’t scored more than 20 points in any game this season. Those 26 points sound like wishful thinking to me.

I’m betting the Under 47.0 in this game.

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (-3.0)

Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston is 3-4 SUATS vs. New Orleans, with 7 touchdown passes, 6 interceptions, and 1 fumble. In one of those losses, Winston was knocked out after attempting only 13 passes. 

Tampa Bay’s offense has been systematically improving. They scored 1 offensive touchdown in Week One, 2 offensive touchdowns in Week Two, 3 offensive touchdowns in Week Three, and 6 offensive touchdowns in Week Four.

The Saints’ ground game could stall out, with Tampa Bay allowing only 2.9 yards per rush. And did you know that in 11 quarters of game action, Teddy Bridgewater has guided his team to a total of 3 offensive touchdowns?

I’m betting Tampa Bay plus the points.

Minnesota (-5.0) @ NY Giants

There’s an interesting coaching connection here with N.Y. Giants head coach Pat Shurmur going up against his former team. Shurmur’s familiarity with the Vikes could give his team a slight edge.

Of course, Cousins played the Giants twice a year when he was a Redskin. He led his team to more than 21 points only once in those games, going 3-5 SUATS vs. New York.

It’s tough to handicap this one. It’s a pass.

Chicago (-5.5) vs. Oakland (in London)

Oakland is coming off a big win at Indianapolis. In Gruden’s second hitch with the Raiders, he is 0-5 SUATS off a win. In those five games, his team has scored 10, 17, 16, 3, and 10 points. Here he is facing one of the league’s better defenses, and you just know that ex-Raider Khalil Mack can’t wait to show Gruden what he missed by letting him go prior to last season. I’m sure Mack has had this game circled since the schedule first came out.

This is a potential huge flat spot for the Raiders and I think that Chicago will be fired up to play with Chase Daniel and not Mitchel Trubisky.

My bet is on the Bears.

NY Jets @ Philadelphia (-13.5)

My main angle here is that the Eagles are playing a so called “sandwich” game this week. Last week they beat one of the toughest opponents in Green Bay. Next week, they have a huge matchup versus the Vikings. It will be hard to motivate the Philadelphia players to play exceptionally hard against the weak Jets.

I think the Jets cover this one.

Baltimore (-3.0) @ Pittsburgh

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson is 8-4 SU and 6-6 ATS as a starter, including 4-0 ATS as an underdog, and 2-6 ATS as a favorite. As a road favorite he is 1-0 SUATS. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph guided his team to their first win of the season last week. The Ravens have issues with their pass defense, allowing 8.6 net yards per attempt. Their run defense isn’t so hot either, allowing 4.9 yards per rush. That makes them a shaky favorite in a division road game. I also think Baltimore is a very overvalued team.

Bet the Steelers at +3.5 if you can get them.

Buffalo @ Tennessee (-3.0)

Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota has gone up against a Sean McDermott defense twice since 2015. Mariota is 0-2 SUATS in those two games, leading his team to 10 points in the first game and 12 points in the second. He passed for under 190 yards in both games, with a TD/INT ratio of 0/2. Mariota is also 8-13 SU and 9-12 ATS in the first five games of the year.

I also think that Buffalo currently has the best defense it has had in a long time. I’ll take the points with the Bills here.

New England (-15.0) @ Washington

It is completely pointless to throw numbers when we talk about the patriots as double-digit favorites on the road. Everything points to them having a huge win against a team with no players and a head coach waiting to be fired.

Still, I am concerned about Tom Brady’s health as his calf doesn’t look alright.

No bet here. That’s a pass.

Denver @ LA Chargers (-6.5)

Interestingly enough, Denver quarterback Joe Flacco is actually ranked in the top-10 in ESPN’s quarterback rating system. However, he has only 5 touchdown passes in four games, along with 4 turnovers. He’s not being helped at all by offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello. The whole situation with Scangarello is a movie we’ve all seen before: a defensive coordinator-turned head coach (Vic Fangio) saddled with an incompetent offensive coordinator.

I can’t bet Denver with Scangarello calling plays. And the Chargers have a host of injury issues.

That’s a pass.

Green Bay @ Dallas (3.5)

Despite doing a masterful job of calling plays for the team’s first three games, Kellen Moore completely abandoned everything that had worked so well up to that point and went with a completely different plan in Sunday night’s game at New Orleans. The result was 10 points and a loss. Why did Moore do this? I suspect that head coach Jason Garrett somehow stuck his nose into the mix and convinced Moore to make the change.

Green Bay is coming off a Thursday night game, while Dallas played on the road on a Sunday night. That gives the Packers a slight preparation advantage. Both team’s pass defenses have been stellar, allowing 5.7 net yards per pass attempt.

In Green Bay’s one road game this year they scored 10 points and generated 213 yards of offense. With Tennessee the year before, LaFleur’s offense averaged 16.5 points, 307 yards, and 5.0 yards per play on the road. People are who they are. It would be a great surprise if LaFleur turned these Packers into a scoring machine on the road. They’re projected to score 22 points here. I don’t see it.I’m betting Dallas to bounce back but not at -3.5. Bet them if the line drops to 3.0.

Indianapolis @ Kansas City (-11.0)

Indianapolis as a double-digit underdog looks tempting, but the reality is they are riddled with injuries, their kicker is undependable, and Kansas City is the scoring machine that Green Bay is not. Sure, the Chiefs looked vulnerable last week, but it was their third game out of four on the road. Now they are settling in for a two-game home stand. 

As for the revenge angle – Kansas City knocked Indianapolis out of the playoffs last year – the quarterback for that game (Andrew Luck) is gone, and the Colts have too many injuries and other issues to think about revenge.

This one’s a pass.

