|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|01-20-19||Patriots v. Chiefs UNDER 56||Top||37-31||Loss||-110||97 h 37 m||Show|
I understand why the oddsmaker set a total this high. There were 83 points scored when the teams met in Week 6 with the Patriots winning, 43-40. The Patriots also looked great in steamrolling the Chargers this past Sunday, 41-28.But this matchup is going to be much different. It is going to be far more lower scoring than perceived. Let's start with a weather element. Kickoff is set for 6:40 p.m. Kansas City time. By that time, temperatures are forecast to be around 10 degrees, possibly lower. If the temperatures reach single digits it would make it the coldest playoff game in the history of Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs' offense is less explosive without Kareem Hunt, their best running back. The Patriots' defense is underrated. It has a bend-but-don't break nature. Only six teams gave up fewer points than the Patriots, although playing the Jets, Bills and Dolphins twice each padded those defensive statistics. However, part of Bill Belichick's genius is his ability to see things on film and learn from a previous matchup. Look for the Patriots to be in proper position to thwart Patrick Mahomes, playing in his first NFL title game, and the rest of the Chiefs. Kansas City isn't going to get any cheap points against such a well-coached defense. If Belichick has a hidden wrinkle that Mahomes hasn't seen, he will unleash it here. Another reason the total opened so high is because the Chiefs surrendered the second-most yards in the league and also the second-most passing yards. But Kansas City's defense is entirely different at home. The Chiefs gave up an average of 34.6 points on the road, but just 18 points per game at Arrowhead. And that's not including the Chiefs' playoff victory against the Colts last week. The Colts could manage just a single touchdown on offense against the Chiefs. The Patriots are not explosive like they have been in past seasons. Losing Josh Gordon to suspension and Rob Gronkowski becoming just a shell of his former self because of injuries have weakened New England's offense. Even with Gordon, the Patriots averaged only 21.6 points in their road games. That's the lowest total in Tom Brady's career. Brady did not have one of his better seasons. The Patriots rely on the running of Sony Michel and short passes now. The key to stopping Brady is having a strong pass rush without resorting to blitzes. The Chiefs can do that because they have three excellent pass rushers, Chris Jones, Dee Ford and Justin Houston. That trio combined to record 27 1/2 sacks.
|01-20-19||Rams +3.5 v. Saints||26-23||Win||100||91 h 10 m||Show|
The Saints hosted the Rams back in Week 9. The Rams were 1 1/2-point road favorites. Now look at the spread. There's a difference of four points, which I don't see between these two teams. These are the two best teams in the NFC deserving of meeting in the title game. But in my view the Rams are slightly better and that isn't negated by the Saints being home. It was huge for the Rams that they played earlier this season in the Superdome. They now have more of an idea of what to expect. Yes, the Saints beat the Rams, 45-35. But the score was tied 35-35 and the Rams had a chance to deliver a knockout blow to the Saints. They didn't do it - this time. The Saints are at their best inside their dome. But a fast-track, carpet field without weather conditions is helpful for the Rams, too. They are explosive with reliance on speed. Jared Goff is far better when not affected by bad weather. Take away their road loss to the Bears in cold weather and the Rams would be averaging 36.6 points a game. This is the first time LA is getting points all season. The Saints are going to have to score a ton of points to win and even more to cover the spread. Lost in the glare of the Saints' playoff victory against the Eagles was New Orleans losing defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins. He suffered a torn Achilles. That's a huge defensive loss for New Orleans. Rankins finally was living up to his vast potential with eight sacks while playing the run well. Sean McValy is a coaching genius. I rank him as the best coach in the NFC. He had the vision to make the Rams more of a physical team instead of just a finesse passing team. He did this on a fly, too, implementing that late in the season. The move paid off against a Cowboys defense that is better than the Saints defense. The Rams ran for 273 yards against a Cowboys defense that ranked fifth versus the run. On the flip side, the Rams held NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott to 47 yards rushing on 20 carries. LA has a trump card on defense: Aaron Donald. He's the most dominant defensive lineman in football. He's be operating against Audrus Peat, who is playing with a broken hand. Donald can disrupt the Saints offense just by himself.
|01-13-19||Eagles v. Saints -8||Top||14-20||Loss||-105||54 h 29 m||Show|
No the Saints aren't blowing out the Eagles by 41 points like they did at home in Week 11. Philadelphia's secondary is in better physical shape and Nick Foles has replaced ailing Carson Wentz at quarterback. But this isn't enough to keep the Eagles within a touchdown of the Saints. New Orleans is a level higher this season than the Eagles and playing inside their dome stadium where Drew Brees threw 22 touchdown passes with just one interception. The Eagles struggled against Mitch Trubisky on grass last week surviving only because of Cody Parkey's bad luck on his final field goal attempt. Brees on a fast track with Alvin Karma, Michael Thomas and Mark Ingram is too much offense for the Eagles. Karma and Ingram both are far superior to any of the Eagles running backs. Thomas is the best wide receiver on the field. The Eagles carry a fatigue rating playing in their third straight road matchup while the Saints are rested. Offensive mastermind Sean Payton is dangerous with extra prep time. The Eagles have failed to cover nine the last 13 times they have played on carpet. Foles may be the top backup quarterback in the league. But if he were a starter he would rank among the bottom half. Foles has started the past four games. He has an eight-to-five TD-to-interception ratio during this time. The Saints are much improved defensively. During Weeks 10 through 15 - when they were competing hard for playoff seeding - the Saints gave up 12.3 points per game. No team scored more than 17 points on them during this time. You need a balanced offense and ball-control to beat the Saints inside the Louisiana Superdome. The Eagles rank 28th rushing. New Orleans has the No. 2 run defense. Credit to the Eagles for getting this far. But their journey to repeat as Super Bowl champions ends here.
|01-12-19||Cowboys v. Rams -7||22-30||Win||100||46 h 39 m||Show|
There are three major reasons why I like the Rams to beat the Cowboys by more than a touchdown: Situation, home/road data and coaching. Let's start with the situation. LA is rested. The Rams should be well prepared given two weeks to prepare with Sean McVay, who just might be the sharpest offensive-minded coach in football. The Rams won 11 games under McVay last season emerging as a force. However, the Rams suffered from playoff inexperience and lost in the first round to the Falcons. This year the Rams won 13 games and improved even more. Jared Goff and Co. now have playoff experience. A rested Todd Gurley trumps Ezekiel Elliott especially with a far better downfield passing attack on his side. The Cowboys entered this season having won one playoff game in Jason Garrett's previous seven years as head coach. McVay versus Garrett is a huge coaching mismatch in LA's favor. Home/road splits are huge for both teams. The Rams went 7-1 at home, averaging nine more points per game at home while giving up 8.2 points less per contest. Goff is a California quarterback. His quarterack rating was nearly 35 points higher when he played in LA. Dallas, by contrast, averaged 7.5 points fewer per game when on the road with Dak Prescott's quarterback rating being nearly 24 points lower away from Dallas. The Cowboys averaged a league-low 5.8 points in the first half when on the road. The Cowboys are heavily run-oriented. Prescott has severe limitations when throwing more than just short passes. The Cowboys also have a cluster injury problem at wide receiver. They are not built to come from behind if the Rams should jump out to a big lead against them.
|01-12-19||Colts +5 v. Chiefs||Top||13-31||Loss||-105||121 h 48 m||Show|
Andy Reid is a likely Hall of Fame coach. But when it comes to the playoffs he is a Hall of Fame chump. Reid's team have lost eight of their last nine playoff games. This includes a 1-4 postseason mark with the Chiefs. The Titans upset the Chiefs as 8 1/2-point road 'dogs last season in the Chiefs' first playoff game. These Colts are far better than that Tennessee team. The Chiefs went just 3-3 down the stretch going 1-4-1 ATS with their lone cover coming against the Raiders. Indianapolis is 10-1 in its last 11 games. The Colts' defense has been far better than perceived. So has their offensive line, which gave up the fewest sacks in the league. Marlon Mack has emerged as a running back threat. He's better than any of Kansas City's running backs with Kareem Hunt gone. Patrick Mahomes had a great season. But so did Andrew Luck, who threw the second-most TD passes on the season in back of only Mahomes. Luck has playoff experience, something Mahomes lacks. Kansas City's defense has played better at home. But the Colts hold a defensive edge. They've held five of their last six foes to 21 points or fewer. The Chiefs defense surrendered the second-most points per game and second most-yards per game. The Colts have become a physical unit that can play ball control. That's the way to beat the Chiefs.
|01-06-19||Chargers +3 v. Ravens||Top||23-17||Win||100||39 h 22 m||Show|
The Chargers are that rare team that plays better on the road than at home. The reason for this is they really don't have a home-field advantage playing at sparsely populated StubHub Center in Southern California. The Chargers are 8-0, though, in games outside of Southern California. They have won in five different time zones and won't be intimidated here. The forecast for Sunday in Baltimore is sunny with temperatures in the 40s with around a 10-12 mph wind. So it's not like the Chargers are going into frigid conditions. Baltimore dominated the Chargers, 22-10, on the road just two weeks ago. Until that loss, the Chargers were in the argument for best team in the league. So maybe they needed a loss like that to sharpen them up and energize their focus. There is no secret to the Ravens. They are going to pound the ball, play for field position and rely on their excellent defense. The Chargers won't be ambushed again by the Ravens. Baltimore beat the Chargers after LA had knocked off the Chiefs the previous week on the road. So it wasn't a great spot for the Chargers. I respect the Ravens. Their defense is better than the Chargers. John Harbaugh is an above average coach, while Anthony Lynn is untested in playoff games. But I believe the Chargers are the better all-around team. Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen give the Chargers the best skill position players. The Chargers also get back big-play tight end Hunter Henry for the first time this season. They also have change-of-pace Austin Ekeler back. He missed the first game against the Ravens. Ekeler is a key because he's good pass-catching back and can hurt the Ravens via screen passes, which would slow down the Ravens' pass rush. The Chargers know what's coming. They are going to be prepared for Baltimore's ground attack by loading up the box. Lamar Jackson is an outstanding running QB, but he's not a good downfield passer.
|01-05-19||Seahawks v. Cowboys -125||Top||22-24||Win||100||50 h 15 m||Show|
Those who like Seattle in this matchup point to the Seahawks' playoff experience and coaching/quarterback edges thanks to Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson. But the Seahawks have failed to cover in five of their last six playoff games. Dak Prescott isn't nearly as good as Russell Wilson and I would take Carroll over Jason Garrett. But the Cowboys hold most of the other edges not to mention home field and having had the opportunity to rest Ezekiel Elliott last Sunday. Elliott trumps any of Seattle's running back. The Cowboys are healthier in the trenches and have the superior defense. Both teams rely on the run to set up play-action. Dallas has the better offensive line. Seattle has a key defensive injury with cornerback Shaquill Griffin dealing with an ankle injury. Griffin would be lining up opposite Amari Cooper, who caught 53 passes for 725 yards and six touchdowns in just nine games for the Cowboys providing Dallas with a legitimate No. 1 receiver. The Cowboys also found a late-season hidden weapon, second-year tight end Blake Jarwin. He had 228 receiving yards in Dallas' last four games while scoring three touchdowns against the Giants in Week 17. The Cowboys defense ranks in the top-seven in fewest points, fewest yards and run defense. Seattle was 16th in yards allowed, 13th in run defense and 11th in scoring defense. Bobby Wagner is the Seahawks' lone defensive star. The Cowboys have an elite pass rusher, DeMarcus Lawrence, a top-notch cornerback, Byron Jones, and two emerging star linebackers, Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. It's an added plus if Sean Lee is healthy enough to give them anything. Dallas' home field advantage can't be minimized either. It's huge. Dallas is 7-1 at home. The Cowboys held the Saints to a season-low 10 points at AT&T Stadium. Seattle is 4-4 on the road. The Seahawks' away victories came against the Cardinals, Lions, Panthers and Raiders - all below .500 teams.
|12-30-18||Colts -3 v. Titans||33-17||Win||100||74 h 48 m||Show|
The Colts knocked out Marcus Mariota when they played the Titans in Week 11. The Colts buried the Titans, 38-10, in that game. Andrew Luck torched the Titans for 297 yards passing and three touchdowns. Luck is 10-0 lifetime versus Tennessee. Luck is an elite quarterback and now, for the first time, has an elite pass-blocking offensive line. The Colts are very underrated defensively giving up the 11th fewest yards and 13th fewest points. I expect Mariota to start for the Titans. But he's not likely 100 percent and he's not that good even when he is healthy unable to consistenly hurt a defense with downfield throws. The Titans' strategy has become feed Derrick Henry and rely on a good - but not great - defense. The Colts rank eighth in run defense. They are going to stack the line keying on Henry. Then what for the Titans? I don't see them being able to keep up with Luck, who is back to elite status and has found a decent running back in Marlon Mack. If the Colts are able to build a big early lead the Titans are in real trouble because that would take Henry out of the mix. The Colts have been playing extremely well going 8-1 in their last nine games, charging hard for a playoff spot. I believe they are the better team with the much superior quarterback. The Titans' home field is strong, but not strong enough to compensate for them being the weaker foe.
|12-30-18||Chargers -6.5 v. Broncos||23-9||Win||100||112 h 53 m||Show|
Despite getting manhandled last week by the Ravens, the Chargers are one of the best teams in the NFL. They are 11-4 and rank in the top 10 both offensively and defensively. The Chargers need this game in their hunt to finish with the best record in the AFC and win the AFC West Division title. They will be playing hard especially following their bad performance against the Ravens. The Broncos are a shot team done in by injuries, low morale and a coach who barring a miracle won't be with the team next season. Denver is reeling as the regular season comes to a conclusion losing the past three weeks to the 49ers, Browns and Raiders this past Monday night. The Broncos are 11-20 under Vance Joseph, who has impressed no one with his coaching blunders. Denver is down three key players - cornerback Chris Harris, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and now its star rookie running back Phillip Lindsay, who suffered a wrist injury against the Raiders. LA is much the better team and has motivation. The Chargers have the best road mark in the NFL at 6-1 SU and ATS. They have posted road victories against much stronger teams than the Broncos beating the Chiefs, Steelers and Seahawks.
