|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|01-19-20||Packers +7.5 v. 49ers||Top||20-37||Loss||-130||155 h 9 m||Show|
The set-up: The Packers jumped out to an early lead vs. the Seahawks in the Divisional Round and then had to hold on for dear life for the victory. Green Bay took the foot off the gas, but it won't have that luxury this weekend in hostile territory. The Packers lost to the 49ers in the regular season, but I believe Aaron Rodgers and company have much more than just a "punchers chance" at winning this one outright. The 49ers beat the Vikings 27-10 last weekend. San Francisco has the home field advantage and the slightly better defense, but Green Bay still has the clear advantage at the QB position in my opinion. Jimmy Garropolo is putting together a great season, but would anyone out there claim that he's solely responsible for getting his team to this point? Rodgers' vast experience gives the Packers the upper-hand at the QB position in my opinion.
The pick: Note as well that Green Bay is already 3-1 ATS as an underdog thi syear, while San Fran is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight after two or more straight wins vs. the spread, including only 1-3 ATS this season. Grab the points, expect a battle until the final moments.
10* GAME OF THE WEEK on the Packers.
|01-12-20||Seahawks v. Packers -3.5||Top||23-28||Win||100||130 h 41 m||Show|
The set-up: Is Russel Wilson a "better" QB than Aaron Rodgers right now? Probably. But not by much. Wilson managed to get the most out of his injured team and they took advantage of the fact that Philly' QB Carson Wentz got knocked out early with an injury. The Hawks looked tired now in my opinion. Note that last week they committed 11 penalties for 114 yards. WR DK Metcalf was a bright spot though with 160 receiving yards. I like Rodgers here at home and with a week off to prepare. The Green Bay furture Hall of Famer isn't the same player he used to be, but this is a spot in which I think he can take full advantage of. Note that Green Bay was sixth in red zone efficiency this year.
The pick: Additionally note that the Packers are 7-1 ATS in their last eight vs. teams with winning records and 5-1 ATS in their last six playoff contests, while the Hawks are just 2-6 ATS in its last eight games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. When you add it all up, I think this one has blowout from start to finish written all over it. Lay the points.
10* GAME OF THE WEEK on the Green Bay Packers.
|01-11-20||Titans +10.5 v. Ravens||Top||28-12||Win||100||154 h 37 m||Show|
The set-up: I like Tennessee to keep this one closer than expected. Derrick Henry is a beast and behind the improved play of QB Ryan Tannehill, the Titans won a very tricky game at Foxborough last weekend. Beating Bill Bellichick on his own field and after such a tragic loss in Week 17 as well is very impressive in my books. The Titans are playing really good football right now in all three phases. They won't be intimidated whatsoever after posting the Playoff win in New England vs. the defending champs either. And will "rest" lead to "rust" for LaMar Jackson and company? Jackson will have to carry the load here with a minor injury to RB Mark Ingram. This is significant in my opinion.
The pick: Tennessee is a sharp 6-3 ATS in its last nine road games and 9-4 ATS in its last 13 as an underdog in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range, while Baltimore is a poor 3-6 ATS in its last nine as a home favorite in the 7 to 14 points range, including 0-2 ATS this season. I'm not calling for an outright, but all signs point to this one once again coming down to the wire.
10* PLAYOFF GAME OF THE YEAR on the Tennessee Titans.
|01-05-20||Seahawks -1.5 v. Eagles||Top||17-9||Win||100||154 h 37 m||Show|
The set-up: The Eagles finished 9-7, while the Hawks ended up 11-5. Seattle almost knocked off the 49ers at home in Week 17, but it just wasn't to be. The Eagles had to sweep their final four games to punch their ticket, including a win over the Giants in Week 17. The Hawks will be without the services of WR Jaron Brown, who suffered a torn MCL in the loss to San Fran. That's going to put added pressure on QB Russell Wilson to carry the load and manage the game today. He'll also be leaning heavily on his run game, as Marshawn Lynch looked stronger as the game progressed in his first action in a while vs. the 49ers. The Eagles are also dealing with injury to RB Miles Sanders, who is listed as questionable here. Carson Wentz may have TE Zach Ertz back in the line-up today, but like his counterpart, the veteran pivot will have to shoulder the responsibility today if his team is going to win this one. Both teams are going to rely on their run game to alleviate that pressure from their QB's though. Each is banged up on the offensive side as well. Ultimately though I feel that Wilson's experience and the Seahawks depth across the board will win the day between these two injured teams.
The pick: Additionally note that Seattle is 4-1 ATS in its last five on the road and 4-1 ATS in its last five as a road favorite, while Philly is only 3-4 ATS at home this season and just 3-4 ATS when playing the role of underdog. For all the reasons listed above, I'm backing Seattle.
10* GAME OF THE MONTH on the Seahawks.
|12-29-19||49ers v. Seahawks +3.5||Top||26-21||Loss||-120||131 h 12 m||Show|
The set-up: The winner of this game will win the NFC West. Forget that the Seahawks have "Beast Mode" as their RB now. Forget about what each team has done to this point, and please just look at these stats below, as they are what I'm basing my pick on entirely:
Seahawks in primetime:
16-4-2 ATS L22 at home
14-4-1 ATS L19 divisional games
14-2 ATS L16 as an underdog
Seahawks as a home underdog:
9-0 ATS L9
Seahawks after an ATS loss:
The pick: 10* ELITE OF THE ELITE on the Seattle Seahawks.
|12-23-19||Packers +4 v. Vikings||Top||23-10||Win||101||179 h 49 m||Show|
The set-up: Both teams are headed to the playoffs, but each is fighting for a better spot. In a game which I see being decided by whichever of these hungry sides has its hands on the ball last, I'm going to grab the points. Green Bay beat Minnesota 21-16 at home and I do indeed feel that another outright victory isn't out of the question here either. Green Bay beat the Bears 21-13 last weekend and with a victory here it can wrap up the division crown. Look for veteran QB Aaron Rodgers to continue his brilliant season, so far he has 24 TD's and just two INT's. Also RB Aaron Jones had two TD's last weekend.
The pick: The Vikes have won eight of their last ten, led by the great play of QB Kirk Cousins, who has 25 TD's and only five INT's. Also note, Minnesota is now already in the playoffs, having clinched after the Rams last outright to the 49ers yesterday. Finally note that Minnesota is just 2-11 ATS in its last 13 MNF contests, while GB is 6-1 ATS in its last seven vs. teams with winning records. Grab the points.
10* COACH'S CORNER on the Green Bay Packers.
|12-22-19||Chiefs -4.5 v. Bears||Top||26-3||Win||100||155 h 1 m||Show|
The set-up: The Chiefs have a lot to play for, as while they've clinched the division, they're still gunning for home field advantage. The Bears are 7-7 and have fallen out of playoff contention. Is the thought of playing "spoiler" here an actual factor we can take into consideration? I don't think so. The Bears are out and now they face a non-conference power house. Yes Mitchell Trubisky has something to prove, but I don't think his slightly improved play of late is going to be enough here.