Cleveland @ San Francisco (-3.5)

Cleveland is an eastern team playing a night game on the west coast. Teams in that position tend to wear out in the second half. Halftime for those games occurs around 8 PM on the west coast, which equates to 11 PM for an eastern team. So their fatigue is understandable. Meanwhile, San Francisco will be off their bye week so they’ll be rested. Although head coach Kyle Shanahan hasn’t done well in that situation. Frisco lost to Tampa Bay last year by a score of 27-9 after their bye week, and lost to Seattle in 2017 by a score of 24-13 after their bye week.However, I think it is time for Shanahan to do well after a bye week and I think that’s the spot. Cleveland had a huge win as a big underdog last week and I think this is a flat spot for them.I’m betting the 49ers minus the points.

2020 NFL Picks Week 4

 

Start timeMatchupSpreadTotal
THURSDAY
20:20Philadelphia @ Green Bay GB -4.047.0
SUNDAY
13:00Tennessee @ Atlanta ATL -4.045.5
13:00Cleveland @ Baltimore BAL – 7.045.0
13:00New England @ BuffaloNE -7.042.5
13:00Kansas City @ DetroitKAN -6.055.0
13:00Carolina @ Houston HOU -4.047.5
13:00Oakland @ Indianapolis IND -7.045.0
13:00L.A. Chargers @ MiamiLAC -15.544.0
13:00Washington @ NY Giants NYG -3.049.5
16:05Seattle @ ArizonaSEA -5.048.0
16:05Tampa Bay @ LA Rams LAR -9.549.5
16:25Minnesota @ Chicago CHI -2.038.0
16:25Jacksonville @ Denver DEN -3.038.0
20:20Dallas @ New OrleansDAL -2.547.0
MONDAY
20:15Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh PITT -3.544.0

Philadelphia @ Green Bay (-4.0)

Philadelphia went into last week’s game vs. Detroit riddled with injuries and lost as home favorites. Now they’re limping into this Thursday night affair on short rest with even more injuries. Meanwhile, Green Bay is 3-0 SUATS. I have GB ranked about 3 points better than Philadelphia right now. Add 4 points for the homefield advantage that the Packers have and the line should be about -7.0.

I see value here – I’m picking the Packers.

Tennessee @ Atlanta (-4.0)

My hesitation is laying points with Atlanta. Under head coach Dan Quinn, they are 15-14 SU and 11-18 ATS in the regular season when favored at home, including 13-13 SU and 9-17 ATS when you exclude home openers. Quinn is also 1-7 SUATS as a home favorite vs. AFC teams, while Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota is 6-2 SUATS on the NFC road.

It’s tough for me to base my handicap on anything but stats here because I don’t like how both teams play. I’m passing this game.

Cleveland @ Baltimore (-7.0)

I want to fade the Browns, but Baker Mayfield is 1-1 SU and 2-0 ATS vs. Baltimore, and 3-2 SUATS in division games.There’s also the emotional angle. Despite their poor start, Cleveland can essentially tie Baltimore for the division lead with a win here. Think about that from the perspective of their locker room. Despite horrible, penalty-ridden play for three straight games, they can vault into a tie with Baltimore if they win. It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and start over. I expect them to come into this game very focused and to play with a lot of effort.

No bet.

New England (-7.0) @ Buffalo

The best spot to fade New England might be on the road vs. a tough, defense-minded opponent. The Patriots lost five times on the road last season vs. that exact type of team: Jacksonville, Detroit, Tennessee, Miami and Pittsburgh. Buffalo fits that mold, too. They’re a hard-hitting, physical team with one of the best pass defenses in the league. This is their biggest game since their playoff loss to Jacksonville in 2017. In some ways, you could make a case that this is their Super Bowl.

Unfortunately, Buffalo has struggled vs. elite quarterbacks over the last two years, going 0-9 SU and 1-8 ATS vs. Brady, Brees, Luck, Rivers, and Rodgers. My eye test, however, tells me to take Buffalo.

I’m betting the home dog here plus the points. Also, I like this game to go over the total of 42.5. 

Two bets here.

Kansas City (-6.0) @ Detroit

If you include the preseason, this is Kansas City’s fourth game out of five away from home. That may not hurt them, however, as head coach Andy Reid is now 34-16 ATS on the road with the Chiefs, including 2-0 ATS so far this year. Meanwhile, Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford is 7-59 SU and 15-50-1 ATS vs. teams that finish the season with a winning record. Kansas City looks like a team on its way to a winning record this year. 

I’ll stay away from this game even though it looks tempting to back Detroit.

Carolina @ Houston (-4.0)

Carolina got a big boost in quarterback play last week, but playing on the road against Houston is a lot different than facing the winless Arizona Cardinals. Carolina could also suffer a letdown after such a big win. Then again, they could use that win as a springboard to go on a little run. 

Houston is 7-3 SU in their last ten home games, and head coach Bill O’Brien is 39-6 SU and 33-11-1 ATS when his team allows 21 or less points. I don’t think Carolina will score more than 21 points.

I am betting the Texans minus the points.

Oakland @ Indianapolis (-7.0)

This is a very steep line to bet Indiana. Oakland, on the other hand is in the middle of a long road trip and this can always be a distraction. However, the cluster injuries that the Colts have, make me lean towards Oakland. 

Bet this game only if the line goes to 7.5 and back the Raiders.

L.A. Chargers (-15.5) @ Miami

The Chargers draw the lucky straw this week, laying 16 points on the road at Miami. Then again, maybe they’re not so lucky. Since 2013, Los Angeles quarterback Philip Rivers is 1-4 SUATS vs. Miami. In those five games he has a TD/INT ratio of 8/10. However, Los Angeles has lost two in a row, both as favorites, and Rivers is 27-15-1 ATS off a SU favorite loss.

Miami has nothing to lose and they are at home. I don’t think they lose in a 3-possession difference.