|12-30-18||Raiders v. Chiefs -13.5||3-35||Win||100||70 h 33 m||Show|
When is it OK to lay two touchdowns in a division game? The answer is right here. This is a kill spot for the high-powered Chiefs off two straight losses and looking for a big win to regain momentum for the playoffs. No team gains more yards or scores more points than the Chiefs, who average 35.3 points per game. Patrick Mahomes should be the MVP of the league with his 48 TD passes, which is 12 more than second-place Andrew Luck. The Raiders rank 31st in scoring defense allowing 28.9 points a game. The Raiders are traveling on a short week after getting a bit of redemption for their disaster of a first season under Jon Gruden having just beaten the Broncos on national TV Monday. I see the Raiders being fat and happy after that win. They don't have nearly the talent to hang against the Chiefs on the road unless they produce an "A" effort. Gruden is going to be around a long time for the Raiders after signing a 10-year contract. I don't see the Raiders entering this matchup with a lot of urgency. They just want this season to be over with. Oakland is 1-6 on the road with the lone victory coming by two points against the punchless Cardinals, who are the opposite of the Chiefs with the worst offense in the NFL. Just two weeks ago the Raiders traveled to Cincinnati and lost by 14 points to the hapless Bengals surrendering 30 points to an outfit that is down their starting quarterback and their three best receivers. The Raiders have lost four road games by 14 points or more. Defense has been Kansas City's major weakness. The Chiefs, though, are giving up a respectable 20.1 points a game when playing at Arrowhead Stadium. The return of star safety Eric Berry improves their defense, too.
|12-30-18||Cardinals +14 v. Seahawks||24-27||Win||100||68 h 53 m||Show|
I understand the Cardinals are dog excrement. They are 3-12 and headed toward getting the No. 1 draft pick. Steve Wilks has been a dismal failure and is likely to be one-and-out as the Cardinals head coach. However ...The Seahawks have no incentive to pile up a big victory here. They clinched a playoff spot this past week. Even if they beat the Cardinals the best they can be is a No. 5 seed. That means the Seahawks may not play Russell Wilson and some of their other key players the entire game. The Seahawks are not some dominant, elite team. Their defense is opportunistic rather than outstanding with 24 takeaways. The Cardinals have better talent than their record shows with David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Chandler Jones and Patrick Peterson. Arizona nearly forced overtime in the first meeting. The Seahawks won, 20-17, on a 52-year field goal with no time left. The Seahawks have won nine games. Only two of those victories, though, were by more than 14 points.
|12-30-18||Dolphins v. Bills -3||Top||17-42||Win||100||140 h 13 m||Show|
The Dolphins have lost 11 of their last 12 road games. They are 0-6 SU, 1-5 ATS in their past six away matchups. The Dolphins are not going to the playoffs and likely will have a new coach and management team in place next season. The warm-weathered Dolphins have no interest in traveling to Buffalo where the forecast is for temperatures in the 20's with wind and a 30 percent chance of snow. That's the situational aspect. The fundamental matchup is the Bills have the superior defense and a far more mobile quarterback. Miami ranks third-from-the-bottom in both yards allowed and fewest yards gained. Ryan Tanneheill is a mediocre quarterback, who is even less effective because of a sore ankle. He has been sacked 20 times in the last five games. Buffalo ranks No. 1 in pass defense and also gives up the second-fewest yards in the league. The Bills' defense is far more respectable than Miami's. Josh Allen provides a spark for the Bills on offense. He's already one of the best running quarterbacks having rushed for 100 yards twice this season. The Bills outgained the Dolphins, 415-175, when the teams met in Week 13. The Dolphins won, though, 21-17. The Bills should have taken a late lead but Charles Clay dropped a throw in the end zone with 53 seconds left.
|12-24-18||Broncos v. Raiders +3||Top||14-27||Win||100||20 h 10 m||Show|
If there is one game the Raiders should be up for it is this one - a Monday night home game in what could be their final game ever in Oakland. The Broncos are a dead team done in the past two weeks by losses to the 49ers and Browns. Vance Joseph is not expected to return as coach. One of Joseph's failing is Denver's poor road record during his two seasons - 4-11 SU, 5-10 ATS - including a seven-point road loss to the Raiders last season. Denver failed to cover when it hosted the Raiders in Week 2, winning 20-19 as 5 1/2-point favorites. Derek Carr completed 29 of 32 passes in that game for 288 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos' secondary is down a key member with cornerback Chris Harris out. Carr rates a strong edge over journeyman Case Keenum.
|12-23-18||Chiefs -120 v. Seahawks||31-38||Loss||-120||20 h 32 m||Show|
There's a class difference here. The Chiefs have the best QB in football. Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL in touchdown throws with 45 and in yards passing. The Seahawks defense is down from previous years. It's decent, but far from dominating. Seattle no longer has the home mystique it used to possess. The Seahawks are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 home games. The Seahawks offense is one-dimensional. The Chiefs' defense is improved with the return of star safety and defensive leader Eric Berry. He had six tackles last week in his first action since the 2017 season opener. The Chiefs have covered 71 percent of their last 29 road games. They also are on extra rest having played last Thursday. The extra rest is huge this late in the season.
|12-23-18||Steelers v. Saints OVER 52.5||28-31||Win||100||16 h 48 m||Show|
The Steelers rank in the top-five in points scored and yards gained. They have an elite offense. The Saints also have an elite offense. However, this total is lower than it should be because the Saints are averaging just 16.6 points during their last three games. Those three games all were on the road, though. Drew Brees has a strong history inside the Louisiana Superdome. The Saints are averaging 41.7 points during their past four home games. The Steelers have surrendered 24 points in each of their last two road games. Those were against the Raiders and Broncos, who have far inferior offenses to the Steelers. The Saints are 19-9-1 to the Over in their last 29 home games.
|12-23-18||Bucs v. Cowboys -7||Top||20-27||Push||0||87 h 29 m||Show|
Tampa Bay's defense has shown improvement, but not enough to overcome the Cowboys' ground attack and poor situational spot the Bucs find themselves in. The Buccaneers' defense was on the field for 74 plays comprising 37 minutes against the highly physical Ravens on the road last Sunday. This is their second road game in a row and 11th straight week of playing. I can envision the gassed Buccaneers losing the battle of the trenches to the Cowboys offensive line and superstar running back Ezekiel Elliott. Tampa Bay ranks 27th in run defense. Jameis Winston doesn't often play well on the road. The Buccaneers are averaging only 16.6 points a game in their last three games. Their offense has declined as their defense has improved. The Cowboys have a top-five defense, which is made even better with the return of Sean Lee. The Cowboys are going to be highly motivated following a 23-0 shutout loss to the Colts on the road last Sunday. The Cowboys are 6-1 SU, 5-2 ATS at home this season.
|12-23-18||Vikings v. Lions UNDER 42.5||27-9||Win||100||72 h 53 m||Show|
The teams met in Week 9 and the Vikings won 24-9 sacking Matthew Starfford 10 times. Things are even worse now for the Lions. Stafford isn't healthy. His offensive line is banged-up. His top running back, Kerryon Johnson, is out and his receiving corps is reduced to just one good player, Kenny Golladay. Detroit hasn't scored more than 22 points during its last eight games. The Lions are averaging 16.3 points in their last seven games. That figure would rank 29th if computed for the entire season. Stafford has just three touchdown throws in his last five games. He figures to be under constant pressure again so expect a lot of inside running by LeGarrette Blount, which is perfect for an Under. The Vikings have committed to the run under their new offensive coordinator. So expect a lot of running plays, too, from the Vikings. All of this is going to keep the clock moving.
This has been an Under series recently with four of the past five going below the total.
|12-23-18||Bengals +10.5 v. Browns||18-26||Win||100||12 h 29 m||Show|
The Browns are in uncharted waters laying a number this big especially versus a division rival that has just as many wins as they do. I understand why Cleveland is such a large favorite. They are still alive for the playoffs and the Bengals have lost all of their best skill position players except workhorse running back Joe Mixon. All the pressure is on the Browns. They are a young team that has not been in this type of must-win spot before let alone cover a double-digit spread. The Browns are going to take the Bengals' best shot that's for sure. Cincinnati hasn't been swept by the Browns since 2002. The Browns defeated the Bengals, 35-20, on Nov. 25. The game was even more lopsided than the final 15-point margin with Cleveland jumping off to a 28-0 lead and coasting from there. Not knowing how to properly win and being coached by cheap-shot motivator Gregg Williams, the Browns rubbed that victory into the Bengals' faces trash talking during and after the game. The Bengals haven't forgotten about the humiliation, nor Damarious Randall's classless stunt of handing Hue Jackson the football after he interceped an Andy Dalton pass. The Bengals are down their two best wide receivers and top tight end. Mixon, though, has stepped up to become the star running back the Bengals envisioned when they drafted him. He is leading the AFC in rushing. Jeff Driskel isn't as good as Andy Dalton, but he does provide a running threat that Dalton didn't. The Bengals also have played better defense the past couple of weeks. Cincinnati has covered 11 of its past 15 games versus AFC opponents.
|12-17-18||Saints v. Panthers +7||Top||12-9||Win||100||19 h 22 m||Show|
It has been a disappointing season to say the least for the Panthers. That's what happens when you lose a lot of close games like Carolina has. Only twice all season have the 6-7 Panthers lost by more than a touchdown.This is the Panthers' Super Bowl. They draw the Saints playing in their third consecutive road game. New Orleans has averaged just 262 total yards of offense in its last three games, which would rank 31st in the league if computed for the entire season. Carolina's troubles have stemmed mainly when they are on the road. The Panthers have won 10 of their last 11 home games, including going 5-1 at home this season.
|12-16-18||Eagles v. Rams -9||Top||30-23||Loss||-103||129 h 1 m||Show|
Physically and mentally down, the Eagles aren't ready for the Rams. LA is in a kill mood after its worst offensive performance of the season this past Sunday night. That was in cold conditions on the road against a very strong Bears defense. The Rams have multiple weapons to take advantage of the Eagles' messy cornerback situation, which has numerous injuries and is composed of second and third-stringers. Jared Goff is back in his element playing in California. Unlike last season when the Eagles outscored the Rams, 43-35, Philadelphia doesn't have the offensive capability to hang anymore with LA. The Eagles have no ground game to fall back on and Golden Tate has been a major disappointment since joining the Eagles from the Lions failing to elevate Philly's passing attack. The Eagles defense was on the field for 93 plays in their overtime loss against the Cowboys last week. They are worn down. They couldn't ask for a more dangerous offense to face on the road than the Rams. Mentally, the Eagles aren't there either with their playoff hopes realistically dashed following the loss to Dallas.
|12-16-18||Cowboys v. Colts -140||0-23||Win||100||122 h 31 m||Show|
Dallas is in a major flat spot after winnings its division showdown game against the Eagles. That victory all but clinched the NFC East for the Cowboys. They are pretty much locked into their playoff seeding at 8-5 since the two other division leaders, the Saints and Rams, are each at 11-2. The Colts also won a division showdown game this past Sunday beating the Texans. But the Colts need to keep winning in order to make the playoffs being 7-6. Andrew Luck has regained his status as an elite quarterback. He's also getting tremendous pass protection for the first time in his career. Indy's defense is much improved. The combination of Luck, being home and drawing the Cowboys in a letdown spot are enough factors to lay the short number with the Colts.
|12-16-18||Dolphins v. Vikings -7||Top||17-41||Win||100||121 h 40 m||Show|
The Dolphins are not nearly as good as their 7-6 record. They don't have an elite player on their roster. Their best player might be corernback Xavien Howard and he's hurt missing last week's game. The Vikings have a very strong home field. They have covered 69 percent of their home games under Mike Zimmer. The Dolphins are 1-10 SU, 2-9 ATS in their last 11 road games. They have lost four away games this season by double-digits. Minnesota's defense is far superior. The Vikings also don't have to deal with a high octane offense. The Dolphins' lone outside threat is Kenyan Drake and he is under utilized. Ryan Tannehill is a limited quarterback and playing on a sore ankle. Look for the fired-up Vikings to expose the Dolphins for the fraud team that they are.
|12-16-18||Bucs v. Ravens UNDER 46.5||12-20||Win||100||37 h 24 m||Show|
Baltimore has the best defense in the NFL giving up the fewest points per game at 18.5 and the second-fewest yards per game. The Ravens also rank No. 3 in pass defense. The Buccaneers are less free-wheeling and more short-to-medium pass oriented with Jameis Winston at quarterback instead of wild man Ryan Fitzpatrick. I don't see the Buccaneers putting up many points against the Ravens especially on the road and down big-play receiver/returner DeSean Jackson. Tampa Bay managed just 81 yards offense in the second half against the Saints last week. There is a wind and rain factor, too, with the forecast calling for light showers and 8-10 mph wind. The key in making this under work is being able to rely on the Buccaneers' defense. Tampa Bay ranks 30th in points allowed at 29.5 per game. That number is skewed, though, from how bad the Bucs defense was earlier in the season. Tampa Bay has gotten healthier defensively and played much better. If you discount a 38-point performance from the Giants, the Bucs have surrendered only 17.5 points in their last four games. That figure would rank No. 1. The Under is going to be helped by the Ravens running the ball so much since they switched to Lamar Jackson at quarterback. Jackson can't pass very well. But he's an excellent runner. The Ravens are like a college option team running the ball more than any other team in the NFL. The Ravens have a bunch of inside runners, though, no breakaway, dangerous outside running threats. This sets up long sustained ground-oriened drives that eat clock and keep the ball away from Tampa Bay's more explosiving passing attack. It's a plus for the Under.