The pick: The Chiefs have rebounded from a tough stretch and they're looking sharp on both sides of the ball, averaging 28.1 PPG, while the defense has recorded 14 INT's and 39 sacks this season. Additionally note that Chicago is just 1-4 ATS in its last five vs. teams with winning records, while KC is 4-1 ATS in its last five as a favorite. I'm laying the points and expecting a complete lop-sided destruction.
10* GAME OF THE WEEK on the KC Chiefs.
|12-21-19||Bills +7 v. Patriots||Top||17-24||Push||0||127 h 25 m||Show|
The set-up: Buffalo's won ten games for the first time in more than 20 years and it's headed back to the playoffs. The Patriots have also already clinched. Each team though is still jockeying for better playoff positioning. The Bills' young QB Josh Allen has made significant strides since the first time he faced New England earlier in the year and I believe he has a legitimate shot at avenging that setback. Note that when they played Tom Brady the first time, they kept the hall of fame QB in check by allowing him only 150 yards on 39 attempts. The Bills have been tremendous at home, but they come in the under radar here afte rgoing 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight away from friendly confines.
The pick: New England has an 11-3 record, but Brady looks a step behind (he's thrown for less than 190 yards in three of his past four games.) The defense has looked shaky at times over the last month as well. Additionally note that the Bills are 4-1 ATS in their last five in revenging a close loss by seven points or less to an opponent, while NE is just 1-5 ATS this season vs. teams with winning records. I'm grabbing the points.
10* BLOOD-BATH on Buffalo.
|12-15-19||Broncos +11.5 v. Chiefs||Top||3-23||Loss||-115||148 h 31 m||Show|
The set-up: Denver still has a mathematical shot at making the playoffs, but it has to win out and also get some outside help. It's obviously never going to happen, but I love playing on highly motivated teams and clearly the visiting side fits that bill here. The Chiefs on the other hand have already clinched the division, so a minor letdown here mentally is definitely in the cards as well in my opinion. Denver comes to town on a role as well after two straight wins, most recently steam-rolling the Texans 38-24 on the road. Rookie QB Drew Lock had 300 yards vs. the Texans last week and the Chiefs' secondary is a lot worse.
The pick: Clearly it won't be a cake walk, as KC enters having won three straight. With a tough road game in Chicago next week, KC could be caught looking past its opponent this afternoon as well. Finally note that the Broncos are 6-1 ATS in their last seven as an underdog in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range, while KC is 0-3 ATS in its last three as a home favorite of 7.5 to ten points. I'm banking the Broncos fighting tooth and nail and because of that, I'm grabbing the points.
10* GAME OF THE MONTH on the Denver Broncos.
|12-08-19||Ravens v. Bills +6||Top||24-17||Loss||-115||143 h 58 m||Show|
The set-up: I have the Bills at 5.5. Whether you have 5, 5.5 or 6, I love this play. So far the Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have passed almost every test this year, but I think they're in trouble here this weekend vs. this under the radar Bills team which continues to get little respect from the oddsmakers. The Ravens have a "cream puff" at home vs. the Jets next weekend, followed by games vs. the Browns and then at home vs. the Steelers. Both teams have superb defenses, so I'm calling that area a "wash." Jackson have been phenomenal, but Bills' QB Josh Allen has gotten progressively better each week as well and he's been particularly sharp over the last month.
The pick: The road ahead though is not quite as "easy" for the Bills, who have back-to-back road games at Pittsburgh and New England. Neither of those games are going to be "easy." This game isn't going to be "easy" either, but Buffalo clearly has to be looking at this contest as a "must win" game. In fact, I'm banking on it! Of course Jackson and company really "want" to win this one, but would anyone fault the second year pro and Baltimore for finally having a "letdown" here and looking ahead to that much more winnable game at home next week? Baltimore managed the SU win over the 49ers last weekend, but not ATS. I think it stumbles here as well (additionally note that Baltimore is just 8-10 ATS in its last 18 after one more loss vs. the spread, including 1-3 ATS this season, while Buffalo is already a perfect 4-0 ATS this year as an underdog.) The bottom line is that I think the Ravens do indeed finally have their letdown, while I expect Buffalo to risk life and limb in front of the home town crowd. While the outright is possible, in the end let's grab the points.
10* GAME OF THE YEAR on the Buffalo Bills.
|12-01-19||49ers +6.5 v. Ravens||Top||17-20||Win||100||123 h 21 m||Show|
The set-up: San Francisco is 10-1 and the Ravens are 9-2. Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson has been unbelievable, but I think the second year pro will have a difficult time today vs. the 49ers top ranked defense. Jimmy Garropolo and the 49ers come in off a complete game destruction of the Packers.
The pick: The Ravens have looked fantastic, but I think they'll have a real fight on their hands here. San Francisco matches up extremely well with Baltimore and Kyle Shannahan has made all the right calls in the early going as head coach (note as well that SF is already 2-0 ATS this season as a road dog, while Baltimore is just 1-3 ATS as a home favorite. In a contest which I envision coming down to whichever of these talented teams has its hands on the ball last, I'm grabbing the points.
10* GAME OF THE MONTH on the San Fran 49ers.
|11-25-19||Ravens v. Rams +3.5||Top||45-6||Loss||-110||34 h 41 m||Show|
The set-up: The Ravens have a firm grip on the AFC North at 8-2. Baltimore comes in having won five straight, but I think it'll have its hands full with this desperate home side, which must now win tonight after both Seattle and San Francisco prevailed. The Rams made it to the Super Bowl last year, but if they don't win this game tonight, then they won't have the opportunity to try and do it again.
The pick: LA only allows 89 rushing yards per game and the Ravens count on RB Mark Ingram to open things up for Ravens' QB Lamar Jackson. Jackson's been having a great year, but note that he's been sacked 18 times this year and LA already has 29 sacks under its belt. LA has actually won three of its last five, most recently a 17-7 victory over Chicago. Note as well that the Rams are 7-3 ATS in their last ten following a SU victory, while Baltimore is a poor 12-16 ATS in its last 28 as a favorite. In a game which comes down to the wire, let's grab the points.
10* BLOOD-BATH on the Rams.
|11-24-19||Steelers v. Bengals +7||Top||16-10||Win||100||22 h 8 m||Show|
The set-up: The Steelers are coming off a loss to the Browns. Pittsburgh's season is on the line here and while the 0-10 Bengals may not win this one outright, I do think the home side catches the right team at the right time to pull out its first victory. Pittsburgh is better than Cincinnati in two of three phases, but I certainly think that its QB Mason Rudolph is a major liability. Last week Rudolph threw four INT's. Also note that Pittsburgh is dealin with injuries to JuJu Smith-Schuster and RB James Conner. And to make matters worse, the Steelers lost center Maurkice Pouncey after last week's brawl with the Browns. Pittsburgh has had to deal with plenty of off-field distractions this week and I believe all of these add up to a major "letdown" here this weekend.
The pick: Joe Mixon and the Bengals won't be going down without a fight today. Note as well that the Bengals are a perfect 5-0 ATS in their last five after scoring 14 points or less in two straight games, while the Steelers are only 3-7 ATS in their last ten as a road favorite. For all the reasons listed above, grab the points.