I’m picking the Dolphins and the points.

Washington @ NY Giants (-3.0)

Washington had two consecutive games to get things right at home. Now they’re on the road, where quarterback Case Keenum is 12-17 SU. Speaking of Keenum, he was in a walking boot on Wednesday and may not play.

Defenses on either side are atrocious, with both teams allowing over 30 points a game. I predicted before the season started that Jay Gruden would be the first head coach fired this year and it could happen on Monday if the Redskins lose this game.

I am passing this one.

Seattle (-5.0) @ Arizona

Seattle squeaked out a pair of 3-point wins over Arizona last year, which is where this line opened, but now it has been bet up to -4.5. That’s a tad steep considering that this year’s Arizona team is better than last year’s. At least they’re scoring some points, unlike last year.

Seattle also has a triple revenge game on deck vs. the Rams next week, making this a potential lookahead spot. Meanwhile, this is the second consecutive home game for Arizona, and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS vs. Seattle’s Russell Wilson.

I can’t pick a side here – pass.

Tampa Bay @ LA Rams (-9.5)

Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians lost twice to the Rams in 2017, his last year with Arizona. Both losses were big: 33-0 and 32-16. You just know that those games are still stuck in his craw. However, I don’t know if he has a strong enough team to extract revenge.On the other hand, the Rams have a lookahead game versus the Seahawks on a short week. I think the Rams might not be as focused to cover a 10-point handicap. Furthermore, Jameis Winston is heavily booed at home every time he throws the ball. This away game may actually be a blessing to him. I’ll take Tampa plus the points.

Minnesota @ Chicago (-2.0)

These teams are similar in several ways. Both sport a stout defense and a quarterback who never quite plays up to his potential. Both are borderline playoff teams. Note: NFL teams are 16-28 SU and 17-25-2 ATS the week before playing in London. Chicago plays there next week and I think the Vikings are starting to roll. Furthermore, the Bears have a day less to prepare.

I am betting Minnesota with the points.

Jacksonville @ Denver (-3.0)

Denver quarterback Joe Flacco is 3-3 SU and 1-4-1 ATS vs. Jacksonville, with 5 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions. In those six games, Flacco has led his team to point totals of 27, 7, 20, 20, 19 and 7 points. Not surprisingly, those games have gone 5-1 under the total.

The line on this game is Denver -3 with a total of 37.5. That projects to Denver winning by a score of 20-17. Think about that for a minute. Through three games, Denver is averaging 15 points per game. Does it make sense for them to score a full 5 points above their average when facing one of the league’s better defenses? It doesn’t make sense to me.

I am going with the Jags and the points on the road.

Dallas (-2.5) @ New Orleans

The spread score for this game has me wondering if I’m missing something. It projects Dallas to win by a score of 25-22. (Dallas is favored by 2.5 points with a total of 47.) My first question: Why is New Orleans expected to score 22 points when Dallas is allowing 15 points per game this year (21 points per game last year)? Second question: Why is Dallas projected to score only 25 points when they are averaging over 30 points per game this year and New Orleans is allowing over 27 points per game?  Not only that, but I’d take Dak over Teddy Bridgewater any day of the week.

My bet is on Dallas minus the points.

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh (-3.5)

 

There are a couple of big red flags concerning Pittsburgh this week. For starters, they fit my definition of “a favorite not playing like a favorite.” Whenever I see a losing team laying points, my radar starts going off. When I see an 0-3 team with a backup quarterback in his 2nd start, and a defense that allows 28 points per game and 6.4 yards per play, laying points, my radar goes off big time. What has Pittsburgh done to deserve laying 3.5 points to anyone other than Miami? Absolutely nothing.

Pittsburgh’s ground game is dead in its tracks, with running back James Conner averaging 2.9 yards per rush. Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon is a tad worse at 2.8 yards per rush, but he was hindered with an ankle injury in Weeks One and Two. He appears to be over that now and I expect Cincinnati to run him at least 15 times in this game, maybe more. When Mixon has 15 or more carries, Cincinnati is 10-4 SU and 13-1 ATS, including 1-0 ATS so far this year. 

I am taking the points and betting the Bengals.

2020 NFL Picks Week 3

 

Start timeSidesSpreadTotal
Sunday 22nd of September
13:00Denver Broncos @ Green Bay PackersGB -7.543.0
13:00Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia EaglesPHI -6.545.5
13:00Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City ChiefsKC -6.552.0
13:00Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo BillsBUF -6.044.0
13:00Atlanta Falcons @ Indianapolis ColtIND -1.547.0
13:00Oakland Raiders @ Minnesota VikingsMIN -9.043.5
13:00NY Jets @ New England PatriotsNE -22.043.5
13:00Miami Dolphins @ Dallas CowboysDAL -22.547.0
16:05NY Giants @ Tampa Bay BuccaneersTB -6.548.0
16:05Carolina Panthers @ Arizona CardinalsAZ -2.044.5
16:25New Orleans Saints @ Seattle SeahawksSEA -4.544.5
16:25Houston Texans @ LA ChargersLAC -3.048.5
16:25Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Francisco 49ersSF -6.543.5
20:20LA Rams @ Cleveland BrownsLAR -3.047.5
Monday 23th of September
20:15Chicago Bears @ Washington RedskinsCHI -4.041.0

Tennessee (-1.5) @ Jacksonville

Now here we have a relatively good run offense versus a relatively bad run defense. And all of this happens on a short week. The Jaguars are not very good stopping the run as they have allowed at least 100 yards on the ground over the first two games. Additionally, their home-field advantage is definitely not the most impressive one.

Both passing offenses are not very impressive, and I don’t count on these teams to score a lot of touchdowns. I lean the under 39.5, but I won’t bet it. The Jaguars are a team with a losing record at home over the last 2 seasons. Tennessee is 5-1 against home teams with a losing record over their last 6 games. 