|12-16-18||Titans +2.5 v. Giants||17-0||Win||100||37 h 13 m||Show|
The Titans are on extra rest and are the superior team. The oddsmaker set a bad line opening the Giants as a favorite. I'm late for the party, but at least I have arrived as the Titans should win this game. It's certainly not too much to ask of them. The Giants caught the oddsmaker's attention by winning four of their last five games. However, three of those wins were against the 49ers, Buccaneers and Redskins starting Mark Sanchez. Their only legitimate win came against the Bears in a letdown spot for Chicago - and they nearly blew that. The Titans give up the fourth-fewest points in the NFL. They are going to load the box keying on Saquan Barkley, who is a one-man band with Odell Beckham Jr. out another week. Eli Manning doesn't have the arm nor talent anymore to back the Titans off the line. Tennessee should have no problem running on the Giants with Derrick Henry. The Giants no longer have run-stuffing defensive tackle Damon Harrison and they lost strong safety Landon Collins to a season-ending injury. New York has yielded at least 115 yards on the ground in five of its past six games. Despite facing a number of backup quarterbacks - Sanchez, Josh Johnson, Chase Daniel and Nick Mullens - the Giants are giving up an average of nearly 27 points per game during their last 10 games. The point spread won't matter. Tennessee wins this game straight-up.
|12-15-18||Browns +3 v. Broncos||17-16||Win||100||105 h 44 m||Show|
Toss out Hue Jackson and football becomes fun again for the Browns. No, the Browns are not a playoff team. But they have emerging young talent and a decent defense. All they needed to do was get rid of Jackson, one of the most incompetent head coaches in NFL history. Interim coach Gregg Williams is 3-2 since replacing Jackson. That matches Jackson's win total from the past two-plus seasons. Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb have thrived since Jackson was fired. Chubb has rushed for 100 yards in every game since Jackson's departure. Jackson was hardly using the guy. Mayfield is attacking downfield. He's thrown 11 touchdowns during the past five games. Cleveland has dropped just two of its six road games by more than a field goal. There is a good chance star rookie cornerback Denzel Ward will be able to play for the Browns here after missing last week. Denver isn't making the playoffs either. A loss to the 49ers this past Sunday took care of that. Unlike the Browns, morale is down now with the Broncos. The Broncos' secondary is hurting without cornerback Chris Harris. They just lost another cornerback, Isaac Yiadom, forcing journeyman Tramaine Brock into their starting lineup. The Broncos' passing game - not good to begin with - has taken a major nosedive with the season-ending Achilles injury to Emmanuel Sanders, their best wide receiver by far. Right now the Browns are the superior team. Taking points with them is a bonus.
|12-09-18||Rams v. Bears UNDER 51||6-15||Win||100||44 h 39 m||Show|
It's easy to think Todd Gurley and all the offensive stars in this matchup. I choose to think of Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack, perhaps the two most dominant defenders in the NFL right now. Just because the Rams are involved doesn't mean this is going to be a high-scoring game. This isn't the Rams hosting the Chiefs. It's being played in 20-degree December weather in Chicago against a Bears defense that gives up the third-fewest yards and fifth-fewest points. Jared Goff is a California quarterback, both in college and the pros. This will be the coldest game he has played in. He has yet to distinguish himself in this type of weather. He's down a key wide receiver with Cooper Kupp out. Donald could have a dominating performance operating against rookie left guard James Daniels and second-string right guard Bryan Witzmann, who has replaced injured Kyle Long. I am not trusting of Mitch Trubisky, who has missed the past two games with a shoulder injury. He last played against the Vikigns on Nov. 18 and threw two interceptions with a 61.9 passer rating. Trubisky is not a downfield passer and he figures to be rusty.
|12-09-18||Broncos v. 49ers +4.5||14-20||Win||100||78 h 50 m||Show|
This is a major flat spot for the Broncos after three straight wins beating the Chargers, Steelers and Bengals. It's their second consecutive road game and they just lost their best wide receiver, Emmanuel Sanders. The 49ers usually play hard every week for Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers can move the ball - averaging 393.2 yards per game during their last four games - and they give up the 12th-fewest yards in the NFL. Denver isn't good despite its recent hot streak. The Broncos were outgained by an average of 107.6 yards in their past three games.
|12-09-18||Jets +3.5 v. Bills||Top||27-23||Win||100||75 h 16 m||Show|
When it's dreck versus dreck give me the garbage team getting the points especially with division revenge. That would be the Jets here. Both teams are going with rookie quarterback and rebuilding for next season. But the Jets are going to be super high for this game after the Bills embarrassed them on Nov. 11 dealing them one of the ugliest defeats in franchise history, 41-10. That loss really put Todd Bowles on the hot seat. Bowles is popular with the Jets players. I believe the Jets will put forth one of their strongest - if not the strongest - effort of the season in this matchup. Talent-wise, the Bills are not any better than the Jets.
|12-09-18||Saints v. Bucs UNDER 56||Top||28-14||Win||100||71 h 32 m||Show|
This total opened very high. There were a staggering 88 points scored the first time these two teams met. The Buccaneers upset the Saints, 48-40, in that matchup. That was opening week. The Buccaneers have gotten healthy on defense and their current form is much different than what it was back in Week 1. The Buccaneers have given up just 17, 9 and 16 points during three of their last four games. Tampa Bay is allowing an average of just 16.2 points during its last four home games. Tampa Bay leads the NFL in yards gained. However, the Bucs are 10th in scoring. The Buccaneers have committed 30 turnovers, by far the most in the league. Their offense has become more short-pass oriented with Jameis Winston replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick. Winston still is heavily turnover-prone. The Saints have a tremendous offense. But it is balanced. The weather forecast is not good - rain and winds in the 14-16 mph range. That means the Saints are going to have to deal with the elements, something they are not used to. So I envision more running on their part and Drew Brees throwing more short passes than usual.
|12-09-18||Colts +4.5 v. Texans||24-21||Win||100||36 h 20 m||Show|
The Texans haved won nine in a row. They are fat and happy with a bulging three-game division lead. The Colts are 6-6 and in must-win mode. The Texans were lucky to beat the Colts in overtime during the first meeting. They are going to get Indy's best effort here. Houston only nipped the Colts in the first meeting when the Colts failed to pick up a first down on fourth and four from their own 43 with 27 seconds left. The Texans took over on downs and kicked a field goal on the final play. If the Colts would have punted, like they should have, the chances are very high the game would have finished in a tie. Andrew Luck trumps DeShaun Watson and the Colts rank first in pass protection. That negates a major Houston strength, which is its pass rush. Until being shut out by the Jaguars last Sunday, the Colts were averaging 34.3 points in their last eight games. Luck can hurt the Texans secondary if given time. Sparked by rookie sensation Darius Leonard, the Colts' defense is much improved. The Texans have a poor track record as a favorite under conservative Bill O'Brien going 4-8-1 ATS when laying three or more points.
|12-06-18||Jaguars v. Titans -4.5||Top||9-30||Win||100||24 h 49 m||Show|
Bad quarterback. Decimated offensive line. Shot morale with no playoff chance after entering the season holding Super Bowl aspirations. Say hello to the 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars, the biggest underachievers in the AFC. The Jaguars are further hurt by traveling on a short week this being the Thursday game. Game manager Cody Kessler is 1-8 as an NFL starter. He's isn't going to produce many points with a beat-up offensive line and sub-par receivers. Tennessee's defense has played just below Jacksonville's ranking sixth in fewest points allowed and ninth in yards given up. So while a slight edge to Jacksonville on defense, the Titans have a much superior offense. Marcus Mariota has been playing well. He plays better against the Jaguars than any other team with a seven-game career mark of 107-for172 (62.2 percent), 1,317 yards passing and an eight-to-two touchdown-to-interception ratio. He also has rushed for 290 yards and scored two touchdowns on the ground. The Titans have defeated the Jaguars in their last three meetings holding the Jaguars to an average of 10.6 points a game.
|12-02-18||Chargers v. Steelers -3||33-30||Loss||-120||43 h 6 m||Show|
I want the Steelers going for me on national television at home after they self-destructed last week in a road loss to the Broncos despite dominating the yardage battle by having a minus four turnover ratio.Philip Rivers is having a great season, but Ben Roethlisberger trumps him when playing at home especially in December. Roethlisberger has his main weapons while Rivers is down star running back Melvin Gordon. The Steelers lead the NFL in sacks with 39. The Chargers have surrendered seven sacks in their past two games. The Chargers also have key injuries on defense down tackle Corey Liuget and linebacker Denzel Perryman. That really hurts their run defense and sets up Roethlisberger's dangerous play action. Pittsburgh has a history of winning late season big games and making the playoffs. The Chargers don't. The Chargers are hurt by poor special teams and questionable coachin
|12-02-18||Vikings v. Patriots -4.5||10-24||Win||100||14 h 58 m||Show|
The Patriots are 5-0 at home and have yet to really play their best ball. That could happen here as Bill Belichick perceives a real challenge. Slowly but surely New England is getting healthy on offense. The Patriots got Sony Michael, their top runner, back last week along with Rob Gronkowski. This week they add to their running back depth with the return of Rex Burkhead. The Vikings' top cornerback, Xavier Rhodes, is questionable with a hamstring injury. Even if he plays, Rhodes isn't likely to be 100 percent making Josh Gordon a dangerous deep threat. Tom Brady is coming off his highest passer rating of the season. It's not a coincidence that happened with all of his weapons returning. The Vikings are well coached under Mike Zimmer. But they have not been good covering against strong opponents going 1-6 ATS versus foes with a winning mark. It's a bit of a flat spot, too, for the Vikings off a huge nationally televised Sunday night home win against their division arch rivals the Packers. The Patriots have covered 17 of the past 24 times when going against above .500 opponents.
|12-02-18||Cardinals v. Packers UNDER 44||20-17||Win||100||36 h 44 m||Show|
First let's take in the weather forecast: 19 mph winds and light snow. Next let's examine the Cardinals' offense: It's terrible. The combination of rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, a decimated offensive line and a below average receiving corps headed by over-the-hill Larry Fitzgerald brings no fear. The Packers give up 10 fewer points per game at home, allowing 18.8 points when playing at Lambeau Field. Surprisingly, the Packers also have 36 sacks, just three behind NFL leader Pittsburgh. Now study the Cardinals' defense. It's actually pretty darn good considering how putrid their offense is. While Arizona ranks last in all the major offensive categories, including scoring and yards, its defense gives up the second-fewest TD passes and leads the NFL in sack percentage. The Packers have offensive line injuries. Their best lineman is left tackle David Bakhhtiari and he's questionable with a knee injury. The Packers lack depth in their offensive line. Aaron Rodgers is not having a typical Aaron Rodgers season either.
|12-02-18||Ravens v. Falcons -120||26-16||Loss||-120||36 h 43 m||Show|
Atlanta is on a slippery slope to miss the playoffs having lost three in a row. The Falcons are 4-7. So this is last stand time for them. I see the Falcons getting the job done at home against this foe. The Falcons' defense is improved with the return of middle linebacker Deion Jones and they hold a monster quarterback edge with Matt Ryan, who has put up MVP numbers at home with a 15-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Baltimore got some early love from the oddsmaker, but there has been a switch of favorites. The steam is justified. The Ravens have won two in a row. Lamar Jackson was the QB in each of those wins. But those victories were against the Raiders and Bengals, both at home. Jackson hasn't shown an ability to throw downfield. The Ravens scored on a defensive touchdown and punt return touchdown against the Raiders. Their offense managed just 20 points against the Raiders' 29th-ranked defense. The Bengals rank last defensively giving up the most points and yards per game. Those are two defenses Jackson has gone against The Falcons' defense can handle Jackson while Ryan should shine at home aided by Julio Jones, who is on a streak of six straight 100-yard plus receiving games.
|12-02-18||Browns +7 v. Texans||Top||13-29||Loss||-140||36 h 42 m||Show|
Free of Hue Jackson, rookies Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb are playing their best ball. Mayfield is 36-for-46 passing for 474 yards with a 7-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ration in his last two games while Chubb has gained 337 yards from scrimmage and scored four TD's in the last two weeks.Cleveland is a dangerous foe for the fat and happy Texans, winners of eight in a row. Houston is on a short week after dispatching Tennessee at home and two games up on the Colts in the AFC South Division. The Texans aren't nearly as good as their record and are ripe for an upset. They have built their win streak versus easy competition and by winning close games. Houston won four games by a combined 10 points, two of them coming in overtime. They have lost to the Giants and only beaten the Bills by a touchdown. Bill O'Brien plays not to lose. Because of that, the Texans are very bad in a chalk role. Going back to 2016, the Texans are 3-8-1 ATS when laying a field goal or more. Houston also has failed to cover in its last seven December games.