10* DESTRUCTION on the Cincinnati Bengals.
|11-21-19||Colts v. Texans -3.5||Top||17-20||Loss||-110||85 h 30 m||Show|
The set-up: The Colts come in off a win over the Jaguars, but I think they'll struggle here vs. a Houston team which enters off a loss to the Ravens. While Indianapolis will have Jacoby Brissett under center, note that it'll be without the services of top RB Marlon Mack, who suffered a broken hand. This is a major hit to an offense which relies on a strong run game to open things up for Brissett.
The pick: The Texans not only want to bounce back after last week's loss to the surging Ravens, but they also play with revenge here after losing to the Colts by 7 in Indianapolis earlier in the year. Houston has had plenty of difficulties over the years with the Colts and while the struggled last week, I think this one sets up well for a bounce back performance. The short week favors the home side and I'll point out that Indy is in fact just 12-15 ATS in its last 27 as an underdog and 0-2 ATS in its last two "Thursday night" games, while Houston is 5-1 ATS in its last six in revenging a road loss vs. an opponent and 2-0 ATS in its last two Thursday night games. Lay the points.
10* GAME OF THE WEEK on the Texans.
|11-18-19||Chiefs v. Chargers +4||Top||24-17||Loss||-110||176 h 52 m||Show|
The set-up: This game is being played in Mexico City. Both teams enter off hard-fought and very close losses. KC fell 35-32 to Tennessee, while LA lost 26-24 to the Raiders. I think another "battle" is on our hands here and in a contest which I envision coming down to the final moments, I'll grab the points. KC has lost three of its last five and I believe its ripe for the picking here. Patrick Mahomes has 18 TD's and one INT so far, but I think he'll struggle in this difficult road venue vs. this desperate Chargers team which needs to win, or be eliminated from playoff contention.
The pick: KC is just 2-6 ATS In its last eiht after a loss by six points or less and just 6-10 ATS in its last 16 after an ATS loss, while LA is 11-6 ATS in its last 17 as an underdog. While I wouldn't be shocked by an outright upset, in the end I'll recommend to grab as many points as you can.
10* DESTRUCTION on the LA Chargers.
|11-10-19||Vikings +3 v. Cowboys||Top||28-24||Win||100||151 h 36 m||Show|
The set-up: The Cowboys are off a 37-18 Monday night win over the Giants. Dallas' QB Dak Prescott threw for three TD's. But now the Cowboys face the red hot Vikings, led by Dalvin Cook, who had 71 yards in his team's close 26-23 loss to Kansas City. Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins had 222 passing yards and three TD's in a losing cause. Overall the Vikes are No. 1 in stopping the run and they've only allowed two rushing TD's all season.
The pick: Dallas has won two in a row, but with back-to-back tough road games in Detroit and New England upcoming, clearly this is a tough stretch for the home side. Note that Dallas WR Amari Cooper didn't practice on Thursday and he's a game time decision here. NOte as well that Minnesota is a sharp 8-2 ATS in its last ten following a SU loss (including 2-0 ATS this season,) while Dallas is just 5-6 ATS in its last 11 after two or more consecutive victories. I think Minnesota's defense is not getting enough credit here. Grab the points.
10* GAME OF THE WEEK on the Minnesota Vikings.
|11-04-19||Cowboys -7 v. Giants||Top||37-18||Win||100||60 h 37 m||Show|
The set-up: Dallas smashed New York 35-17 in Week 1 when Eli Manning was under center. The Cowboys have been hit or miss this year, but they're coming off an impressive 37-10 win over Philadelphia in Week 7, a team which was just as hungry as desperate as they were. Dallas is coming off a Week 8 bye as well, so it's been planning and preparing for this crucial contest for a while now. New York though isn't sure what's going on, most recently losing 31-26 on the road to the Lions. At 2-6, the Giants' season is already over and they can now start preparing and planning for next year.
The pick: New York is just 1-5 ATS in its last six at home, while Dallas is 4-1 ATS in its last five as a road favorite in the 3.5 to 7 points range. Breaking down individual player matchups or what each team's defensive and offensive numbers are is not important tonight. The situational factors combined with these strong trends make Dallas the savvy call in my professional opinion. Lay the points.
10* BLOOD BATH on the Dallas Cowboys.
|11-03-19||Lions +2 v. Raiders||Top||24-31||Loss||-109||123 h 20 m||Show|
The set-up: What do you base your picks on? For me, I like to remain flexible and don't follow any one single methodology. The Raiders have been arguably the biggest "surprise" team in the NFL this year, a lot more competititve than what most thought. But in my opinion, this one sets up as a "trap/letdown" for the home side. And that's because the Raiders haven't actually played a "home" game in the last five weeks (the only time in the last five weeks that Oakland was the "home" side was its game in London three weeks ago.) Now the players return home to their own beds and their families finally and I think that it's going to have a detrimental effect to their play on the field today.
The pick: Oakland has lost two straight as well. The Lions though come off a crucial 31-26 win over the Giants last weekend and they'll be laying everything on the line here as they try to keep pace with the Packers. Note as well that Detroit is 8-2 ATS in its last ten as a road dog and 8-2 ATS in its last ten vs. clubs with losing records, while Oakland is a terrible 3-5 ATS in its last eight as a favorite and only 3-7 ATS in its last ten non-conference games. A great situational play on the Lions this weekend.
10* GAME OF MONTH on the Detroit Lions.
|10-31-19||49ers -8.5 v. Cardinals||Top||28-25||Loss||-110||76 h 22 m||Show|
The set-up: I got down early and have a favorable line in this one, but regardless, I like San Francisco to come in focussed on the task at hand and to once again run up the score quickly in this one as it then gets ready to play Seattle the following week. Clearly this is a big game for Arizona, as it sits at 3-4 and another loss will essentially take it out of the running for a playoff spot with both Seattle and San Francisco in its division. But San Francisco's depth on the defensive side of the ball and it's strong run game is going to prove to be too much for Cards' rookie QB Kyler Murray today.
The pick: Arizona enters off a tough road loss to the Saints and I don't think the home side has gotten over that setback. It's interesting to note as well that San Fran is 2-0 ATS in its last two Thursday night contests, while Arizona is interestingly 0-3 ATS in its last three following a two game road trip. No upsets this week, lay the points.
10* GAME OF THE WEEK on the San Francisco 49ers.
|10-27-19||Raiders v. Texans -6.5||Top||24-27||Loss||-105||150 h 2 m||Show|
The set-up: This is Oakland's fifth straight game on the road, a trip which has included a trip to London. I admit that the Raiders have been better than I thought they'd be this year, but I think they're going to suffer a predictable letdown here vs. this focused home side, which comes in off a 30-23 loss to the Colts. The Raiders got crushed 41-24 at Green Bay last weekend and now they face a similar type offense in DeShaun Watson and the Texans.
The pick: Oakland allowed five TD's to Aaron Rodgers last weekend and they average 21 PPG, while conceding 27.5. The Texans on the other hand average 26 PPG, while allowing 23. Oakland is also a poor 5-13 ATS in its last 18 on the road (including 1-2 ATS this year), while Houston is 3-1 ATS in its last four after a two-game road trip. I like Watson to domiante this porous Raiders' secondary. Lay the points.