My pick is Tennessee minus the points.

Denver @ Green Bay (-7.5)

Obviously, here we got 2 contradicting trends. Green Bay is trending up on defense and a little bit on offense. Denver seems to be losing ground very quickly, especially on offense. I don’t see Flacco being able to move the ball here. In fact, the Packers should probably be favored by more points than what they currently are.

The Broncos are 1-5 ATS over the previous 6 games. They also don’t do very well in September when they are away. They are 1-4-1 ATS during their September away games.

I’m going with the Packers -7.5.

New Orleans @ Seattle (-4.5)

This line seems to be rising and find it to be a good thing. This is a tough game to predict because it looks evident that Seattle will stomp the Brees-less Saints. Now here’s my thinking:

If Drew Brees had had a season-ending injury, then this would have been a so-called “dream crusher” game for the Saints. But he will be out for only 6 weeks meaning that the team has to do everything in their power to NOT lose as many games as possible in that span. Teddy Bridgewater is one of the best backup QBs in the league, and I believe Sean Payton will come up with a good scheme for that game.

Another thing that gives me hope is that the Seahawks don’t have a lot of film of Bridgewater. I’m taking the points in a tough environment. I would wait for this line to go to 5.0 during the weekend and I’d pound the Saints.

LA Rams (-3.0) @ Cleveland

It looks like the Browns are still overhyped after these first 2 weeks. Last week the Colts won at Tennessee making the Tennessee victory vs. Cleveland in week one even more impressive.

I think the Rams will stomp that Brown’s defense with sharp offensive play and a lot of speed. In fact, I also don’t believe that Baker Mayfield will be able to move the ball well.

I am laying the points on the road and taking the Rams.

Chicago (-4.0) @ Washington

Interesting game. Well actually it might be a very boring game, but I like the fact that Washington plays a 2nd straight home game and that they are an underdog here. In fact, they were only a 5 point dog versus Dallas last week, and now they get 4 vs. the Bears. This means that Vegas thinks Dallas is just 1 point better than the Bears which I think is wrong.

I think the Redskins can keep the game close even if they lose it. I am taking the points with the home team here. I’m also betting the Under 41.5 points.

Pittsburgh @ San Francisco (-6.5)

I think San Francisco is laying too many points here. But in reality, George Kittle can do plenty of damage to this discouraged Steelers defense. Last week’s game was probably a dream crusher for the Steelers as they lost Big Ben for the season.

However, the 49ers have done a lot of traveling over the first two weeks with their 2 consecutive away games. This game will take place at 13:30 in San Fran at will be scorching hot. I am reluctant to pick a side here, so I’m passing for now. If the line goes over 7, pick the Steelers. If not, pass it.

Houston @ LA Chargers (-3.0)

I think the Chargers are a little bit overpriced here. According to Vegas, the Chargers are 1 point better than the Texans, and with their little home-field advantage (2 points) they are laying 3. I am reluctant to pick sides here but here’s what I know. 

Both teams had low-scoring games last week. I think this week both offenses will come back to life and will eat the total of 47.5 alive. I’m betting this game to go over this total.

Atlanta @ Indianapolis (-1.5)

This spread suggests that the Falcons are 1.5 points better than the Colts on a neutral field. I think the line is somewhat wrong because of the bad luck that has struck Atlanta during the first two weeks.

Matt Ryan had 5 interceptions during these 2 games when he had only 7 in total for the whole season last year. The thing about turnovers is that you should never take them into account for your handicapping. I think the Falcons will take care of the ball well because turnovers typically do not snowball in the NFL.

I am definitely taking the points here and siding with Atlanta’s offense.

Miami @ Dallas (-21.5)

This is a very tough game to handicap. It is obvious that Dallas will win it and that their offense will be humming. I simply don’t know how much they’ll keep their foot on the gas.

Also, it is not certain if the Dolphins will ever try hard to win or cover at least one game this season. There is no way to predict if the spread is accurate or not. The Cowboys might win in a blowout by 20 points which still wouldn’t be enough to cover the spread.

This one’s a pass.

NY Jets @ New England (-22.5)

This is the same story here as the previous pick. I don’t see the Patriots losing this game, but this number is enormous even for them. It is arguable if the Jets will even score a touchdown. They probably won’t. It is a smart idea to bet all sorts of Unders when it comes to Jets points, yards, and touchdowns. The problem is that the odds will be horrible.

Pass this game.

Detroit @ Philadelphia (-6.5)

I think this line should be bigger. The Eagles are supposed to step it up and crush the Lions in this one. Detroit continues to be unimpressive, and last week they won a low-scoring game thanks to some turnovers. On the other hand, the Eagles will look to get back on track because let’s face it – they have also been somewhat underwhelming.

The line here has the Eagles 3.5 points better than the Lions on a neutral field. To me, this is inaccurate. The Eagles should be favored by at least 9 at home versus Detroit.

I am laying the points and taking Philadelphia here.

Baltimore @ Kansas (-6.5)

I like betting against overhyped teams. Baltimore faced the 2 worst teams in the league at beginning the season. Now Lamar Jackson looks like Joe Montana. Let’s pump the breaks here and realize that the Ravens actually struggled to beat Arizona last week at home.

This week they travel to play against one of the best teams in the league. This line suggests that Kansas is only 3 points better than Baltimore on a neutral. We saw Mahomes scoring 4 touchdowns in 1 quarter last week. I think Kansas wins by more than a touchdown and grounds the Ravens at Arrowhead.

Lay the points and take Kansas.

Oakland @ Minnesota (-9.0)

Last week the Raiders were an 8.5-point underdog at home vs. Kansas (11.5 points on a neutral). Now they are a 9-point underdog @ Minnesota (5.0 on a neutral). According to this line, Kansas is 6 points better than Minnesota on a neutral. Well, I think the Vikings are better than this and are trending up.