|11-25-18||Packers v. Vikings -3||Top||17-24||Win||100||33 h 36 m||Show|
The Packers didn't make the playoffs last season. They aren't going to make the postseason either this season. The reasons are many: A talent shortage. Stale coaching by Mike McCarthy. Key injuries. Lack of a pass rush. Vulnerable secondary. Aaron Rodgers performing at a good rather than great level. The Vikings aren't at the elite level of the Rams and Saints. But they are coming on and clearly are a tier higher than the Packers. Green Bay is 0-5 on the road this season. The Lions, Seahawks and Redskins all whipped the Packers when they hosted them. The Packers lost to those teams by an average of 8.3 points a game. None of those three teams are as good as Minnesota. The Packers are 1-6-2 ATS the past nine times they have been underdogs. Their history under McCarthy is very bad as underdogs. They don't win games they are not expected to win. This is the third year the Vikings are playing their home games at U.S. Bank Stadium. It is a very strong home field. The Packers are 0-2 there having lost 23-10 last season and 17-14 in 2016 when Sam Bradford was Minnesota's quarterback. The Vikings were missing their two best offensive linemen, Pat Elfein and Brian O'Neill, when they met the Packers in Green Bay in Week 2. The game finished in a 29-29 tie. Vikings kicker Daniel Carlson missed three field goals, including two in overtime. Elfein and O'Neill are back for the Vikings. Carlson has been replaced by steady Dan Bailey, who has made 14 of 17 field goals for Minnesota with one of those misses caused by a bad snap. The Vikings have come on since that early season game. Their defense was elite last season and it has yielded just 263.6 yards during the past five games. That would rank No. 1 in the NFL by 37 yards if computed during the entire season. Just two games ago, the Vikings amassed 10 sacks in a 24-9 win against the Lions. Maybe because his knee still isn't 100 percent. Maybe it's because of his barely concealed ill feelings toward McCarthy. Whatever it is, Rodgers isn't having is typical season. There has been tremendous quarterback play from a number of quarterbacks - Patrick Mahomes, Philip Rivers, Andrew Luck, Dree Brees, Matt Ryan and Jared Goff. Rodgers hasn't performed at that level. Rodgers is going to face tremendous inside pressure from the Vikings' defensive line and he doesn't have quality guards to protect him. He's also down several of his receivers, including Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison and possibly Jimmy Graham, who has a broken thumb. The Packers are thin defensively especially at safety. Green Bay also is without its best defensive player, tackle Mike Daniels. Kirk Cousins has the weapons to take advantage with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Look for Dalvin Cook to have a big game, too, now that he's healthy. Green Bay's run defense really goes downhill minus Daniels.
|11-25-18||Steelers -3 v. Broncos||17-24||Loss||-105||125 h 55 m||Show|
I'm not so sure this a flat spot that some envision here for the Steelers. Pittsburgh was flat for nearly the entire game last week on the road against the Jaguars, yet still pulled out a victory. That might be a wake-up call for the Steelers because talent-wise there is no comparison between these two teams. So I'm going to ride the Steelers at a line I'm surprised opened so low. There is no comparison in the offenses. The Steelers are one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. The Broncos are below average with a below average quarterback and an injury ravaged offensive line. Pittsburgh's defense has come on holding its past seven foes to an average of fewer than 16 points a game while leading the NFL in sacks with 37. The Steelers should dominate the Broncos' beat-up offensive line.
|11-25-18||Jaguars -3 v. Bills||21-24||Loss||-110||122 h 43 m||Show|
As toxic and unappealing as the Jaguars are, they still are a field goal better than the Bills. Buffalo likely gets Josh Allen back, but he's no savior but just a turnover-prone rookie. The Bills have one of the worst offenses of all-time. Buffalo put up 41 points on the Jets in its last game and still ranks LAST in scoring at 13.7 points a game and second-to-last in yards. The Jaguars defense isn't lacking in talent. They have elite players and should be able to come up with takeaways against the punchless Bills, who rank last in passing yards. Buffalo has failed to break the 13-point barrier in seven of its 10 games. Blake Bortles remains a quarterback without a passing touch, but he does have the splendid Leonard Fournette to take the load off him and set up play-action.
|11-25-18||Seahawks v. Panthers -3||30-27||Loss||-125||121 h 14 m||Show|
I want the Panthers going for me when they are at home especially with a low line against a mediocre opponent. The Panthers have won their last 10 home games, including all five this season. They are 8-2 ATS in those 10 games. Carolina averages 35.5 points at home, which is 15.5 points more per game than they average on the road. Cam Newton has better weapons this season and is playing well. Seattle's defense is way down from past seasons and its offense is below average at nearly every position except quarterback. The Seahawks have gone back to being run-oriented. Carolina, though, ranks eighth in run defense and has tremendously athletic linebackers to stop Wilson's short passes.
|11-25-18||Giants v. Eagles OVER 47||22-25||Push||0||25 h 29 m||Show|
Look for a shootout in this matchup. The Eagles' secondary is decimated. How decimated? They are down their top FIVE cornerbacks. The Saints took advantage to pile up 48 points and 546 yards last week against Philadelphia. Yes that was the Saints. Still, 545 yards is 545 yards. Eli Manning is playing better thanks to a revamped offensive line and skill position superstars Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley, who had 229 rushing/receiving yards in the first meeting between the two teams when the Eagles were far healthier on defense. Carson Wentz was rounding into top shape. The Eagles just got steamrolled by the Saints, who are playing better than any team in the NFL right now. Wentz should be in line for a big performance against a gutted Giants defense that weakened its run defense by trading Damon Harrison. Wentz has very good receiving weapons that were upgraded with Golden Tate coming to Philadelphia. Josh Adams has upgraded the Eagles' ground attack.
|11-22-18||Falcons +13 v. Saints||Top||17-31||Loss||-105||56 h 20 m||Show|
At 4-6, the Falcons are on life support. They are in must-win mode while the Saints are on cruise control. Normally the home team has a huge edge on Thursday games. But the Falcons are familiar with their division rival and this isn't a long trip. The Saints nipped the Falcons, 43-37, in overtime back in Week 3. I see the same back-and-forth type offensive fireworks in the rematch. Drew Brees is having another brilliant season, but so is Matt Ryan, who threw for five touchdowns in the first meeting. As geat as the Saints have been this season, they are 0-4 ATS the past two yers when laying nine or more points.
|11-18-18||Vikings +3 v. Bears||Top||20-25||Loss||-125||131 h 40 m||Show|
Coming off their bye, the Vikings have gotten healthier on defense and their defense is coming on ranking in the top-five during their past four games.Minnesota is close to full strength now and has Dalvin Cook back to provide a home run threat on offense, which it was lacking before. Cook's dangerous presence can mitigate the Bears' pass rush because of his value as a receiving back. Kirk Cousins rates a strong edge on Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears also are unstable at kicker with Cody Parkey missing four kicks last Sunday, including two extra points. The Vikings took care of their kicking issues by signing highly accurate and reliable Dan Bailey.
|11-18-18||Eagles +9.5 v. Saints||7-48||Loss||-120||87 h 57 m||Show|
The Eagles can hang with the Saints. Philadelphia's losses this season have come by an average of 4.4 points. Only once in their last 31 games have the Eagles lost by more than seven points. This is a pivotal game for the Eagles, trailing the Redskins by two games in the NFC East Division. The Saints, on the other hand, are fat and happy sitting at 8-1. Drew Brees is having another outstanding season, but Carson Wentz can hang with him. Wentz is back healthy. He's thrown two or more touchdowns in his last six games. The Eagles' offense is improved with the addition of Golden Tate and their defense is better than New Orleans. The Saints rank 24th defensively in points allowed and yards given up. New Orleans also suffered a key injury last week losing offensive let tackle Terron Armstead to a shoulder injury.
|11-18-18||Broncos v. Chargers -7||23-22||Loss||-105||126 h 27 m||Show|
The Chargers have been playing extremely well. They are a bit below the radar considering they are 16-5 SU, 13-8 ATS in their last 21 games. They are 7-1 in their last eight games at their temporary home at StubHub Center. Philip Rivers quietly has put together an MVP-caliber season with the third-highest passer rating in the league at 115.4 and a 21-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. One of the trademarks of the Broncos under Vance Joseph is their horrendous road record. Denver is 2-9 SU, 3-8 ATS under Joseph in away games. Case Keenum has had problems on the road. He has been sacked 14 times and turned the ball over eight times in Denver's four away matchups this season.
|11-18-18||Raiders v. Cardinals -4.5||23-21||Loss||-114||29 h 27 m||Show|
The Raiders are introducing a new thing to the NFL, something bottom feeders in the NBA have been doing for a long time: Tanking. Oakland can get away with this because its coach, Jon Gruden, is armed with a 10-year contract and enormous power. It's actually in the best interest of the Raiders to do their best to secure the No. 1 overall draft pick and set themselves up for down the road when they move to Las Vegas to start over because they sure aren't doing anything this season. The Raiders are historically bad. How bad? They have lost five straight games by two touchdowns or more. If they lose by a two-touchdown margin to the Cardinals they will tie the longest streak for those type of losses since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The flip side of this is the Cardinals are a play-on team against this opponent. The Cardinals' offense has improved since Byron Leftwich became the offensive coordinator a couple of weeks ago. Josh Rosen is flashing now and David Johnson looks like the stud back of two years ago with the Cardinals doing a better job of getting him in space and making sure he gets a lot of touches. The Raiders rank 30th in run defense and give up the third-most points per game in the NFL at 30.2. The Raiders can't protect Derek Carr, who has become nothing more than a dink-and-dunk passer lacking playmakers. The Cardinals rank sixth in sacks. They should dominate a porous Oakland offensive line. Chandler Jones is a premier pass rusher. The Cardinals can be counted on for a good effort. They want to deliver their home fans a strong showing. The Raiders can't even be relied upon to try these days espcially in a non-conference matchup.
|11-18-18||Texans -142 v. Redskins||23-21||Win||100||123 h 21 m||Show|
The Texans come in off their bye to face a Redskins team that lacks dynamic skill position players and is down three starting offensive linemen, including both of their guards and star left tackle Trent Williams. Houston should easily win the line of scrimmage with J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney potentially dominating. Washington was extremely fortunate to get past the self-destructing Buccaneers last week. The Redskins were outgained by 215 yards. The Texans have won their last three road games. DeShaun Watson and Lamar Miller are playing better. DeAndre Hopkins is in the argument for best wide receiver in football and now he's joined by Demaryious Thomas, who has shown renewed life since joining Houston. I just don't believe the Redskins are any good. This is a spot to fade them with the superior team.
|11-15-18||Packers v. Seahawks -133||Top||24-27||Win||100||75 h 57 m||Show|
The Packers aren't very good - 7-13 in their last 20 games - are shorthanded in the secondary and traveling on a short week. Green Bay has yet to win a road game losing to the Patriots, Rams, Lions and Redskins. Seattle has become a strong rushing team averaging 5.3 yards rushing per carry during its last five games. Russell Wilson is even more dangerous when backed by a strong running attack. Aaron Rodgers doesn't have his past receiving weapons and isn't 100 percent. His mobility is impacted by a knee brace. He no longer can carry a sub-par team by himself.
|11-12-18||Giants +3.5 v. 49ers||27-23||Win||100||10 h 53 m||Show|
Now that there is film on Nick Mullens, I don't see him performing like he did last Thursday when he sparked the 49ers to an easy win against the Raiders. He is a limited player with flaws. That nationally televised game has caused this line to be inflated. The Giants are better than the Raiders and aren't tanking. This nationally televised game is a chance to give them some redemption. I expect an all out effort from the Giants.Eli Manning actually can have a good game facing such a beat-up and vulnerable secondary. The Giants have by far the two best skilled position players in Saquan Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr.
|11-11-18||Dolphins v. Packers OVER 47||Top||12-31||Loss||-110||38 h 5 m||Show|
I have no doubt the Packers are going to get their points here. Until beating the punchless Jets last week, the Dolphins had surrendered an average of 33.4 points and 175.6 yards rushing during their past five games. Aaron Rodgers can beat the Dolphins passing and Aaron Jones, who averages an NFL-best 6.0 yards per carry, can hurt a Miami run defense that ranks 28th. Just two games ago, DeShaun Watson threw five touchdown passes for the Texans in a 42-23 victory against the Dolphins. Houston has not broken 20 points during their four other games in this five-week span. The key question is how many points can the Dolphins score knowing Brock Osweiler is their quarterback another week? I hate Osweiler. But Green Bay's defense isn't very good and Osweiler has several playmakers. If you discount the Bills and their all-time bad offense, the Packers have given up in their last six games 29, 31, 31, 30, 29 and 31 points. That's being consistent as in consistently bad.
|11-11-18||Redskins v. Bucs -150||16-3||Loss||-150||35 h 43 m||Show|
I can't see the Redskins keeping up with the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay has a dynamic passing attack leading the NFL in passing yards and ranking No. 2 in total yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick has a deep receiving group of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate to put up outstanding numbers, which he has done this season. Few teams can match the quality of Tampa Bay's receiving group. The Redskins are just the opposite on offense. They are an outdated ground-and-pound team with a dink-and-dunk quarterback and second-stringers dotting nearly their entire offensive line. The Redskins are down both of their starting guards and left tackle Trent Williams, their best offensive lineman. They may also be without their starting right tackle. Also out is Chris Thompson, who is their best pass-catching running back and lone dynamic skill position player. The Redskins have failed to break the 20-point barrier in four of their last five games. They are averaging 19.2 points during this span - and that's before losing Williams along with starting guards Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao. Wide receiver Paul Richardson also is out and Adrian Peterson is battling a shoulder injury. Alex Smith needs multiple weapons to succeed. He doesn't have them. Tampa Bay's defense is better with its star lineman Gerald McCoy healthy. This is that rare matchup when a last-place 3-5 team does deserve to be favored against a 5-3 first-place team.