10* play on the Houston Texans.
|10-20-19||Chargers v. Titans -1||Top||20-23||Win||100||50 h 27 m||Show|
The set-up: This is a big game for both teams. Each of these teams had huge expectations coming in, but each has struggled mightily to open the 2019/20 campaign. The Chargers are off a 24-17 home loss to the Steelers, while the Titans fell 16-0 in Denver. While Philip Rivers had 320 yards and two TD's last week for the Bolts, he also had two INT's. And now he faces the leagues second best pass defenses which concedes just 217 passing yards per game. Also note that Rivers has been sacked 12 times already this year.
The pick: Marcus Mariota is out and Ryan Tannehill is in for the Titans this week. Tannehill makes his first start for his new team and I expect the pivot to make the most of this opportunity. LA though is just 5-6 ATS in its last 11 vs. teams with losing records, while Tennessee is 6-2 ATS in its last eight off a road loss. I think the Titans superior defense is the difference here and I like Tannehill to make the most of this opportunity. Lay the points.
10* COACH'S CORNER on the Tennessee Titans.
|10-17-19||Chiefs v. Broncos +4||Top||30-6||Loss||-115||83 h 51 m||Show|
The set-up: Patrick Mahomes is the same player, but this isn't the same Chiefs team which we saw last year. The defense was always a weak point and it remains a weak point now as well. But the offense isn't "clicking" like it once was and penalties and poor special teams play have led to back-to-back losses for KC. After starting 0-4, the Broncos have now won two in a row. The revenge angle comes into play here for the home side as well, as it's lost seven straight in this series (it's interesting to note though that Broncos' new QB Joe Flacco is 2-0 vs. the Chiefs for his career.)
The pick: KC allows over 400 yards per game on defense, which is 29th in the league overall. Also note that Mahomes is in fact nursing a sprained ankle and he's playing without the services of LT Eric Fisher. The KC run game is also non-existent, averaging only 87 YPG. Denver's defense has been a strength of late and I think the unit is going to have another big night tonight. Finally note that the Broncos are interestingly 10-2 ATS in their last 12 Thursday night games, while KC is only 2-5-1 ATS in its last eight following an ATS loss. I'm grabbing the points.
10* PLAY-BOOK on the Denver Broncos.
|10-14-19||Lions +4 v. Packers||Top||22-23||Win||100||35 h 14 m||Show|
The set-up: Detroit is 2-1-1 and Green Bay is 4-1. The Lions have looked decent on both sides of the ball, with wins over the Chargers and Eagles and nearly getting by the Chiefs last time out. Green Bay smoked the Cowboys in Dallas last weekend, but after the Cowboys lost to the Jets yesterday, I'm taking that victory with a proverbial "grain of salt." Detroit also comes in focussed and healthy after its bye week.
The pick: The Lions defense has been impressive, shutting down Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, while also holding Patrick Mahomes without a TD. Green Bay has been terrific defensively as well, so I'll call that department a "wash." I think that Lions' veteran QB Matt Stafford has enough tricks up his sleeve to put the pressure on Aaron Rodgers and company. In a game which I envision being decided by whichever of these hungry teams has its hands on the ball last, I'm going to grab the points.
10* COACH'S CORNER on the Detroit Lions.
|10-13-19||Steelers v. Chargers -5.5||Top||24-17||Loss||-110||155 h 43 m||Show|
The set-up: The Steelers are 1-4 and the Chargers are 2-3. This is a "must win" game for both teams. But I like Philip Rivers and company on their own soil here. Note that this is a revenge game as well for the home side after it fell 33-30 in Pittsburgh last season. Both teams enter off losses. Pittsburgh' backup QB Mason Rudolph suffered a concussion last weekend and he's listed as doubtful here. While the Pittsburgh defense picked off Ravens' QB Lamar Jackson three times last week, I don't expect that kind of sloppy play from Rivers at home and after last weekend's poor 20-13 loss at home.
The pick: The Chargers have actually been quite stingy defensively, allowing only 334.8 total yards of offense per game. Pittsburgh allows 229.8 passing yards per game, but now they'll have to deal with LA RB Melvin Gordon, who has finally returned from his holdout. Too many question marks surrounding Pittsburgh here, while the conditions are unquestionably correct for a big bounce back for LA in my opinion. Lay the points with confidence.
10* GAME OF THE MONTH on the LA Chargers.
|10-10-19||Giants +15 v. Patriots||Top||14-35||Loss||-105||107 h 57 m||Show|
The set-up: Clearly I'm not calling for the outright victory. New York has several injuries and is a big underdog for a reason. The Patriots and Tom Brady continue to roll and come into this one undefeated. New England's defense is dominating as well. I simply feel though that the Pats are going to get caught "looking past" their lowly opponent today, leaving the backdoor open just enough to allow the hungry visiting side to sneak in down the stretch. The Giants had their two-game win streak snapped in last week's 28-10 home loss to the Vikes, while the Pats enter off a 33-7 road win over the Skins.
The pick: Daniel Jones is no Brady, but he's been a lot better than Eli Manning (760 yards, four TD's and three INT's.) Brady had 348 yards, three TD's and an INT last week, but he was also sacked four times. While the Giants offense is banged up, the defense is actually a strenght of the team now (13 sacks and five INT's.) With the Jets up next weekend, I think the Patriots come out and get caught looking ahead to that one as well. As stated off the top, clearly I'm not calling for the outright win, but I do expect a more competitive battle than what this spread would suggest.
10* GAME OF THE WEEK on the New York Giants.
|10-07-19||Browns +4.5 v. 49ers||Top||3-31||Loss||-110||36 h 41 m||Show|
TThe set-up: The Browns hit the West Coast looking to pull off the slight upset and in my opinion, they definitely have a legitimate shot at doing just that. The 49ers are 3-0, but they've been off since a win over the Steelers in Week 3. Cleveland is 2-2 and it enters off its best performance of the sason, smashing the Ravens 40-25. It took a few games for the Browns' offense to find its footing, but I have no reason not to believe that it can't continue to progress each week. Cleveland RB Nick Chubb had 165 yards and three TD's, while QB Baker Mayfield had 342 passing yards and a TD.
|10-06-19||Cardinals +4.5 v. Bengals||Top||26-23||Win||100||148 h 1 m||Show|
The set-up: The Cardinals are 0-3 and the Bengals are 0-4. Both teams have an ultra slim shot at even making the playoffs after their respective poor starts, but I still think that a healthy Cardinals team has much more in the tank than their reeling opponent. Arizona has played some incredibly difficult teams to open the year and it’s remained/looked competitive. The Bengals have been a train wreck and Cards’ QB Kyler Murray will finally have time to operate this afternoon.
The pick: The Bengals lost 27-3 to the Steelers on Monday Night Football, as veteran QB Andy Dalton was 21 of 27 for 171 yards, zero TD’s, one INT and eight sacks. Note that Cincinnati is just 1-4 ATS in its last five home games vs. teams with a losing road record, while the Cards a solid 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight road contests. Grab the points.