Last week, they had a TD called back and also had a missed field goal at Green Bay. They still only lost 21-16. I think last week’s score was misleading and the Vikings are better than that. Oakland has already shown us everything they have, and I think they lose by more than a TD and an FG this week.

I am taking the Vikings minus the points.

Cincinnati @ Buffalo (-6.0)

I can’t believe Buffalo is laying this many points at home, but this line seems to be right. It is impossible to predict where this game is going to go. I think there will be a few turnovers in this match and it’s tough for me to pick a side.

I’m passing this game.

NY Giants @ Tampa Bay (-6.5)

This is an impossible game to handicap, and I think the line is somewhat correct. I have only 1 angle that supports the Giants, and that’s Eli Manning’s benching. I think the team wasn’t happy over the first 2 weeks and may receive an energy shot with Daniel Jones at the helm.

I’ve seen that before. Players knew that Manning was long overdue to be benched. I think they will play extra hard for their young QB to prove the public wrong. Jones was a “surprise” draft pick at No. 6, and many fans have ridiculed him. Still, I think the Giants play calling is appalling. 

However, Jameis Winston is a turnover machine, and I can’t pick Tampa Bay either. I’m passing this one.

Carolina @ Arizona 

There’s no line for this game as it is unclear who will be the quarterback for Carolina.

2020 NFL Picks Week 2

Tampa Bay @ Carolina (-7.0)

So Jameis Winston stinks, right? Well, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton didn’t look so hot either with his two turnovers and zero touchdowns on Sunday. Newton didn’t appear very mobile either, and that’s a huge part of his game. Carolina does have a couple of things going for them. Newton is 11-5 SU and 10-6 ATS vs. the Bucs. And Carolina head coach Ron Rivera is 3-1 SUATS vs. Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians, including 3-0 SUATS at home.

Newton was credited with 3 rushing attempts for -2 yards in Sunday’s game. Take away his ability to run and he’s just an average quarterback, maybe even a little below average. If he didn’t run on Sunday, he’s certainly not going to run here with short rest. 

Speaking of short rest, Tampa Bay’s defense was on the field for 59 plays and allowed 4.3 yards per play. Carolina’s defense was on the field for 72 plays and allowed 4.8 yards per play. Christian McCaffrey had 19 rushes and 10 receptions. Now he has to play on short rest.

I’m taking Tampa Bay and the points.

Arizona @Baltimore (-13.0)

If this game were being played later in the year, it would be easier to fade the red-hot Ravens, but this is their home opener. Yes, the line is inflated, but I’m not backing Kyler and Kingsbury in their first NFL road game. I’m passing here.

San Francisco @ Cincinnati (-2.0)

What I don’t like about the 49ers is the fact that they didn’t really win last week’s game, Tampa Bay lost it. Also, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo still looks somewhat tentative. He’s not fully recovered from last year’s injury. This is an early start time game for Frisco and the second consecutive road game to start the season.

What I don’t like about the Bengals is how they blew last week’s game. Their offensive line is really awful right now. Andy Dalton was sacked 5 times last week and the team rushed for a whopping 34 yards. Over the preseason, Cincy averaged 56 rushing yards per game. Running back Joe Mixon was injured last Sunday and might not play. If he does play, he may not be at full speed. Wide receiver A.J. Green is still out. Cincinnati let Russell Wilson complete 70% of his passes last week for an average of 8.1 yards per attempt. This one’s a pass.

L.A. Chargers (-2.5) @ Detroit 

Detroit head coach Matt Patricia has faced Philip Rivers twice since 2014. In the first game, New England won 23-14. In the second, New England won 21-13. Rivers failed to lead his offense to more than 14 points in either game. That’s encouraging if you like Detroit. This is also an early start time for the Chargers.

Similar to Cincinnati, I don’t like the way Detroit blew last week’s big lead. It’s a sign of poor coaching and a lack of character in the players. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has a long history of failing to beat teams that finish the season with a winning record, and Los Angeles looks like a team that’s going to finish over .500. Now the Chargers did benefit from some freaky fortunate luck on the road last year, and that’s due to regress. I just don’t know if it will happen here. I simply cannot bet this game – pass.

Minnesota @ Green Bay (-3.0)

Yes, Green Bay won last week, but similar to the 49ers/Bucs game, it was more a case of the home team losing than the road team winning. I have to see more than 10 points and 213 yards before I become a believer in Matt LaFleur and his newfangled Green Bay offense.

Green Bay is one of several teams this week in revenge mode. A lot of sports bettors take it for granted that revenge-minded teams will win, but that’s not always the case. The opposing team has some say in the matter. They’re not going to just roll over and die. Aaron Rodgers is 37-29 ATS with revenge. Kirk Cousins is 18-11 ATS vs. revenge. Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer is 23-14 ATS vs. revenge.I am siding with Minnesota here and taking the points.

Jacksonville @ Houston (-9.0)

Houston had no pass rush at all against New Orleans, and then they went into that stupid three-man rush defense in the closing minutes, which allowed the Saints to move effortlessly down the field and kick the winning field goal. It makes my stomach turn every time I see that.

Jacksonville lost twice to Houston last year. The defense performed admirably, holding the Texans to 20 points in both games. But offensively they could only muster 7 points in the first game and 3 points in the second. Of course, those games featured Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler at quarterback. This week it will be … rookie Gardner Minshew. I am passing for now but if the line goes over 10, I might take the Jags

New England (-18.5) @ Miami

I don’t like double-digit home underdogs in division games at all.

Sports bettors want no part of this game either. The opening line for this game last spring was New England -7.5. After Sunday, it was New England -14.5. By Tuesday, it was New England -19. If you figure 3 points for Miami’s home field and another 3 for New England’s, those 19 points equate to New England laying 25 points at home. That one’s a hard pass for me.