|11-11-18||Saints v. Bengals +6||51-14||Loss||-105||35 h 42 m||Show|
The Saints are a very good team. That's evident by them winning their last seven games. But they are not some dominant powerhouse and they are facing a very difficult situation in this matchup. Cincinnati is home and rested having just had their bye. The Saints are coming off their most impressive victory of the season, a home win against the previously unbeaten Rams. Up next for the Saints is a home game against the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles. This is a huge flat spot for them against a nonconference opponent on what is an off-surface for them being outdoors. The Bengals have a good history in these instances being 9-2 ATS at home versus above .500 road foes. If you recall their two games before the Rams, the Saints were lucky to win both. They got past the Ravens when Baltimore missed an extra point that would have forced overtime and took advantage of two crucial turnovers to beat the Vikings despite being outgained by 150 yards. The Saints also were fortunte to nip the Browns on a late field goal, 21-18. The Browns could have forced overtime by making a 52-yard field goal at the end of regulation. Oh, yes, the Saints' lone loss came to Tampa Bay. The Browns and Buccaneers are a combined 5-11. Cincinnati won't have its star wideout, A.J. Green. But the Bengals have other weapons, including breakout star wide receiver Tyler Boyd. Andy Dalton is on pace for a career-high in TD passes and the Bengals entered their bye week ranked first in red zone percentage touchdowns.
|11-11-18||Cardinals v. Chiefs OVER 49.5||14-26||Loss||-105||35 h 41 m||Show|
Nobody has stopped the Chiefs offense yet. Arizona isn't going to be the first. Kansas City leads the NFL in points per game at 36.3. The Chiefs have scored 30 or more points in eight of their nine games. Patrick Mahomes is the first-half MVP and he's going to get plenty of help from running back Kareem Hunt, who goes against the Cardinals' 31st-ranked run defense. The Cardinals offense showed life with the switch to Byron Leftwich as their new offensive coordinator. The Cardinals scored 15 points in the fourth quarter of their last game in an 18-15 victory against the 49ers. Rookie Josh Rosen set a career high in completions with 23 and in passing yards with 252 while throwing for two touchdowns. Arizona was idle last week giving Leftwich even more time to tweak and make changes to the Cardinals' offense while allowing Larry Fitzgerald to get fully healthy. Look for Leftwich to provide max protection for Rosen in an effort to improve the Cardinals' passing game while also getting David Johnson more involved in space through screen passes and outside runs, something the Cardinals were not doing enough earlier in the season.
|11-11-18||Lions +7.5 v. Bears||22-34||Loss||-135||35 h 39 m||Show|
Sitting two games behind the Bears and Vikings in the NFC North Division, the Lions desperately need to win this game. They should play with a strong sense of urgency. So the effort should be there. I like getting this many points in this division rivalry. The Lions have owned the Bears beating them nine of the last 10 times, including the past three. Chicago is much improved this season. But the Lions have the superior quarterback. That's huge. The Bears rely first on their ground attack. Detroit's ranks 30th in run defense. The Lions, however, have improved their rush defense after trading for defensive lineman Damon Harrison. If you discount a 70-yard run by Dalvin Cook, the Lions would have held the Vikings to 58 yards rushing on 22 carries for a 2.6 yard average last Sunday. This line is inflated because Matthew Stafford was sacked 10 times in the Lions' 24-9 road loss to the Vikings. That sack figure is an outlier, though, as in their previous seven games the Lions allowed just 13 sacks, an average of fewer than two per game. Line value, quarterback, history and sense of urgency are all on the Lions' side here.
|11-08-18||Panthers v. Steelers -3.5||Top||21-52||Win||100||80 h 57 m||Show|
The Steelers are playing their finest ball winning and covering their last four games. Carolina is at a severe disadvantage being the visitor for this Thursday game. The Panthers have a below average passing statistics. They are vulnerable to Ben Roethlisberger, who has a strong history of playing much better at home. James Connor has more than filled in well for holdout Le'Veon Bell providing the Steelers with a balanced attack. The Panthers lack the Steelers' strong downfield passing game. Pittsburgh ranks tied for third in the AFC in sacks. Cam Newton is not an accurate passer and will be under a heavy pass rush.
|11-05-18||Titans v. Cowboys OVER 39.5||Top||28-14||Win||100||12 h 2 m||Show|
In today's NFL where all the rules are skewed toward offense a total like this is just too low unless you are the Jets, Bills or Dolphins quarterbacked by Brock Osweiler. The Titans and Cowboys are none of the above teams. Dallas' offense actually is respectable now that it has a lead wide receiver in Amari Cooper. The Cowboys average 28.6 points at home. Dallas put up 40 points on Jacksonville during its last home game. The Jaguars have a better defense than Tenneseee. Ezekiel Elliott is a top-five running back. Dak Prescott is a highly mobile quarterback. The Titans have a below average run defense ranking 19th. Both teams are rested and have had ample time to add wrinkles to their offense having been idle last week. The Titans' offense has been disappointing. That should start to change as Marcus Mariota has gotten healthy discarding a glove he had been wearing on his throwing hand due to numbness. The Cowboys are down one of their key pass rushers with David Irving sideined with an ankle injury. Mariota is not a good downfield thrower, but he like Prescott is extremely mobile and he has a dangerous dump-off back to throw to in Dion Lewis. Titans first-year head coach Mike Vrabel has already established himself as a gambler, a foolish one so far. But a gambler nevertheless, which is another plus for the Over.
|11-04-18||Packers v. Patriots OVER 56||Top||17-31||Loss||-109||33 h 17 m||Show|
Neither defense can stop the other team's offense. The Packers played perhaps their finest defensive game of the season last week against the Rams yet still surrendered 29 points, which could been 36 points if Todd Gurley didn't fall down right before the goal line at the end of the game.
Now the Packers go from West to East to face another high-powered offense and a better quarterback, Tom Brady. Look for Rob Gronkowski and Sony Michel to play giving Brady his full arsenal of weapons. Until beating the Bills 25-6 on the road this past Monday, the Patriots were averaging 39.2 points in their last four games. Green Bay lacks the pass rushers, coverage linebackers and secondary to get stops against Brady.
The Packers traded away safety Ha Ha Clinton Dixon this week for a draft choice. Dixon wasn't an All-Pro, but he was a steady force on Green Bay's defense having played all but three snaps during his five seasons. His departure leaves Kentrell Brice, who is below average, as the only experienced safety. Brady is sure to exploit this. So, too, with Gronkowski.
Aaron Rodgers can hurt a Patriots defense that is only good when cripple shooting bad quarterbacks in their weak AFC East Division. New England gave up an average of 30.2 points to the Jaguars, Colts. Lions and Chiefs.
|11-04-18||Steelers +3 v. Ravens||23-16||Win||100||26 h 58 m||Show|
These teams are heading in different directions. Pittsburgh is coming on winning its past three games, all by seven or more points. The Steelers are averaging 34 points in their last three games. James Conner has made everyone not miss Le'Veon Bell. Pittsburgh's defense has improved, too, holding foes to 18.3 points in the last three games. Baltimore, by contrast, has dropped three of its last four. Joe Flacco has regressed to where he was last season - terrible. The Ravens also have a cluster injury problem in their offensive line with both of their starting tackles out. Losing left tackle Ronnie Stanley is a huge below-the-radar injury. It means Jermaine Eluemunor will be making his first NFL start. The Steelers' pass rush has come on to rank seventh in sack ratio and second in quarterback hits. Flacco, more than most quarterbacks, gets rattled under pressure. The Steelers have a monster skill posiiton edge with Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Conner. This is one of the most fierce rivalries in the NFL. The Steelers have short revenge for a home loss to the Ravens five weeks ago. The Steelers are the fresher team having had their bye just two weeks ago. Baltimore doesn't get its bye until after this game.
|11-04-18||Falcons +2.5 v. Redskins||38-14||Win||100||26 h 56 m||Show|
I've been looking to fade the Redskins - and this is the spot to do it. Washington has won three in a row. The Redskins don't have a good history, though, under Jay Gruden of following a win with a good performance being 4-10 ATS after winning in their previous game. The Redskins are an average team at best with a below average quarterback in Alex Smith. Washington's style is run the ball with Adrian Peterson and play stout run defense. The Falcons are not a good opponent for that style to work. Matt Ryan is having a strong season. He's riding a 13-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his last five games. He has thrown for more than 350 yards in four of those five games. Ryan rates a huge edge on Smith, who rarely completes downfield passes. Ryan challenges secondaries. Smith doesn't. The Falcons are off a bye. They've had ample weeks to patch up their battered defense. The Redskins lack the dynamic offense to take advantage. Washington also will be without its best offensive lineman with left tackle Trent Williams out following surgery on his thumb.
|11-04-18||Chiefs v. Browns UNDER 52.5||37-21||Loss||-110||26 h 55 m||Show|
The Browns' offense was a mess with Hue Jackson and Todd Haley in charge of it. It remains a mess now that both Jackson and Haley are gone.They have no experienced play-caller with Jackson and Haley both sacked. This makes it rough on rookie Baker Mayfield. Kansas City's defense has looked better the past couple of weeks. Cleveland has a respectable defense that plays better at home. The Browns have held three of their four home opponents to 21 points or fewer. The Chiefs are coming off their lowest offensive output of the season picking up 340 yards against Denver last week. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was elevated to interim coach replacing Jackson. He's a defensive guy who will do anything not to get embarrassed by the Chiefs' high-powered offense in his Browns head coaching debut. Under Williams, the Browns are leading the NFL with 22 takeaways, including 12 interceptions. Cleveland has come up with two or more takeaways in seven of its eight games. The Chiefs defense has stepped up to average two takeaways during their last five games. There also is a weather element to this matchup. The forecast is for clear skies and temperatures in the low 50s, but with wind blowing in the 13-15 mph range.
|11-01-18||Raiders +3 v. 49ers||Top||3-34||Loss||-103||49 h 54 m||Show|
Jon Gruden is desperate for a victory and he has a chance to achieve that in this nationally televised Thursday night matchup. As bad as the Raiders have been, the 49ers have even a worse record. The 49ers also are one of the most banged-up teams in the NFL. The Raiders have a huge quarterback edge with Derek Carr. This edge would be even greater if C.J. Beathard is a scratch because of a wrist injury. That would make second-year undrafted free agent Nick Mullens the 49ers' starting quarterback. Carr is coming off a four touchdown performance against the Cowboys and has regained his confidence. Usually it's a huge disadvantage to be the road team in the Thursday matchup. But it's different here because Oakland and San Francisco are just a little more than 12 miles apart. So travel isn't an issue for the visiting Raiders. It's the 49ers who are hurt the most by the short week because of their long injury list.
|10-28-18||Saints v. Vikings -107||30-20||Loss||-107||76 h 54 m||Show|
It's not too much to ask the Vikings to win this game. The Saints have won five in a row. However, they beat the Falcons in overtime and were lucky to nip the Ravens by one point last week. This marks the fourth time in their last five games the Saints are playing on the road, too. Minnesota has one of the top homefields in the NFL covering 70 percent of its last 52 home games. The Vikings hold a strong edge on defense and Kirk Cousins, who is having an excellent season, has better wide receiving and tight end weapons with Adam Thielen, Stefan Diggs and Kyle Rudolph. The Saints are due for a loss - and it comes here.
|10-28-18||49ers +1 v. Cardinals||Top||15-18||Loss||-109||127 h 40 m||Show|
There are degrees of being pathetic. The Cardinals are more pathetic than the 49ers. At least San Francisco is well-coached, plays hard all the time and doesn't have nearly the dissension and lack of confidence Arizona has. This is a huge revenge game for the 49ers. They lost to the Cardinals just three weeks ago, 28-18. The 49ers outgained the Cardinals by 227 yards, but cost themselves by committing five turnovers. C.J. Beathard is one of the better backup quarterbacks. I would take him operating behind Kyle Shanahan's sharp schemes and decent receivers, including emerging star tight end George Kittle, than rookie Josh Rosen, who has a horrible offensive line and declining skill position players. It's not a fluke the Cardianls are last in yards gained per game and last in run defense. They are the worst team in the NFC.
|10-28-18||Browns v. Steelers -8||18-33||Win||100||123 h 29 m||Show|
The Browns couldn't beat the Steelers opening week despite coming up with six takeaways. Cleveland surely isn't going to beat the Steelers now when Pittsburgh is home and rested following a bye. Cleveland is tired and demoralized having played three overtime games in the last four weeks, including last Sunday in the high heat and humidity of central Florida losing on a late field goal. The Steelers has gotten into gear. They are averaging nearly 35 points during their last two games. The Browns have surrendered at least 26 points in three of their past four games and have key defensive injuries, including one to linebacker Joe Schobert. Cleveland last won at Heinz Field in 2003. The Browns have lost 24 consecutive road games. They are 4-10-1 ATS during their past 15 away matchups. The Browns remain as poorly coached as ever under Hue Jackson.
|10-28-18||Broncos v. Chiefs -10||23-30||Loss||-109||122 h 42 m||Show|
You can't stop the Chiefs. You can only hope to contain them and Denver can't do that. The Chiefs offense is clicking on all cylinders behing Andy Reid's sharp designs and second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who clearly is in the argument for MVP with eye-popping statistics such as 22 touchdown passes in seven games. The Chiefs have covered every one of their seven games. I don't expect that streak to stop here. Vance Joseph is dead man walking. He can't coach. The Broncos' defense isn't as good as perceived and their offense could be making a quarterback change soon as Case Keenum hasn't come close to repeating his magical 2017 season. Kansas City's defense is improving and is tough at home surrendering an average of only 12 points during its past two games at Arrowhead Stadium. It's an added bonus if Justin Houston and Eric Berry return this week.