10* PLAY-BOOK on the Arizona Cardinals.
|09-29-19||Browns +5.5 v. Ravens||Top||40-25||Win||100||147 h 55 m||Show|
The set-up: Last year these team’s split two very close games which were decided by a combined five points. I don’t think anything will change this season either between these division rivals. The Ravens’ offense looks decent behind Lamar Jackson, who has 863 yards passing and seven TD’s. But the Ravens are in a letdown spot after their first loss of the year last week, falling 33-28 in Kansas City. Yes the Browns are only 1-2, but they’ve looked a lot better after their poor Week 1 performance/collapse vs. the Titans. Cleveland looked great last week I thought despite falling 20-13 at home to the high-powered Rams. Bayker Mayfield is under an extreme amount of pressure and while he did throw an INT on the four yard line with 33 seconds left, I think he continues to progress and gain confidence as the season progresses. This is a big game for Cleveland, as a win today propels them into a tie for the division lead.
The pick: Cleveland’s offense is going to break out at some point this year and if not now, when? Cleveland’s defense is ranked 16th overall, allowing 22 PPG. The Ravens average 36 PPG and they concede 20. This isn’t going to be a cake-walk, but the Browns to have the talent in all three phases to hang with the Ravens and when you add on the desperation factor, I wouldn’t in fact be shocked by an outright upset. Note that the Ravens are 0-4 ATS in their last four at home and in their last four following a SU loss, while the Browns are 4-1 ATS in their last five following an ATS loss and 7-2 ATS in their last nine following a SU loss. I’m grabbing the points.
10* ULTIMATE BLOWOUT on the Cleveland Browns.
|09-26-19||Eagles v. Packers -4.5||Top||34-27||Loss||-108||83 h 19 m||Show|
The set-up: Yes the Eagles are “desperate” at 1-2, but they’ve also been terrible for the most part leading into this short week Thursday night contest. Carson Wentz has been good for Philly, but he’s been hampered by the fact that so many of his offensive weapons around him are injured. Five teams sit without a loss in the Eagles’ division and with a chance to deliver the knock out blow, I think the surging home side does just that. With a shot at a 4-0 start, I look for the home side to put the foot on the gas from start to finish.
The pick: Note that Green Bay has led a half time in each of its three wins. The Packers have jumped out to early leads and maintained because of their incredible defensive play, allowing only 11.7 PPG. I think that Philadelphia struggles here to move the ball vs. this red hot defensive unit and I expect Aaron Rodgers to continue his blistering start to the 2019/20 campaign. All things considered, I feel this line could/should in fact be much larger.
10* SUPER DESTRUCTION on the Green Bay Packers.
|09-22-19||Rams v. Browns +3||Top||20-13||Loss||-110||155 h 52 m||Show|
The set-up: The Browns bounced back with a big win at the Jets last week after getting destroyed on Opening Night by the Titans. Cleveland got behind early in Week 1 and combined with a series of miscues and penalties, both the offensive and defensive game plans got thrown out the window early. Last week though Cleveland looked a lot better and precise on both sides of the ball. LA is in a three-way tie in the tough NFC West with both Seattle and the 49ers and it’s difficult to say anything negative about it to this point, however the overall situation is working against the visitors today.
The pick: I think LA gets caught “looking ahead” to its game next week for the Seahawks. Cleveland is set up perfectly here to steal this one outright, but in a contest which I see being decided by whichever of these team’s has its hands on the ball last, I’m going to grab the points (and note, LA is a poor 4-6 ATS in its last ten as a road favorite of seven points or less, while Cleveland is a solid 4-2 ATS in its last six non-conference games.) Outright isn’t out of the question, but grab the points.
10* SLAUGHTER-FEST on the Cleveland Browns.
|09-16-19||Browns -6.5 v. Jets||Top||23-3||Win||100||34 h 0 m||Show|
The set-up: The Browns were their own worst enemy in Week 1, as several dumb/costly penalties led to an early deficit and they were never mentally able to recover. But Cleveland hasn’t played on Monday night since 2010 and it’ll be out to correct those mistakes and take advantage of this situation (18 penalties for 182 yards.) New York looked poor in Week 1 too though, blowing a 16-0 lead to the Bills at home. But injuries played a big part in New York’s second half collapse, as CJ Moseley and Quinnen Williams both sidelined.
The pick: And now to make matters worse for New York, QB Sam Darnold has been diagnosed with mononucleosis, meaning that backup Trevor Siemian is being thrust into the spotlight. Baker Mayfield threw three INT’s last week, but that was more out of a sense of desperation with the game already out of reach. I think the Browns defense is the biggest difference maker today. It looked bad last week, but the aforementioned penalties played a big part in that. I think the visitors feast on the Jets’ instability. Lay the points.
10* MONDAY NIGHT MASSACRE on the Cleveland Browns.
|09-15-19||Bills v. Giants +2||Top||28-14||Loss||-110||74 h 12 m||Show|
The set-up: It’s difficult to win and cover on the road, but the Bills did just that at MetLife Stadium last weekend, staging a come from behind win over the Jets. To do it on back-to-back weeks is extremely difficult and only the better teams usually accomplish that. Clearly the Bills aren’t a great team. It’s almost “do or die” now for Eli Manning and com pay after their loss in Week 1. Expect to see a heavy dose of Giants’ RB Saquon Barkley as well, as he looks to ease the pressure off New York’s veteran pivot.
The pick: The numbers are on our side as well, as note that Buffalo is a poor 3-4 ATS in its last seven off an upset win as an underdog and only 2-4 ATS in its last six non-conference games. Conversely, the Giants are 4-1 ATS in their last five off a road loss vs. a division rival and 3-1 ATS in their last four off a loss by ten points or more to a division rival. Grab the points.
10* VERY EARLY COACH’S CORNER the New York Giants.
|09-08-19||Rams v. Panthers||Top||30-27||Win||100||28 h 16 m||Show|
The set-up: The Rams finally get a chance to take out their frustrations on someone after losing to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Last year LA was 13-3. Carolina was 6-2 after the first eight weeks of action last season, but it then finished with a 7-9 overall record. A big difference for LA though to open the season is the health of RB Todd Gurley, who had to play through injury over the final month and a half. Receiver Cooper Kupp is back and healthy as well for LA after his season was cut short with an ACL tear.
The pick: Panthers’ QB Cam Newton suffered a shoulder injury with two games left last year and he underwent surgery for the second time in three years this offseason. Newton was used sparingly in the preseason and sprained his ankle in Week 3 vs. the Patriots. Newton’s health is a concern for me and it makes the hungry and healthy the Rams the correct call in this one. Lay the short points.
LA Rams 10* play
|09-05-19||Packers +4 v. Bears||Top||10-3||Win||100||1420 h 23 m||Show|
The set-up: While the outright win is clearly not out of the question in my opinion, I’m going to ultimately recommend that you grab as many points as you can in a contest which I envision coming down to whichever of these two talented teams has its hands on the ball last. This is the league’s 100th anniversary season and this is in fact the oldest rivalry in the league. Chicago comes in off an impressive 12-4 campaign in 2018, but with the starters having seen extreme limited time in the pre-season, I believe the home side does indeed come out flat on Opening night.