Buffalo (-1.5) @ NY Giants

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen is now 2-4 SU and 4-2 ATS on the road. In those six roadies, he has led his team to an average of 14.5 points per game. Yet here he is, favored on the road. (Note: the spread score for this game project Buffalo to score 22 points, which does not correspond to their history.)

All of that has me leaning New York’s way. My hesitation lies with New York head coach Pat Shurmur, one of the worst play-callers in the league. There’s also New York’s recent record in home openers. Playing in their home opener since 2012, the Giants have scored 17, 23, 14, 20, 16, 10, and 15 points. That’s an average of 16 points per game, and it’s led to a record of 1-6 SU and 0-7 ATS. Those games have gone 6-1 under the total.My bet is for this game to go under the total of 43.5.

Seattle @ Pittsburgh (-4.0)

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll is an astounding 1-12 SUATS in road games played in the first three weeks of the season, losing by an average score of 24-15. With Russell Wilson at quarterback, the team is 1-9 SUATS in these games. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin is 10-2 SU and 8-4 ATS in home openers, winning by an average score of 24-15. After getting humiliated at New England on Sunday night, the Steelers are the very definition of a needy team. 

This one looks easy, but we’ll see. I’m still picking the Steelers to win and cover at home.

Indianapolis @ Tennessee (-3.0)

Let’s be clear here! Tennessee is not going to benefit from the safety, a pick-6, a missed extra point, their opponent’s starting left tackle being ejected and their 2nd string left tackle injuring his knee, or their opponent racking up 182 penalty yards as they did with the hapless Browns. I also observed some very questionable play-calling from Tennessee last week (Cleveland had even worse play-calling.)

I’m staying away from this one – pass.

Dallas (-5.5) @ Washington

Washington head coach Jay Gruden called 44 pass attempts vs. 13 rush attempts last week. That was despite holding a 10-0 lead in the 1st quarter, and a 20-7 lead at halftime. He also made running back Adrian Peterson a healthy scratch last week. I expect more bad decision-making this week.

Dallas seems to be hot with that offensive play calling and if their defense stays on the field less than 30 min, they win 70% of their games. I’m laying the points on the road here and picking Dallas.

Kansas City (-7.5) @ Oakland

Kansas City head coach Andy Reid is 13-5 SU and 14-4 ATS on the division road with the Chiefs. As the head coach of Philadelphia from 2007-12, Reid went 12-6 ATS on the division road. So from 2007 on, that’s 25-11 SU and 26-10 ATS. Not bad.

This line opened at Kansas -9 and is now -7.5. If it creeps down lower than that, I will be very tempted to make a bet on the Chiefs. The Raiders will be without their hot rookie safety for the rest of the season and team will likely be down.

I’ll take the heavy road favorite here and side with the Chiefs.

Chicago (-2.5) @ Denver

Chicago is coming off a Thursday game, while Denver played a road game on Monday night. That gives the Bears a sneaky scheduling advantage with ten days to prepare vs. only six days for Denver.

Still, I have to see more from both teams before I can commit to betting. This one’s a pass.

New Orleans @ LA Rams (-2.5)

As I mentioned before, just because a team has revenge, doesn’t mean they are going to get it. The other team has something to prove too, particularly if they are at home. Sean Payton is 57-37 ATS with revenge. Sean McVay is 9-5 ATS vs. revenge.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees became somewhat interception prone as last season winded down, and he threw an interception last week. Brees is also 6-7 SU and 4-9 ATS in Week Two, including 3-5 SU and 2-6 ATS since 2011. He’s gone 0-2 ATS in Weeks One and Two combined five times since 2006.

New Orleans allowed 180 rushing yards and an average of 7.8 yards per rush on Monday night. They have six days, minus time lost in travel, to clean that up before going up against one of the league’s top rushing attacks.

I’m siding with the Rams here especially since they are laying less than 3 points.

Philadelphia (-1.5) @ Atlanta

Something important to consider is Philly’s big, come-from-behind win over Washington. They could be in letdown mode here. For whatever reason, Philly hasn’t traveled well early in the season under head coach Doug Pederson, going 3-5 SUATS on the road in the first five weeks of the year, including 0-4 SUATS as a favorite.

Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz is 8-12 SU on the road. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan is 60-32 SU at home. Wentz is 2-7 SU and 1-8 ATS on road turf. The falcons were awful in the opener and should bounce back at home. I love the home dog in this game.

Cleveland @ NY Jets

With the announcement that QB Sam Darnold isn’t playing for the Jets this week, the game went off the boards at almost all bookies. Even when it comes back up, I want no part of it. That’s’ a pass.

2020 NFL Picks Week 1

Let’s take a look at the NFL Predictions 2019 Week 1. Find out about the odds and the favorites to win. Here is a selection of the best sports operators in the US, with exclusive promo codes to sign up and bet on your favorite team.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots (-6.0)

Alright, so over the last 6 meetings between the two sides, the Patriots are 5-1. But Pittsburgh won the last game vs. the Patriots and the season before that, the overturned catch of Jesse James determined the game. Furthermore, over the past couple of games, the difference in the final score was just one possession. Belichick has a reputation of not being all in during the September games as he sees that time as a continuation of the pre-season. The Steelers have finally gotten rid of the distractions (Brown and Bell), and they look poised. One last thing, the money in Vegas is on Pittsburgh. Currently, 90% of the cash is on them with only 52% of the tickets being placed on the Steelers. This shows us that sharp players have tried to get to the +6.0 before it drops. It will surely drop by gameday. Take the Steelers and the points.