|10-28-18||Eagles -3 v. Jaguars||Top||24-18||Win||100||141 h 25 m||Show|
Neither the Eagles nor Jaguars have played up to expectations this season. Both are coming off surprising home losses. I trust the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles far more than the Jaguars to bounce back in this London game. Carson Wentz is rounding into shape nearing upper-tier status again. He has far better weapons with Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz than the Jaguars have especially when they remain without Leonard Fournette. Jacksonville is playing its worst ball having lost three in a row. The Jaguars defense isn't as good as it was last season. They aren't getting takeaways to set up their offense. Jacksonville's offense is a total mess because it doesn't have a quality starting quarterback. The Jaguars have produced just 28 points during their last three games. Neither turnover-prone Blake Bortles, nor weak-armed, checkdown passer Cody Kessler is the answer at quarterback. The Eagles are the much more balanced team solid on both sides of the ball. The Jaguars are held hostage by their horrendous quarterback play. They don't have a quarterback on their roster who can fix the problem.
|10-21-18||Bengals v. Chiefs -6||10-45||Win||100||10 h 18 m||Show|
Look for the Patrick Mahomes scorched earth policy to continue against the Bengals. Cincinnati, ranked 29th in total defense and 28th in passing defense, can't stop Mahomes and the high-flying Kansas City offense that ranks No. 2 in the NFL in scoring at 35.8 points per game. Andy Dalton can't keep up, especially on the road. Mahomes has an 18-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Dalton has seven interceptions. The teams met during their second preseason game, which was in Cincinnati. Mahomes played for two drives and was unstoppable. He led KC to touchdowns on both drives throwing for two touchdown passes while compiling a 127.4 passer rushing.
|10-21-18||Saints v. Ravens -135||24-23||Loss||-135||127 h 13 m||Show|
Baltimore has the best defense in the NFL. The Ravens rank No. 1 in scoring defense giving up 12.8 points a game and they are No. 1 in permitting the fewest yards per game at 270.8. This defense is at its best at home. The Saints are flying high at 4-1. They've had the luxury of playing mediocre-to-horrendous defenses lighting up the Buccaneers, Falcons, Giants and Redskins. Yet they only managed 21 points against Cleveland at home. The Browns gave up 45 points to the Raiders three weeks ago and 38 points this past Sunday at home to the Chargers. Point being that the Saints are stepping way up in class facing this caliber of defense. Drew Brees is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. No argument there. But his numbers never have been as good away from the Louisiana Superdome. The Saints are going from their indoor fast track to a grass field. The Ravens' secondary has gone from solid to very good with the return of cornerback Jimmy Smith. I'm not a fan of Joe Flacco. But he's had a strong bounce back season and has the receiving targets to take advantage of a Saints defense that has shown regression and may be without their top cornerback, Marshon Lattimore. He's questionable with a concussion. The Saints were idle last week. They are a rhythm offense so I look at that as more of a negative. I project the Saints to really struggle offensively and to be out of sync trying to cope with a fierce Ravens pass rush, a strong Baltimore linebacking group headed by reliable C.J. Mosley and emerging star Za'Darius Smith and a pass defense that rates No. 2 in the league.
|10-21-18||Saints v. Ravens UNDER 50||24-23||Win||100||127 h 55 m||Show|
The Saints have a very strong offense. But New Orleans is going to have problems playing on the road against the best defense in the NFL. Baltimore is strong in all defensive phases. That's why the Ravens are ranked first in fewest points and yards allowed. The Ravens defense is especially intimidating at home. This is an off-surface, too, for the Saints. They are at their best in their temperature-controlled indoor stadium. Now they are going to be on a slower grass field. Baltimore isn't a fancy offensive team. They milk clock and set up field goals for Justin Tucker, who I regard as the best kicker in all of football. This total opened too high based in part on the Saints' offensive reputation.
|10-21-18||Vikings -3 v. Jets||Top||37-17||Win||100||125 h 0 m||Show|
Some people are scared of road favorites in the NFL. This is a prime example of why you should not be afraid. The Vikings are vastly superior to the Jets. Minnesota started the season slow, but is starting to come on. The Vikings' defense is returning to their dominant ways. They have the pass rushers to overwhelm the Jets' mediocre offensive line and the veteran secondary that can cause rookie Sam Darnold problems. Darnold will be without his favorite receiver, too, with Quincy Enunwa out with an ankle injury. Kirk Cousins is having an excellent season, Adam Thielen may be the most reliable wide receiver in the NFL. He's the only one this season who has had 100 plus receiving yards in every game. The Vikings also got their ground game last week. It could be bolstered if Dalvin Cook is ready to return. The Vikings' offensive line is improving. It can hold their own against the Jets' defensive line. The Jets are stepping up in class after having faced the Broncos and Colts. I also give a strong checkmark to the Vikings in coaching with Mike Zimmer over Todd Bowles.
|10-21-18||Texans v. Jaguars -4.5||Top||20-7||Loss||-105||125 h 34 m||Show|
Jacksonville still has a top-two caliber defense. The Jaguars still have their same defensive players. They just haven't been getting the huge number of takeaways and sacks they did last season. That should start to change with this matchup. DeShaun Watson isn't having the season he had last year before he got hurt. A big reason for that is he is operating behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. The Texans can't protect Watson. He's already heavily beat-up. Watson doesn't have a run game to fall back on either. The Jaguars are going to be super-fired up returning home after embarrassing road losses to the Chiefs and Cowboys. Blake Bortles didn't play well in those games. Bortles remains highly inconsistent. He won't have to win this game, though, because the Jaguars' defense will dominate. Bortles will be able to pick his spots against a weak secondary and with an underrated receiving corps. The Texans are very poorly coached. They could be 0-6 instead of 3-3. In the last three weeks, they've beaten the Colts in overtime on a bad coaching decision by Indy, nipped the Cowboys at home in overtime and were tied 13-13 with the Bills at home until getting an interception return for a touchdown against backup Nathan Peterman with 1:23 left to pull out that game. Houston is 1-10 ATS in its last 11 games. That's a clear indication about the coaching ability of Bill O'Brien.
|10-15-18||49ers v. Packers -9.5||Top||30-33||Loss||-105||86 h 0 m||Show|
This spot sets up well for Green Bay. The Packers are off a bad road loss to the Lions. Green Bay is frustrated. The Packers have a bye the following week so they are going to hold nothing back in front of national TV audience at home. There will be a strong sense of urgency for the Packers in this matchup, something that has been lacking from them. They need to keep pace in the competitive NFC North Division and will not come out flat.The 49ers play hard for Kyle Shanahan, but their defense has many holes and their offense is shot without Jimmy Garoppolo and multiple injuries at running back, wide receiver and in the offensive line. The Packers have a good defensive line and their secondary is much improved. C.J. Beathard doesn't have nearly the talent to keep trading points with Aaron Rodgers.
|10-14-18||Chiefs v. Patriots -3||40-43||Push||0||148 h 22 m||Show|
This is a monster revenge spot for the Patriots. They were stunned by the Chiefs at home opening week of last season. The Patriots won't be taken by surprise this time by the Chiefs. New England has a better defense than Kansas City. The Patriots' offense also has come around with Julian Edelman back from suspension and Josh Gordon starting to make an impact. The Patriots are on extra rest, too, having played last Thursday. New England has covered 71 percent of its last 51 home games.
|10-14-18||Bucs v. Falcons -3||29-34||Win||100||141 h 23 m||Show|
At 1-4, the Falcons are playing for their season. They absolutely can not take a home loss here to the lowly Buccaneers, who when last spotted were losing 48-10 to the Bears on the road. Injuries have ruined the Falcons' defense. But they still have the offense to pile up big points, especially going against a terrible Tampa Bay defense that ranks in the bottom-two in yards and points given up per game. Matt Ryan is playing at a high level despite the Falcons' disappointing record. He has thrown nine touchdown passes in the last three weeks with no interceptions. Devonta Freeman is back healthy and rookie Calvin Ridley has emerged to be another huge receiving threat to go with Julio Jones. Jameis Winston is back at quarterback for the Bucs. Winston doesn't have a ground attack, though, and has turned the ball over more than any other NFC quarterback during the last three years.
|10-14-18||Steelers +2 v. Bengals||28-21||Win||100||49 h 15 m||Show|
There is a perception that the Steelers aren't very good on the road. That's not true. Pittsburgh is 7-0-1 in its eight road matchups. The Steelers are starting to come on, too, especially their defense, which has underperformed. I'm usually attracted to the better team in an underdog role, which is the case here. Ben Roethlisberger is a far superior quarterback to Andy Dalton and he has the more potent weapons. The Bengals and Dalton have been playing above their heads. Dalton still turns the ball over. He has seven interceptions and will be without his top red zone target, tight end, Tyler Eifert, and reliable backup running back Giovanni Bernard. Emerging second-year wideout John Ross may still also be out. Pittsburgh has owned the Bengals recently winning the past six times and eight of the last nine meetings. This includes four consecutive victories at Paul Brown Stadium.
|10-14-18||Colts +2.5 v. Jets||34-42||Loss||-109||49 h 14 m||Show|
The Colts are getting back a number of their key injured players. The Jets are in a flat spot. Andrew Luck trumps Sam Darnold and the Jets offense. That in a nutshell is why I like the underdog Colts. Indy is in must-win mode being 1-4. The Colts have been in each game, though, and actually could be 3-2 with better circumstances. The teams last met two seasons ago and Luck lit the Jets up throwing four touchdown passes in a 41-10 victory. Luck is close to being 100 percent again throwing for 829 yards and seven touchdowns during the last two weeks. The Colts are on extra rest having played last Thursday. Star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton still is likely out, but the Colts are expected to get back from injury star linebacker Darius Leonard, Anthony Walker Jr.,who is their second-best linebacker, top running back, Marlon Mack, and offensive left tackle Anthony Castonzo. Luck could catch a big break as the Jets' secondary could be down star cornerback Trumaine Johnson (quad injury) and cornerback Buster Skrine (concussion). The Jets are in letdown territory after their impressive 34-16 dismantling of the Broncos this past Sunday. The Jets' other victory came opening week versus the Lions. The Jets then went flat the following week losing to the Dolphins, 20-12, as three-point home favorites. Some of the Jets' attention could be focused on their defensive coordinator, Kacy Rodgers, who is fighting a serious illness and may miss a second consecutive game.
|10-14-18||Seahawks -2.5 v. Raiders||27-3||Win||100||49 h 12 m||Show|
Derek Carr isn't coming through for Jon Gruden and Gruden isn't coming through for the Raiders. If it wasn't for a bizarre replay reversal that took the game away from the road Browns two weeks ago, the Raiders would be winless. They have lost by eight, 16 and 20 points in three of their four defeats. Carr has the most interceptions in the NFL with eight. The Raiders have failed to break the 21-point barrier in all but one of their last 10 games. Their defense lacks speed and playmakers ranking 30th in total yards and defensive scoring while accumulating only six sacks in five games. The Seahawks, by contrast, are showing life. They nearly dealt the Rams their first loss, losing 33-31 last Sunday. The Seahawks have gotten healthier on defense and their ground attack has become revitalized averaging 180 yards rushing the past two games. Oakland has given up at least 140 yards rushing in three of its past five games. Russell Wilson gives Seattle a monster edge at quarterback. Wilson will be highly effective in play-action now that the Seahawks have their ground attack energized. Note this game is in London. That's a factor that favors the Seahawks. Seattle is 2-3 and still has playoff hopes. So this becomes a near must-win spot. The Seahawks are motivated. The Raiders aren't likely to travel well. They are demoralized and lack confidence knowing their talent is below average. This is turning into a lost season for the 1-4 Raiders. Gruden has lost much of his coaching mystique.
|10-07-18||Cowboys +3.5 v. Texans||16-19||Win||100||8 h 50 m||Show|
I consider Bill O'Brien a bottom-five coach. Anytime you have a coach that bad, especially in a favorite's role, the underdog is live. One of O'Brien's many faults is the way his team plays not to lose rather than win. This is reflected in the Texans failing to cover in eight of their last nine games. Their lone cover during this span was last Sunday when the Colts handed them the game by going for a fourth-and-four in overtime and failing to covert. The Texans also are 3-7 ATS the past 10 times when laying points in the regular season. Part of what makes O'Brien such a coaching underachiever is Houston has good talent. However, the Texans also have numerous flaws. DeShaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt have to play super games to cover up the Texans' porous offensive line, lack of a running game, poor tight end play and injury-ravaged secondary. I'm not expecting the Texans to have their No. 1 running back, Lamar Miller, either. The Cowboys aren't fancy. You know what they're going to do, which is feed Ezekiel Elliott, throw short, safe passes and rely on a well-coached defense to hang in. This is a proper game plan and should result in a close game if not an outright Dallas victory.
|10-07-18||Cardinals +4.5 v. 49ers||Top||28-18||Win||100||147 h 4 m||Show|
No, not without Jimmy Garoppolo can the 49ers lay this many points, especially given their battered condition. San Francisco is 1-11 in their last 12 games when Garoppolo hasn't been its starting quarterback. C.J. Beathard is back behind center with Garoppolo done for the season. The 49ers also are without tailback Jerick McKinnon and maybe their best offensive lineman as Joe Staley was injured this past Sunday. The Cardinals are 0-4, the lone remaining winless team in the NFL. They are desperate for a victory. The 49ers haven't defeated the Cardinals since Jim Harbaugh was their coach. Arizona has improved each week. The Cardinals lost at the gun, 20-17, to the Seahawks this past Sunday and were leading the Bears with under five minutes left two weeks ago before losing, 16-14. The Cardinals are far more competive with rookie Josh Rosen at quarterback rather than timid Sam Bradford. Rosen played a good game against the Seahawks in his first NFL start. He was 15-of-27 for 180 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions. He had completions to seven different receivers. His statistics would have looked better if not for five dropped passes. Rosen faces a 49ers defense that lacks edge pass rushers and has multiple injuries to their secondary.