The pick: A 1-5 stretch during Nov-Dec. would de-rail the Packers last year and they’d go on to finish 6-9-1. Green Bay though is looking to jump-start its offense with Aaron Rodgers under center once again and it welcomes in new head coach Matt LaFleur, who was the offensive coordinator for the Rams and Titans the last two years. Last year these teams split out and everything once again points to a competitive battle this season. The Packers went out and completely re-vamped their defense as well this year and I believe the moves they made in the off-season pay early dividends. Grab the points.
Green Bay Packers 10* play
|02-03-19||Patriots v. Rams +3||Top||13-3||Loss||-115||197 h 50 m||Show|
The set-up: The story lines are well known. The Rams are the up and coming West Coast team that’s backed by a high-powered offense, while the Patriots are one of the most storied franchises in history. I’ve just never been fully convinced by this year’s version of the Patriots. Tom Brady and company beat the Chiefs at home earlier in the year, so the fact that they won last week doesn’t come as a huge surprise despite being the underdog. LA got blasted for 45 points in a loss to New Orleans earlier in the year, but the Rams’ defense came up huge in the 26-23 OT NFC Conference Championship victory. I simply feel that the Rams’ suddenly improving defense, combined with the “one, two” punch of Goff and Gurley will prove to be too much for Bill Belichick.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but New England 2-3 ATS this year already after two or more straight victories ATS, while LA is 3-1 ATS this year after two or more straight wins vs. the spread. Grab the points, expect a nail-biter.
|01-20-19||Patriots v. Chiefs -3||Top||37-31||Loss||-100||151 h 17 m||Show|
The set-up: If you’re betting this game, then you probably don’t need the “overview” of this game. These teams and their strengths/weaknesses are well known by even the most casual NFL fan. The Patriots of course are the most storied team in the league and QB Tom Brady is a lock for the hall of fame. The Patriots rolled to a 41-28 win over the Chargers at home last weekend, but I think they’ll have their hands full in this difficult road venue. The Chiefs smashed the Colts 31-13 at home and after falling 43-40 in New England back on October 18th, I believe they’ll get their revenge here. I’ve never been fully convinced of the Patriots this year and overall from a “situational” stand point, I absolutely feel that this one sets up great for Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes (50 passing TD’s in the regular season!) and the hungry home side.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but New England is just 3-5 ATS on the road this year, while KC is 12-8 ATS in its last 20 as a home favorite of seven points or less. Lay the points, expect a blowout.
|01-13-19||Eagles +10.5 v. Saints||Top||14-20||Win||100||153 h 44 m||Show|
The set-up: I got down early and have a favorable line, but regardless, I love the surging Eagles to catch the Saints a little “flat footed” after their week off. Philadelphia once again defied the odds last weekend with a win in Chicago, as the Bears banged a FG off the cross bar as time expired for the victory. New Orleans went 13-3 in the regular season, but I think that “rest” will lead to “rust” here. The Eagles have been in must win mode for weeks now and that mentality, along with the experience from actually winning the Super Bowl last season, will once again keep this game extremely competitive in my opinion. While the Eagles’ offense dealt with plenty of issues this year, the defense was once again a strength and I think the unit is an overlooked factor here. Note as well that this is an in-season “revenge” game, as Philly was destroyed 48-7 in New Orleans back in Week 11.
The pick: Nick Foles is under center this time for the Eagles though and I think the experience and momentum that he brings to the table is big as well. Take it for what you will as well, but Philly is interestingly 5-1 ATS in its last six after four or more SU victories, while New Orleans is just 3-4 ATS as a home favorite this season and and just 1-4 ATS following a divisional contest. I won’t call for the outright, but look for this one to come down to the wire. Grab the points.
|01-12-19||Colts v. Chiefs -5.5||Top||13-31||Win||100||143 h 41 m||Show|
The set-up: Andrew Luck and the Colts have sure looked impressive over the last month, but I believe their story comes to and tonight. The Chiefs can’t play a lick of defense, but they haven’t had to with their dynamic offense, led by Patrick Mahomes, who set offensive records this year. With a week off to focus and game-plan though, I absolutely expect the Chiefs’ to also “step up” their game defensively as well. Indianapolis averaged 27.1 PPG, while allowing 21.5. The Chiefs averaged 35.3 PPG though and allowed 26.3.
The pick: Mahomes though is the difference maker in my opinion. He finished with 5,097 passing yards with a sharp 50/12 TD/INT. Take it for what you will as well, but despite the Colts recent “up-tick” in play, they’re still only 14-17 ATS in their last 31 as an underdog, while Kansas City is 13-5 ATS in its last 18 after scoring 30 points or more in its last game. In my estimation, everything points to the Colts running out gas this weekend. I’m laying they points.
|12-30-18||Browns +7 v. Ravens||Top||24-26||Win||100||96 h 25 m||Show|
The set-up: The Browns are looking to play spoiler and they come in with plenty of momentum. Outright victory?! It’s not out of the question! In fact, Cleveland already upset the Ravens at home 12-9 in OT earlier in the year. Browns’ rookie QB Baker Mayfield had 284 passing yards and three TD’s vs. the Bengals last week. Cleveland’s defense dominated as well, giving up just 209 total yards. Note that Cleveland has in fact won five of six overall. The Ravens are the better team on paper, but I think they get pushed to the brink here after upset win over the Chargers in LA last weekend.
The pick: The Ravens have struggled against the division as well, going just 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. the AFC North. Note that Baltimore is just 1-4 ATS in its last five at home as well. The Browns on the other hand are 5-1 ATS in the last six after an ATS win. Grab the points.
|12-24-18||Broncos -2.5 v. Raiders||Top||14-27||Loss||-125||57 h 20 m||Show|
The set-up: Two teams playing out their respective seasons collide on Monday night. If these clubs could have a “do over,” they’d clearly both jump on it. Regardless, I think the Broncos will do just enough to gut out the win and cover. The Raiders have nothing to play for here and another loss will only help them in the draft next year. Raiders’ hired Jon Gruden on the off-season last year and his first season has been a disaster. Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph is expected to be fired after his Week 17 matchup with the Chargers, but he’s not going down without a fight: “Absolutely. We want to win,” Joseph said on Monday. “These next two games are important for us to finish the right way. That part is very important to me. It’s about winning. That’s what it’s about. It’s not about losing, it’s about winning. That’s very important to our football team and our coaches.”