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys (-7.0)

Betting against the Cowboys has been relatively profitable over the past 5-6 seasons. Dallas is a well-known “public” team. This means that the average guy will pick them to win. This is precisely when sharps go against them. Over the last 5 games between the two teams, the Cowboys have won 4. This is straight-up, though, and we care about the point spread. Now they are laying a whopping 7 points in week 1. Generally, the first week of the season is reserved for underdogs. Over the past 10 seasons, the underdogs cover about 60% of the time. So if we had picked blindly every underdog in week 1 throughout the past decade, we would have made some good money. What’s more, the last 7 contests between the Giants and the Cowboys were a one-score game. I am going with the Giants to cover.

Detroit Lions (-2.5) @ Arizona Cardinals

Here we have 2 teams that have had bad pre-season performances so far. I don’t trust either coach, and I also don’t trust either offense. All in all, this game will be a hard pass for me, although the home underdog may be worth some attention. There’s no way you should lay points on the road with Detroit in Week 1.

Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns (-5.5)

This is a real value pick that I cannot miss. The Cleveland Browns are the most hyped up team in 2019, and I don’t see why. Baker Mayfield keeps running his mouth, but he won just 1 away game outside of the state of Ohio last year. The Browns had a record of 7-8-1 last season, and for some reason, they think that a rookie head coach will turn this franchise around instantly. Let’s pump the breaks here and respect the fact that the Titans play tough, smash-mouth football and may end up bullying the Browns at home. Mike Vrabel is just the type of coach you want when you are an underdog against a team that features a pair of diva wide receivers such as Landry and OBJ. I’m definitely taking the points in week 1.

Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders (PK)

Tough game to handicap at this point. There are too many variables here. How is the Raiders discipline going to be with so many new and volatile players (Brown, Incognito, Burfict)? How is Denver’s Joe Flacco going to mesh in with the offense? There’s too much new personnel on both teams’ coaching staffs, so I can’t predict who has the upper hand. This game is a pass. Pay attention to the Under, though.

Kansas City Chiefs (-4.0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars

This is an exciting pick right here not because Kansas starts the season with an away game versus a solid defense but because Jacksonville was the only team that held Mahomes without a touchdown in a game last year. Where I’m having problems trusting Jacksonville is their coaching.  Ne offensive coordinator John DeFilippo calls too many pass plays. It’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the offense to call that many pass plays and I think this will bite him as it has bit him last year against Buffalo, LA Rams, and Arizona. He makes bone-headed calls in crucial moments. Doug Marrone as a head coach always gravitates around .500 when it comes to ATS and Straight-up. I’m going with Andy Reid and Mahomes because they typically start seasons strong.

San Francisco 49ers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.0)

This is a tough pick because Jimmy G is obviously the better quarterback in the game, but the 49ers have to travel east for this one, and I think that Tampa might just win this game easily. It’s all in the hands of Jameis Winston who looks like is being appropriately coached this summer and might not commit as many turnovers. The new head coach of TB is Bruce Arians, and he is known to be a quarterback whisperer. This game is a likely pass, but I lean Tampa.

Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints (-7.0)

I am reluctant to bet this game on the point spread because the Texans are not known to open strong. Last year they were again an underdog versus the Patriots and failed to cover the spread. This year, they start against a team with an even better and faster offense than the Patriots. Clowney is missing so the Texans defense will be weakened. However, I don’t want to lay that many points in week 1 and bet such a heavy favorite. The Over 53.0 is worth a look though. If it goes down to 52.5, I’m likely betting it.

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets (-3.0)

I will likely be passing this game, but I lean Buffalo. They are going to be the better team on defense and will try to slow the game down for the Jets. If Darnold commits a couple of turnovers, the points for the Bills will be invaluable. Still, I don’t believe them that much. It’s a pass.

Los Angeles Rams (-3.0) @ Carolina Panthers

Is there such a thing as a Super Bowl hangover? We’ll find out with the Rams this season. We are going with the home underdog here strictly because it is a value pick. We have a western team traveling east, and this is always a good angle for us. Additionally, the money is poring on the Panthers while the tickets are on the Rams. This is a sure sign that the sharps are all over Carolina. I’m taking the points and picking the Panthers to upset the LA Rams in week 1.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks (-9.5)

Wow, this line moved quickly and by a lot. The Bengals look depleted on offense with both Green and Ross out for week 1. The line started at 7.5 and moved all the way to 10.0 at some sportsbooks. It is highly likely that the Seahawks will cover this line but who’d be willing to lay so much wood. Not me, not in Week 1. It’s a pass.

Baltimore Ravens (-5.0) @ Miami Dolphins

Call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s outrageous to bet Miami here. If the line moves to 5.5, it’d be really lucrative. Lamar Jackson has problems passing the ball, and he averages 17 carries per game. This is too many carries by the QB, and I think that a defensive expert like Brian Flores will be able to give him a hard time. Yes, Miami isn’t in good shape on offense, but if this is a low-scoring game, the 5 points will be worth a lot. I expect a defensive battle in the heat down south. Either bet the under or take the points with Miami.

Atlanta Falcons @ Minnesota Vikings (-4.0)

This is just a gut feeling here, but I feel like Atlanta will give Minnesota a hard time in this game. I expect Minnesota to run the ball more with a healthy Dalvin Cook and with a new Offensive coordinator. John DeFilippo made Cousins throw the ball way too often. The Vikings are likely to win, but Atlanta will definitely look for a good start of the season. The fact that they missed the playoffs last year is actually a good thing now. If you can get Atlanta at +4.5 somewhere, don’t hesitate to bet it.

Indianapolis Colts @ LA Chargers (-7.0)

If you managed to bet the Chargers before Andrew Luck announced his retirement, you probably got -3.0. Now you have the chance to middle by betting the Colts at +7.0. The Chargers should win straight-up easily though.