|10-07-18||Raiders v. Chargers -4.5||10-26||Win||100||52 h 27 m||Show|
The Chargers don't get injured Joey Bosa back yet, but defensive lineman Corey Liuget returns from suspension. That's a big plus for the Chargers' defense. The Chargers' defense is better than it has shown having gone up against the Chiefs and Rams, the two best offenses in the NFL. Certainly the Chargers are going to put up big points on a very bad Raiders defense. Philip Rivers is having another big season with multiple touchdown passes in every game this season. LA is a top-10 scoring and yardage team. The Raiders rank 31st in scoring defense allowing nearly 31 points a game. Oakland is last in sacks and quarterback hits. Rivers is going to have plenty of time in the pocket to pick and choose. Making it worse for the Raiders is a fatigue factor. They wore down in Miami's humidity two weeks ago and last Sunday had to go overtime to beat the Browns at home. Baker Mayfield, making his NFL starting debut, picked the Raiders apart throwing for 295 yards and two touchdowns. That bodes well for Rivers. The Raiders were extremely fortunate to beat the Browns at home. They are a very bad team. Their defense has no playmakers with Khalil Mack gone. The Chargers beat the Raiders, 30-10, when they hosted them last season.
|10-07-18||Packers v. Lions +1||23-31||Win||100||49 h 16 m||Show|
Take away a miracle comeback against the Bears and the Packers would only have a win against Buffalo. The Packers were soundly whipped by a mediocre Redskins team two weeks ago when they last went on the road. Truth be told, Green Bay just isn't that good. The Packers should be taking points here not laying them, but their reputation precedes them. The Lions can take advantage of a work-in-progress Packers secondary that is starting rookie cornerback Josh Jackson and 35-year-old Tramon Williams with their trio of excellent wideouts. Kerryon Johnson has given the Lions a spark in the run game averaging more than six yards per carry during his last two games. So the Packers will have to respect the run something opponents have not had to do versus the Lions in past seasons. It's a tremendous step up for the Packers secondary and their weak-in-coverage linebackers going from Josh Allen at home to Matthew Stafford on the road inside a dome. Aaron Rodgers isn't likely to keep up. Not only is Rodgers far less than 100 percent, but Green Bay has a cluster injury problem at wide receiver. Davonte Adams, Geromino Allison and Randall Cobb are all banged-up. Those are the Packers' three top wideouts. They are backed up by rookies. Cobb definitely is out. The Lions are up-and-down, but they showed what they could do at home when they upset the Patriots in their last game at Ford Field.
|10-07-18||Packers v. Lions UNDER 51||23-31||Loss||-105||49 h 10 m||Show|
On paper this should be a shootout with Aaron Rodgers going against Matthew Stafford inside Detroit's fast track dome. The reality is different. Rodgers isn't 100 percent. His mobility and leg drive on his passes aren't the same. Green Bay also has a cluster injury problem at wide receiver. Slot man Randall Cobb is out. Davante Adams and Geromino Allison may not play either. Rodgers is going to have to rely on rookie wide receivers, which he hasn't had much success doing before. Detroit has a key injury on offense - and it's below-the-radar. Guard T.J. Lang suffered a head injury last week. He's the Lions' best offensive lineman. I doubt he plays because of concussion procedures. Kenny Wiggins replaced Lang and got swallowed up by the Cowboys. There is going to be more running than usual between these teams, which will keep the clock going. The Lions are more committed to running the ball this week. The Packers have to protect Rodgers and their inexperienced wide receivers by running a lot, too. The Lions rank last in run defense so the Packers have even more reason to stay on the ground.
|10-07-18||Jaguars +3 v. Chiefs||14-30||Loss||-117||49 h 4 m||Show|
Many props to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on their 4-0 record. But is Kansas City going undefeated? Heck no. The Chiefs have major flaws on defense and now they are facing the best defense in the NFL after opening against three sub-par defenses in the Chargers, Steelers and 49ers. Oh, yeah, the Chiefs also are in a terrible situational spot having just won a huge Monday night national TV game against division rival Denver in which they needed a stirring comeback to pull it off coming from 10 points down in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars give up the fewest points per game, yards and passing yards. They have the offense to put up points themselves when Blake Bortles plays well. I envision Bortles playing well against a porous Chiefs defense that is especially vulnerable against mobile quarterbacks such as Bortles. The Chiefs are weak, too, on pass defense and in defending against pass-catching running backs. Leonard Fournette is out for Jacksonville. But T.J. Yeldon is a capable of replacement and a much better receiving threat than Fournette. Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole are one the most underrated receiving tandems in the NFL. The Chiefs have surrendered 20 completions of at least 20 yards, which is the worst in the NFL. This is the right spot to fade the Chiefs in a letdown spot against a foe they do not match up well against.
|10-04-18||Colts v. Patriots -10||Top||24-38||Win||100||80 h 49 m||Show|
The Patriots have their swagger back after rolling past previously unbeaten Miami, 38-7, this past Sunday. It was an easy victory for New England. The Colts, though, are mentally and physically gassed after playing a full overtime and losing in heartbreak fashion to the Texans, 37-34, on Sunday. Indy's defense has played better than expected, but it is below average and wearing down. The Colts defense faced 77 plays against the Eagles two weeks ago and 84 plays on Thursday. Now the Colts have to travel on a short week to New England. It's a huge disadvantage. The Patriots may not have Rob Gronkowski , but they get back Julian Edelman from suspension. Josh Gordon should be at full speed, too. Tom Brady has the weapons to pile up points against the weary Colts even if Gronk doesn't play. The Colts need a full effort to be competitive because they lack the overall talent and experience being one of the youngest teams in the league. The Colts have a new coaching staff that still is trying to figure things out. An ill-advised fourth-and-four call from their own 44-yard line with 27 seconds left in overtime failed allowing the Texans to pull out the victory in what should have finished as a tie game. That could linger mentally with the Colts. Andrew Luck is working his way back from serious shoulder injury. Most of his passes are short. Luck has no ground attack, a porous offensive line that was without both starting tackles against the Texans and isn't expected to have his best wide receiver by far, T.Y. Hilton, nor his top tight end, Jack Doyle. The Patriots are 6-0 against the Colts since Peyton Manning left Indy. They are averaging 42.3 points against the Colts during this time span. Luck doesn't have the arm, weapons and protection time to keep pace with Brady.
|09-30-18||Ravens v. Steelers -3||26-14||Loss||-105||27 h 52 m||Show|
This is a tremendous rivalry with a history of close games. Only six times in the last 23 meetings has one team won by more than seven points. However, I'm not anticipating a close game here, clearly siding with Pittsburgh. The Steelers have won the past three get togethers with the Ravens with their average win margin being 7.3 points. Ben Roethlisberger is a top-five caliber quarterback when playing at home. He doesn't have Le'Veon Bell, but he does have Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is becoming an elite receiver. The Ravens defense can't stay with these two wideouts minus still suspended Jimmy Smith. A.J. Green exploited smallish Ravens cornerback Tavon Young scoring two touchdowns off him in Week 2. Brown and Smith-Schuster can do the same. The Ravens have one of the least efficient run offenses. The Steelers entered this week tied with the Cowboys for the second-most sacks with 11. I'm not a fan of Joe Flacco especially without a ground attack and being on hostile ground against a proficient pass rush unit.
|09-30-18||49ers v. Chargers OVER 47||Top||27-29||Win||100||144 h 40 m||Show|
Philip Rivers is having another strong season and has the weapons to dismantle a 49ers secondary that has a cluster injury problem with a number of players out, including Richard Sherman. The Chargers' defense isn't nearly as strong without pass rushing star Joey Bosa, who is not expected back for another few weeks. The 49ers will miss Jimmy Garappolo, but C.J. Beathard is a capable backup and will have an entire week to prepare. The 49ers have underrated skill position players, including running back Matt Breida. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is a master offensive coach. The 49ers will contribute their fair of points here and Rivers will shred San Francisco's vulnerable and battered secondary.
|09-30-18||Dolphins v. Patriots -6.5||7-38||Win||100||136 h 51 m||Show|
The Dolphins are a surprising 3-0. The Patriots have lost two in a row both on the road against the Jaguars and Lions. When was the last time the Patriots lost three straight regular season games under Bill Belichick? Try like never. Actually it occurred - back in 2002! I want the Patriots and Tom Brady going for me after they laid an egg on national television against Detroit Sunday night in a miserable performance. So I'm locking in now believing the line will become higher toward kickoff. Miami certainly deserves credit for its fast start. Ryan Tannehill is a huge improvement on Jay Cutler. Tannehill, though, is not an elite quarterback and Miami's overall talent is well below average. The Dolphins have hosted the Titans, whose quarterback Marcus Mariota wasn't 100 percent during the game, beat the Jets on the road when New York was on a short week following a huge road upset win against the Lions on a Monday night and took care of business this past Sunday versus the winless Raiders. The Dolphins are a bogus 3-0 team in search of a loss. It will come here. The Patriots have yet to get their offense fully going. That should change against this opponent and with Josh Gordon having had two weeks with the team. Gordon will provide a much needed outside threat that will allow better spacing for Rob Gronkowski. New England should get several key injured players back on defense. The Patriots have owned Miami in Foxboro winning the past nine times there, while going 7-2 ATS. They have won and covered the past five times. The matchup, spot and history all clearly point New England.
|09-30-18||Bucs v. Bears -3||10-48||Win||100||63 h 43 m||Show|
Ryan Fitzpatrick has had his moments in the sun. This won't be one of them. Not only have the Bears become an upper echelon defense with the addition of Khalil Mack, but they use a 3-4 alignment. Tampa Bay had not faced that type of defense until this past Monday when they hosted the Steelers. Fitzpatrick was under pressure on nearly half of his pass attempts. His passer rating for that game was 81.3 compared to 156.3 and 144.4 in his previous two starts. Fitzpatrick is a journeyman who doesn't have a ground game to fall back on. The Buccaneers rank 30th in rushing. I don't see Tampa Bay's offense doing much against the Bears. The spot is very bad, too, for the Buccaneers traveling on a short week after an exhausting Monday night effort when they rallied from a 30-10 deficit to lose 30-27. Mitchell Trubisky is a work-in-progress, but he has an outstanding runner, Jordan Howard, and several reliable receivers, including Allen Robinson and Trey Burton. Trubisky also is operating against one of the worst defenses in the NFL and one that has a cluster injury problem in the secondary. The Buccaneers rate last in pass defense, second-to-last in yards allowed and 29th in scoring defense yielding 30.3 points a game.
|09-30-18||Lions v. Cowboys -2.5||24-26||Loss||-130||63 h 42 m||Show|
The Lions are coming off a highly impressive nationally televised home win against the Patriots. I don't trust them to follow through on the road with another good performance. Dallas has one of the league's top defenses. One reason for this is coaching. I like the Dallas coaching staff to outwit talented but sometimes mistake-prone Matthew Stafford. The Cowboys have the pass rushers to bother Stafford. Dallas gives up fewer than 18 points per game and ranks third in fewest yards given up. The Cowboys defense is especially tough in the red zone, which is where the Lions can struggle. The problem for Dallas is offense. However, Ezekiel Elliott should be able to run on Detroit, which in turn will set up Dak Prescott. The Lions' linebackers are weak in coverage so Prescott should have success with his short passing style. This is an important game for the 1-2 Cowboys as two of their next three games are on the road with the home matchup during this span coming against the Jaguars. The Lions have a far bigger game on deck hosting the Packers next week.
|09-30-18||Bills v. Packers -9||0-22||Win||100||63 h 41 m||Show|
No, not two weeks in a row. Not even close. The Bills don't have nearly the talent, nor the quarterback, to pull off back-to-back monster upsets after stunning the Vikings, 27-6, last Sunday. Buffalo had a couple of things going its way when it ambushed the Vikings in the biggest upset in 23 years: a strong pass rush facing a subpar offensive line and the element of surprise. The Packers have one of the best offensive left tackles in football in David Bakhitari and right tackle Bryan Bulaga is expected to play after being bothered by a bad back. Bakhitari can handle Jerry Hughes, who was a big key for the Bills in beating the Vikings. And the Packers certainly won't be taking Buffalo lightly. Green Bay is coming off a road loss to the Redskins. The timing was bad for the Packers in that game coming off consecutive division games, the previous one being an epic overtime tie against the Vikings. The Packers are solid, have a better defense that they showed in the first half against the Redskins and Aaron Rodgers still is a top-five quarterback even at less than 100 pecent. Rodgers has healthy receivers and his best running back, Aaron Jones, is back from suspension. The Packers are in take-care-of-business mode after an embarrassing loss while the Bills and their rookie quarterback, Jared Allen, are still on Cloud 9. So the Packers aren't going to get caught sleeping like the Vikings did. If the Packers play their "A" or "B" game they will cover a double-digit spread especially if the Bills are less than sharp.
|09-30-18||Bengals v. Falcons UNDER 54||37-36||Loss||-110||19 h 29 m||Show|
This total has been steamed up. I understand the move given how well the Falcons and Matt Ryan looked last week in beating the Saints, 43-37. I also understand the Falcons have key defensive injuries with both of their safeties and top linebacker out. I still see this total movement as an overreaction and enough to get involved in the Under. Ryan carved up a bad New Orleans defense that has major concerns and injuries in its secondary. Discount that performance, though, and Ryan has a 2-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The Falcons realize the need to have a balanced offense. They will run the ball a lot against the Bengals even with lead back Devonta Freeman out again. That is going to keep the clock moving. The Bengals have a solid defense. Geno Atkins is one of the better all-around defensive linemen the Falcons will face all season. Cincinnati gave up a lot of rushing yards to the Panthers last week. That's because the Bengals had trouble containing the Panthers' run-option. That's not the offense the Falcons use. The Falcons' multiple injuries in their secondary are a concern. Andy Dalton has played well, but he's never to be trusted on the road. He does have five interceptions already. The Bengals are without their best runner, too, with Joe Mixon out. Atlanta's pass rush should be improved with the expected return of Takk McKinley. He had recorded a sack in each of the first two games before missing the Saints game with a groin injury.