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Denver is already 2-0 ATS this year after a loss by 3 points or less, while Oakland is a terrible 4-8 ATS as an underdog. For all the reasons listed above, play on the Broncos.
|12-22-18||Redskins v. Titans -10||Top||16-25||Loss||-115||9 h 50 m||Show|
The set-up: Washington is still in the playoff hunt after holding on for a win against the Jaguars in Week 15, but the Redskins’ chances are still slim, especially considering the significant injuries. The Titans have won three straight over the Jets, Jags and Giants and I think it’ll keep the foot on the gas from start to finish here as well. Not only are the Skins down to their third string QB, but CB Joshua Holsey was lost for the season in last week’s narrow victory. Tennessee on the other hand is getting steady play from QB Marcus Mariota, while getting superb play from RB Derrick Henry. The Titans though are now No. 2 in the NFL in scoring defense after allowing just one TD over their past 12 quarters of play.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Washington is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight after allowing 14 points or less in its last game, while Tennessee is 4-2 ATS at home this year and 8-5 ATS in its last 13 as a home favorite. Lay the points, expect a rout.
|12-16-18||Eagles +13 v. Rams||Top||30-23||Win||100||36 h 12 m||Show|
The set-up: Nick Foles is back under center for the Eagles and with nothing to lose except another game, I like the defending champs to give the Rams everything they can handle this weekend. Philly lost 29-23 in OT to Dallas last weekend, while the Rams look very susceptible after their poor 15-6 road loss in Chicago. The Eagles only average 21.6 PPG, but they make up for it on the other end by allowing 22.7. The Rams average 32.7 PPG, but they allow 24.1.
The pick: After their red hot start, the Rams appear to be running out of gas. Especially RB Todd Gurley. With the offense becoming more one-dimensional than ever, LA could struggle to post the same offensive efficiency down the stretch. Take it for what you will as well, but the Eagles are still 4-2 ATS in their last six on the road. I’m grabbing all those points!
|12-16-18||Packers v. Bears -5||Top||17-24||Win||100||42 h 5 m||Show|
The set-up: I like the Bears to take care of business at home today. The Packers kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 34-20 win over hapless Atlanta last weekend, while Chicago enters off a hard-fought and impressive 15-6 home win over the high-flying Rams. If LA couldn’t move the ball last week, I have a hard time seeing Aaron Rodgers and his patchwork unit posting much production either. Overall the Packers average 24.2 PPG and they allow 23.6. The Bears are averaging 27.6 PPG and they’re allowing just 19. That ranks third in the league. The Packers are simply too one-dimensional to fool this talented Bears defense.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Green Bay is already only 1-3 ATS this year as a road underdog, while Chicago is a perfect 5-0 ATS at home as a favorite. With a chance to end the Packers’ season, look for the home side to lay the hammer down. Lay the points.
|12-09-18||Colts +5 v. Texans||Top||24-21||Win||100||97 h 35 m||Show|
The set-up: The Colts play with revenge here after falling 37-34 in OT at home to the Texans in Week 4. Houston’s been almost unbeatable since that game, but Andrew Luck and Indianapolis has made great strides this year on both sides of the ball. The Colts were stymied 6-0 last week vs. Jacksonville, but there’s no reason not to think that Luck and company can’t bounce back and return to their normal form. The Texans continue to find ways to win, but I think they’ll have their hands full today vs. a Colts team that will be desperate for an upset and to avenge the earlier setback. These teams are very evenly matched.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Indianapolis is 4-1 ATS in its last five in revenging a home loss vs. an opponent, while Houston is just 1-2 ATS in its last three after two straight SU home victories. Grab the points.
|12-06-18||Jaguars +4.5 v. Titans||Top||9-30||Loss||-115||32 h 5 m||Show|
The set-up: Jacksonville plays with revenge. It’s also looking to put a nail in the coffin to the Titans season with a victory here. The Jags slowed won the Colts in last week’s 6-0 win. They came up short at home in September vs. the Titans, falling 9-6, but with nothing to lose, I think the visitors will once again keep it competitive this week. The Titans could barely get past the Jets last week at home (26-22) and I think they’ll have their hands full today against this revenge minded and much improved Jags’ defensive unit.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Jacksonville is interestingly 5-1 ATS in its last six in revenging an extremely close loss of three points or less, while Tennessee is just 9-11 ATS in its last 20 as a favorite (including 0-2 ATS this season.) Grab the points.
|12-02-18||Chargers +3.5 v. Steelers||Top||33-30||Win||100||34 h 22 m||Show|
The set-up: These teams are very evenly matched. The Steelers missed RB LeVeon Bell last week and they’re going to again today as well. After winning three straight, the Steelers came up short in Denver last weekend. LA though enters off a blowout win over the Cardinals and I don’t think there’s any reason not to think that veteran pivot Phillip Rivers can’t carry that momentum over here facing this Steelers unit which struggled last weekend.
The pick: Note as well that LA is 4-1 ATS in its last five on the road and 3-1 ATS in its last four following a two game home stand, while Pittsburgh is just 3-4 ATS as a favorite this season. Grab the points and expect a “nail biter.”
|11-26-18||Titans +7 v. Texans||Top||17-34||Loss||-140||55 h 29 m||Show|
The set-up: After an 0-3 start, Houston comes out of its bye week having won six straight. I think the time off will ultimately throw a “monkey wrench” into the chemistry and I look for the hungry Titans to keep this one competitive until the final moments. Houston holds a two game lead over both Tennessee and Indianapolis, so this is a crucial game for the visitors. Tennessee destroyed the Patriots, but it couldn’t keep that momentum going in a 28-10 loss to the Colts last weekend. But with their season essentially on the line, I think the Titans bounce back this week.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Tennessee is 9-4 ATS in its last 13 vs. teams with winning records, while Houston is just 3-6 ATS in its last nine after two or more consecutive victories. Grab the points.
|11-18-18||Vikings +3 v. Bears||Top||20-25||Loss||-120||150 h 19 m||Show|
The set-up: Outright upset? Clearly not out of the question. Minnesota most recently won 24-9 at home over Detroit two weeks ago and I think it has a legitimate shot at taking this one outright. Chicago looks primed for a letdown here as well after its 34-22 win over Detroit last weekend. Overall the Vikes are averaging 24.6 PPG and they’re allowing 22.7. The Bears are averaging 29.9 PPG and they’re allowing 19.4.
The pick: Take it for what you will though, but Chicago is just 8-18-1 ATS in its last 27 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, while Minnesota is 5-1 ATS in its last six coming off a win in which it held its opponent under ten points and following its bye. Grab the points.
|11-18-18||Broncos +7.5 v. Chargers||Top||23-22||Win||100||147 h 20 m||Show|
The set-up: The Broncos come in out of their bye hungry as they’ve lost two straight. The Chargers though could be a bit complacent here after their big win over the Raiders last week.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well but Denver is 3-1 ATS in its last four after two or more SU/ATS losses, while LA is just 8-11 ATS in its last 19 at home and only 9-10 ATS in its last 19 as a favorite. I think LA has a letdown here after last weeks win, while Denver comes in focused after its bye. Grab the points.
|11-11-18||Cowboys +7 v. Eagles||Top||27-20||Win||100||149 h 0 m||Show|
The set-up: Eagles are winning and the Cowboys are losing. Dak Prescott and Dallas won’t go down without a fight here though. The Eagles have won three straight, while the Cowboys have dropped tow in a row. In last week’s 28-14 loss to Tennessee, newly acquired WR Amari Cooper had 58 yards and a TD. He’ll bring some depth to the passing game, which will in turn help out Ezekiel Elliot and the ground game. QB Dak Prescott had 248 yards and two TD passes in last week’s loss. The Eagles come in “rusty” here out of their bye in my opinion.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Philly is just 6-8 ATS in its last 14 as a favorite in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range and only 6-7 ATS in its last 13 vs. division opponents, while Dallas is 3-1 ATS in its last four after two or more consecutive SU losses. Grab the points and expect a “nail biter.”