Philadelphia Eagles (-8.5) @ Washington Redskins 

The more fired up team here will be the Eagles. I hate laying that many points, but it might be a good idea. Here’s a fun fact: The Eagles have won every one of their last 4 games against the Redskins with a point margin of 10 or more. They are the more balanced team and will play versus a Washington team which will look for reasons to start Haskins in the weeks to come. I have a hunch that most of the Redskins players will not be motivated to play with Case Keenum. Add the fact that this is a division game, and the Eagles are poised for a huge playoff push this season. This bet goes against my principles, but I feel like the Eagles will win handily by a TD + FG.

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears (-3.0)

This is what I call the upset of the week. I fully see the Packers winning this one even though the Bears defense looks suffocating. Whenever you can bet the better quarterback and get points, you should do it. In this case, I have more faith in Rodgers in a new offense than I have in Trubisky in his 2nd-year offense. Take the points.

*The odds are valid at the time of publication. 

2019/20 NFL Season Preview

Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers are set to raise the curtain on the new NFL season in the NFC North division derby on Thursday, September 5th. We are in for another thrilling campaign in the landmark 100th season of the competition. It does not bring a genuine Super Bowl contender, though. We rather see it as an evenly-matched race between several teams and this preview will reveal our main candidates for the playoffs seeds months before the actual kick off. We will also mention some of the most successful betting punters from the previous term as it will be very interesting to track their success in the new season.

NFC: Top betting picks for the 2020 Super Bowl

Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles RamsSuper Bowl participants and reigning NFC champions have some unfinished business going into the new season. They began the previous term with 11 wins in 12 games, but kind of ran out of steam in dying stages of the regular campaign. They woke up in the play-offs to enter the Super Bowl where they fell to New England Patriots.

A lot will depend on the start as the team are looking at five intriguing tests beginning with the clash against the Panthers on the East Coast. If they pass it unharmed, we’d not be surprised to see them sweeping to the top-notch spot ahead of the play-offs in the second consecutive season. Such scenario is paid at +400 with SugarHouse.

 

New Orleans Saints

New Orleans SaintsThe Saints lost the NFC Championship match against LA Rams in a brutal fashion and they will have an opportunity to get the revenge as early as in the second round of the new season. It will no doubts be the clash with a massive impact on both teams’ ambitions moving forward and we can’t wait for it to actually kick off. The Saints have a Hall of Fame head coach in the like of Sean Payton, while Drew Brees got another star to throw balls to as tight end Jared Cook signed with New Orleans ahead of the season. Saints are actually bookies’ main favorites to win the NFC Championship. You can back such scenario at +375 with Sugarhouse. We are also tempted to go with New Orleans to win the Super Bowl at +850 with FanDuel.

 

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas CowboysHead coach Jason Garrett is in the final year of his contract and he has an imperative of making an impact. Anything below the NFC Championship match would be considered a failure and probably mark his farewell from the bench. The super stern defensive line is Cowboys’ biggest strength, while we certainly expect to see more from quarterback Dak Prescott given wide receiver Amari Cooper will be available as of Matchday No 1. The Cowboys are set at huge +1100 to go all the way in the NFC with SugarHouse.

 

 

AFC Predictions: Top teams to watch for 2020

New England Patriots

New England PatriotsThe defending champions remain the powerhouse in spite of losing one of the greatest tight ends in the history of the game. Rob Gronkowski ended his career in March this year and there are no doubts both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will need some time to adjust to life without one of the most remarkable figures the sport has seen in the past decade. Michael Roberts came in from Detroit Lions, while it will be very interesting to see Isaiah Wynn starting the season after skipping the entire previous term through an Achilles injury. The schedule seems to be going in their favor and the Pats should not face too many troubles en route to clinching the play-offs berth. You can back the Patriots to win more than 10 games in the regular season at +105 odds with William Hill New Jersey.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City ChiefsThe Chiefs enjoyed an extraordinary campaign last time out and were just unlucky to have missed out on the Super Bowl appearance. Patrick Mahomes well deserved the MVP award in his inaugural season with the Chiefs. He is probably the most complete quarter-back out there and we just have to put Kansas City in the narrowest choice for the Super Bowl with him on the field. The person we are especially excited for is the new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo who should really bring this segment of the Chiefs’ game to a completely new level. Looking at all possible parameters, Kansas City are probably the biggest favorites to go all the way this season. They are +600 to lift the Super Bowl trophy at the end of the season with William Hill NJ. On top of this, backing Patrick Mahomes to defend his MVP title in the regular season is a must at +600 odds with FanDuel.

 

Cleveland Browns

Cleveland BrownsBrowns have one of the easiest schedules in December and we believe it will play a big role in their route towards a play-offs berth in the centennial edition of NFL. Their final three fixtures will be against the likes of Arizona, Baltimore and Cincinnati. These three outfits had 19 victories combined last year. Moving forward, John Dorsey enjoyed an extraordinary off-season. Cleveland are at +800 longshot to win the AFC Conference with SugarHouse.

 

2020 super bowl lines
2020 super bowl lines at William Hill

Tipsters to Keep an Eye on

NFL generally attracts a massive number of wagers and we can only expect the trend to grow in the landmark 100th edition. In the sea of successful pundits expertized for this particular sport, we have cherry-picked a couple definitely worth paying attention to coming into the new season.

Curt Archer

Archer made an exquisite +3023 profit with an 8.30% yield on 457 NFL bets last season. His numbers were significantly better in the regular season as he struggled in the play-offs. Nonetheless, this was still a significant profit. You should keep an eye on this man’s predictions, particularly at the start of the regular season.

Florin Groza

This guy made much more bets (718), but landed a 3.41% yield at the end of the campaign. Overall, it was most certainly a very successful one for him. Groza was profitable in eight of last ten months and we can’t wait for his picks at the start of the new campaign. Follow his Twitter account here.

2020 NFL Season Expert Picks: Get the best odds & free tips
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