|09-24-18||Steelers +1 v. Bucs||Top||30-27||Win||100||18 h 1 m||Show|
Even on the road, I'll take Ben Roethlisberger over Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has been playing well above his head. The Steelers are by far more experienced in marquee national televised games. They also are 9-1-1 in their last 11 regular season road games. The Buccaneers are beat-up in the secondary, vulnerable to Antonio Browns and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Another plus for the Steelers is the expected return of cornerback Joe Hadon, who should limit DeSean Jackson's home-run ability. Pittsburgh also has a far more dependable place-kicker.
|09-24-18||Steelers v. Bucs UNDER 55||30-27||Loss||-110||18 h 60 m||Show|
Ryan Fitzpatrick didn't suddenly become Joe Montana at 35. The career journeyman has put together two monster games and suddenly he's the best quarterback in the NFC. I'm not buying it. Fitzpatrick reverts back to who he really is and that's a turnover-prone backup quarterback who has played for seven teams. The Steelers' secondary is stronger with the return of cornerback Joe Haden from a hamstring injury. The Buccaneers entered this week ranked last in yards per rushing attempt. Their offense can not continue to put up big numbers without any type of ground attack. Look for the Steelers to keep their safeties back daring the Buccaneers to run. Ben Roethlisberger hasn't been nearly as good on the road as at home. Le'Veon Bell remains out. So the Steelers' offense isn't as strong as perceived for this matchup especially with the Buccaneers upgrading their pass rush and having a healthy Gerald McCoy, a stud defensive tackle. McCoy has the most sacks of any tackle in the NFL during the past six seasons. Tampa Bay has a bottom-five place-kicker in Chandler Catanzaro, but one of the better punters, Bryan Anger.
|09-23-18||Patriots v. Lions OVER 51.5||Top||10-26||Loss||-106||118 h 8 m||Show|
It's no secret this figures to be a high-scoring game with Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford squaring off. The linesmaker accepts that by making this high of a total. But there are some less obvious reasons that show the total still is short and that more points will be scored than expected. This is the Patriots' first game this season inside a dome. That's a huge plus for the Over. New England opened its season going against two tough defenses, Houston and Jacksonville. The Lions' defense is a huge drop. This drop will be even bigger if the Lions are forced to play without their best pass rusher, Ezekiel Ansah, and best pass defender, cornerback Darius Slay. Both are questionable with injuries. The Lions' secondary is much worse minus Slay. Detroit doesn't have good cover linebackers and are facing the No. 1 tight end in football, Rob Gronkowski, and a pair of running backs, James White and Rex Burkhead, who are excellent pass catchers out of the backfield. The Patriots became a lot more athletic and fast on the outside after trading for Josh Gordon. New England also has key defensive injuries. Trey Flowers, perhaps the Patriots' most effective pass rusher, suffered a concussion last Sunday as did safety Patrick Chung. They are both questionable. Kenny Golladay has emerged as the Lions' second-best wide receiver. Stafford has three strong wide receiving targets now with Golden Tate, Golladay and Marvin Jones. Matt Patricia is off to a rocky start as the Lions' new head coach. He is the former defensive coordinator for the Patriots, though, so he should know well where to attack New England's defense.
|09-23-18||Bears v. Cardinals +6||16-14||Win||100||42 h 9 m||Show|
The Bears are a team on the rise. Right now, though, they are a work-in-progress with a below average quarterback and caught in a bad situational spot. It only is Week 3. But the 0-2 Cardinals are in desperate straits under rookie head coach Steve Wilks. They must win this home game, or already they can forget about any playoff possibility. Chicago is traveling a long distance on a short week after beating Seattle at home this past Monday night. Chicago is 3-8 ATS following a victory. The Bears' defense is promising, but it is not at their best yet. That won't happen until Khalil Mack and rookie Roquan Smith become 100 percent comfortable in the system. The Cardinals have their own star pass rusher, Chandler Jones. It was Jones, not Mack, who led the NFL in sacks last season with 17. No other player had even 15 sacks. Cornerback Patrick Peterson gives Arizona the best defensive back on the field, too. Wilks, the former defensive coordinator for Carolina, should be able to devise a sound plan going against second-year quarterback, Mitch Trubisky. The game has yet to slow down for Trubisky. He isn't any better than Sam Bradford. More mobile yes, but he lacks Bradford's veteran savvy and accuracy. Bradford will play better once the Cardinals figure out they need to get superstar running back David Johnson in space more. Wilks has had two games now to figure that out. Johnson has been under utilized. I see Johnson being the focal point of Arizona's offense and more dangerous than in the previous two games because the Cardinals will do more to get him on the outside, including putting him in the slot, or even flanking him wide. The Bears are going to take the Cardinals' best punch. I don't see them ready to cover more than a field goal on the road in a huge flat spot.
|09-23-18||Chargers +7.5 v. Rams||23-35||Loss||-110||41 h 58 m||Show|
It's understandable that the Rams sit on top of most people's NFL power ratings. They are strong on both sides of the ball. But I envision the Rams struggling to win this game for a number of reasons. Sean McVay held his key players out during preseason. The Rams were able to get away with that because their opponents during the first two weeks of the regular season were the Raiders and Cardinals. Both are winless. The Chargers represent a major upgrade. The Rams are 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 home games. They don't carry a strong home field advantage especially against this opponent, which also plays now in LA. The Chargers are 15-7-1 ATS in their past 23 road contests. It is difficult for a team to blow out the Chargers because of Philip Rivers. During their last 18 games, the Chargers have lost by more than a field goal only four times. Rivers is an elite quarterback and is having another excellent season ranking in the top-four in touchdown passes, yards, completion percentage and passer rating. The Rams have a trio of good wide receivers in Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. But Keenan Allen is the best wide receiver on the field. He trumps them all. Rivers is especially effective when he has Allen. Much is being made of Joey Bosa being out. Sure his absence lessens the Chargers' pass rush. But the Chargers still have Melvin Ingram and their secondary, already good, is even better this season with the addition of star rookie safety Derwin James. The Rams are missing one of their key defensive cogs, too, with linebacker Mark Barron expected to sit out a third straight game due to an Achilles injury. The Rams' kicking game was a huge strength last season because of Greg Zuerlein. However, he's out. So the Rams are going with largely untested backup kicker, Sam Ficken.
|09-23-18||Giants v. Texans -5.5||27-22||Loss||-110||142 h 7 m||Show|
Both teams are 0-2 and desperate. The Texans have the talent, huge defensive edge and home field to do more about it. DeShaun Watson is getting less rusty and better each week. Getting deep threat Will Fuller back is huge for him. As good as Odell Beckham Jr. is, I would take DeAndre Hopkins over him. The Texans are coming off one of their ugliest and most embarrassing losses in franchise history, losing 20-17 on the road to the Titans last Sunday when Tennessee was missing its three top offensive tackles, leading receiver tight end Delanie Walker and going with backup Blaine Gabbert at quarterback. This should mean a huge maximum effort from Houston this week. The Texans' defensive line should control a disappointing Giants offense that is averaging a meager 14 points a game. Eli Manning is well past his prime. He's been terrible and so has the revamped Giants offense line. Nobody has played well on it, including left tackle Nate Solder. Manning was sacked six times in New York's Sunday night loss to the Cowboys. J.J. Watt should be able to dominate. Pat Shurmur has not made a difference. The Giants are as bad under him as they were during Ben McAdoo's two-year stay. Houston's offensive line is no great shakes either. But the Texans have the superior defense and Watson is extremely mobile. Those are enough important edges to ensure the Texans beat the Giants by at least a touchdown.
|09-23-18||49ers +7 v. Chiefs||Top||27-38||Loss||-110||38 h 26 m||Show|
Patrick Mahomes may be the league MVP through the first two weeks with his NFL record 10 touchdown passes. But there is a flip side to the Chiefs: Their defense. It's terrible. Kansas City ranks last defensively in yards and passing yards. The Chiefs are 29th in scoring defense giving up 32.5 points per game. The 49ers have become respectable since Jimmy Garoppolo took over as their starting quarterback. San Francisco is 6-1 in those games. I like the 49ers much more in an underdog role than as a favorite. I find them feisty and well-coached under Kyle Shanahan. They have covered in seven of their last 10 road games. The lone loss in Garoppolo's 49ers starts came opening week to the Vikings, 24-16, on the road. San Francisco could have won that game, but self-destructed. Garoppolo was under heavy pass rush pressure from the Vikings. The Chiefs don't have a strong pass rush. They have only two sacks. Their secondary remains rudderless without star safety Eric Berry, who is expected to miss a third straight game due to a lingering heel injury. The 49ers have a well-designed offense that can put up points. Matt Breida surprisingly leads the NFC in rushing. San Francisco has the defensive advantage here. DeForest Buckner has more sacks than the entire Chiefs team. Yes, the Chiefs are explosive. There are going to be points scored here that's for sure. But San Francisco's defense is going to look better with the return of linebackers Reuben Foster from suspension and Malcolm Smith from a hamstring injury. Foster has the potential to be a difference maker both as a run-stopper and blitzer.
|09-20-18||Jets v. Browns -157||Top||17-21||Win||100||19 h 26 m||Show|
The Browns should have beat the Steelers at home. The Browns should have beat the Saints on the road. Now the Browns drop way down in class hosting the Jets. New York has a rookie quarterback and is playing for the third time in 11 days while traveling on a short week after having hosted the Dolphins this past Sunday. Even Hue Jackson can't screw this one up for the Browns. Forget - if you can - the Browns being 1-35-1 in their last 37 games. Focus on just this particular matchup. The Browns have tremendous motivation hosting a rare nationally televised game. The spot couldn't be better for them drawing an inexperienced quarterback on short preparation time. Sam Darnold is precocious, but he's facing a decent - if not above average defense - in just his second NFL road start and is pitted against an aggressive, veteran defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams. This will be the toughest defense Darnold has seen in the NFL having played the Lions and Dolphins. Darnold operates behind a sub-par offensive line that figures to lose the battle of the trenches and he lacks dangerous skill position weapons. Tyrod Taylor is a veteran quarterback who knows how to win. The Browns have the best wideout, too, in Jarvis Landry. The combination of Taylor, a superior defense and a big home field advantage - made larger because of the short week - is enough for the Browns to get the victory.
|09-17-18||Seahawks +4.5 v. Bears||Top||17-24||Loss||-107||16 h 46 m||Show|
I get that the Seahawks are far from what they used to be and they have three key players out - Doug Baldwin and linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. That leaves Russell Wilson, safety Earl Thomas and guard J.R. Sweezy as the only players left from their winning Super Bowl team of five years ago. But I'm not buying this steam and public love for the Bears. Not as chalk of more than a field goal. This is foreign territory for the Bears. They aren't used to being on the national stage with all the pressure on them. Since 2015, Chicago has been a home favorite seven times. The Bears are 1-6 SU and ATS in those games with the lone victory coming against the Browns, who have failed to win in their last 19 games. Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll are used to success. Wilson is a top-five quarterback. Mitchell Trubisky is a work-in--progress who I don't think is any good being more runner than passer. Matt Nagy has coached one NFL game and he made a lot of questionable decisions in that opening week loss to the Packers when his Bears blew a 20-0 lead letting a wounded Aaron Rodgers beat his team. Carroll is an above average NFL coach. Nagy has much to prove. Trubisky is in his second season, but remains very inexperienced. He only started 13 games in college and his coach last year, John Fox, did him no favors with his ultra-conservative methods. Trubisky misses a lot of reads and is not an instinctive player. Seattle always has had excellent defensive coaching. The Seahawks will be ready to defend against Trubisky. The Packers defense held the Bears offense without a touchdown after Chicago's first drive. Helping matters for the Seahawks is newly signed linbacker Mychal Kendricks. He's a good player, but is poison because of pleading guilty to insider trading. He very well could get prison time for that. The NFL suspended Kendricks for breaking the law, but he's allowed to play because he's appealing the suspension. He's expected to play tonight. Wilson is good enough to beat the Bears just like Rodgers did. Wilson almost led Seattle to an upset road win against the Broncos last week in a 27-24 loss. He threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns against a much better secondary than the Bears. Baldwin played just 11 snaps before getting hurt. Wilson accomplished that without Baldwin catching a pass, playing with unproven running backs and a still-evolving offensive line that may be better this week. Wilson is a magician who you can't preplan against. If it weren't for a desperation final play turnover, Wilson would have finished the Broncos game with a quarterback rating of 105.3. Baldwin isn't the Seahawks' only decent receiving weapon. Wilson has veteran Brandon Marshall, who still has some juice, speedster Tyler Lockett and promising rookie tight end Will Dissly, who showed well against Denver. Marshall and Dissly also are excellent blockers. The Seahawks also have a secret weapon - rookie punter Michael Dickson. He was tremendous during preseason and he continued that opening week averaging 59 yards on six punts with a 57.5 net average with four of the punts downed inside the 20. This wasn't just punting in mountain weather. Dickson is that good. Carroll has a tremendous record in prime time games with the Seahawks going 22-4-1. Seattle doesn't have nearly the team it had when it compiled many of those prime time victores but it does have big-game, big atmosphere experience. That's important. So is having the far better quarterback. That combination will help get Seahawks bettors the money.