|11-08-18||Panthers v. Steelers -3.5||Top||21-52||Win||100||79 h 42 m||Show|
The set-up: Both teams come in rolling. Carolina enters off three straight wins, most recently a 42-28 victory over Tampa Bay, while Pittsburgh has won four straight, most recently a 23-16 win over Baltimore. These teams are very similar, with dynamic and capable QB’s who each have plenty of weapons to utilize. But Newton has struggled against the elite defenses throughout his career and I think that trend carries over here at Heinz Field.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well the Panthers are a terrible 3-8 ATS in their last 11 after two or more consecutive SU victories, while Pittsburgh is a perfect 2-0 ATS in its last two Thursday night contests. Lay the points and expect a rout.
|11-04-18||Packers +6 v. Patriots||Top||17-31||Loss||-115||96 h 1 m||Show|
The set-up: I think Aaron Rodgers and the stumbling Green Bay Packers can keep this one respectable on Sunday night. Green Bay came up just short in a massive upset in LA last weekend and with their backs against the wall, I think the Packers bring that same intensity here on Sunday night. The Pats have won three straight and are off a short week after hammering the Bills in Buffalo on Monday night.
The teams: Packers’ QB Aaron Jones had 86 yards and a TD last week. Rodgers was his usual dominant self and the defense was decent considering the opponent, posting five sacks and eight QB hits.
New England wasn’t challenged last week. It didn’t need starting RB Sony Michale last weekend, but I think his absence this Sunday will be more significant against this desperate visiting side.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well but Green Bay is 5-2 ATS in its last seven as a road dog in the 3.5 to seven points range, while New England is just already just 2-3 ATS this year as a favorite in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range. Grab the points.
|11-04-18||Chargers +2 v. Seahawks||Top||25-17||Win||100||92 h 45 m||Show|
The set-up: Both teams come in playing well, but I think the extra week off to rest and prepare for this one will be the difference for Philip Rives and the visiting Chargers.
The teams: LA comes in on top form having won four straight, most recently a 20-19 win over the Titans in London. Rivers has 2,009 passing yards and an elite 17/3 TD:INT
Seattle has won four of five after an 0-2 start. But after sweeping a two game road trip, including a 28-14 victory in Detroit last Sunday, I think the Hawks suffer a predictable letdown here on the return to friendly soil.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but LA is a perfect 3-0 ATS as a road favorite of three points or less and a perfect 3-0 ATS in its last three following its bye, while Seattle is just 4-7 ATS in its last 11 after two or more consecutive SU wins. Play on LA.
|11-04-18||Falcons +2 v. Redskins||Top||38-14||Win||100||89 h 42 m||Show|
The set-up: Washington comes in dog tired here after three straight victories, while the Falcons return to action fresh off their bye week and two straight victories. I expect the visitors to sneak away with an outright victory today.
The teams: The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the hurting Falcons. Atlanta still has plenty of injury issues to deal with, but Matt Ryan and his WR core remains in tact and I think the unit will be a difference maker this afternoon.
The Redskins comes in off a 20-13 win over the lowly Giants, with aging RB Adrian Peterson going for a season-high 149 yards. Suffice it to say, I don’t think AP is going to match that pace again in back-to-back weeks.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well but ATL is 3-1 ATS in its last four following its bye week and 8-5 ATS in its last 13 after two or more consecutive SU victories, while Washington is just 2-3 ATS in its last five off a win against a conference rival. I like a rested Ryan to pull off the upset Sunday afternoon.
|11-04-18||Lions +5 v. Vikings||Top||9-24||Loss||-113||89 h 42 m||Show|
The set-up: Detroit enters off a 28-14 home loss to Seattle, while Minnesota comes in off a 30-20 home loss to the Saints.
The teams: The Lions last road game ended in a 32-21 Week 6 victory in Miami. While it struggled against the Seahawks last week, I think Detroit will have its opportunities today against Vikes’ defense which has been exposed. Overall the Lions are averaging 24.4 points and allowing 26.6.
Minnesota is averaging 24.6 PPG and allowing 24.4. Kirk Cousins remains a bright spot on the team with a 16/4 TD/INT, but the once vaunted league leading defense is now firmly planted in the middle of the pack.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but the Vikes are just 1-4 ATS the last five in this series, while the Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last five on the road. Detroit has played well on the road this year, averaging 27.7 PPG away from friendly confines. Grab the points.
|11-04-18||Steelers v. Ravens -2.5||Top||23-16||Loss||-125||89 h 40 m||Show|
The set-up: Pittsburgh lost 26-14 in this matchup at home earlier in the year and I think it’ll have its hands full in this hostile environment Sunday as well. The Steelers are poised for a letdown here in my opinion after three straight wins. Conversely, it’s all hands on deck this week for Baltimore after losing three of its last four, including a 36-21 setback at Carolina last weekend.
The teams: The Steelers are averaging 418.1 YPG on offense, while allowing 359.7 YPG. Note there’s a major concern about QB Ben Roethlisberger who fractured his index finger on his left hand.
Baltimore is only allowing 293.8 YPG. The offense is averaging 379.3 YPG. Last week the defense struggled against Cam Newton, but the unit catches a break this week facing the lumbering (and now injured) Roethlisberger.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Pittsburgh is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight trying to revenge a loss against an opponent, while Baltimore is 4-2 ATS in its last six after two or more SU losses. I’m banking on the more desperate team getting the job done today. Lay the points.
|10-29-18||Patriots -13 v. Bills||Top||25-6||Win||100||12 h 28 m||Show|
The set-up: Tom Brady is 28-3 all time against Buffalo and while he won’t have offensive star TE Rob Gronkowski in the line-up, I still believe the all star will have more than enough to take care of the lowly (and injured) Bills.
The teams: After a 1-2 start the Pats come in having won four straight. Last week Brady threw for 277 yards and three TD’s in the victory over the Bears. WR Josh Gordon had four catches for 100 yards. Sony Michel is also expected to sit this one out, so expect to see a heavy dose of James White.
The Bills are dealing with several injuries, including at QB. Buffalo is already planning ahead to next year and I believe it’ll simply go through the motions tonight.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well but the Pats are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 after two or more consecutive victories, while Buffalo is just 10-13 ATS in its last 13 as an underdog. Lay the points and expect a rout.
|10-28-18||Colts -3 v. Raiders||Top||42-28||Win||100||25 h 49 m||Show|
The set-up: Oakland only has one victory on the season and I think it’ll struggle containing Andrew Luck, who continues to gain confidence each week, despite being undermanned on both sides of the ball.
The teams: Luck had 156 yards and four TD’s in last week’s blowout win at home over the hapless Bills. Marlon Mack ran for 126 yards and a TD. Luck is getting improved play from his offensive line and I think that progression continues this week in what sets up as another favorable matchup.
Oakland coach Jon Gruden was signed to a ten year contract, so he’s gutting the team and rebuilding it the way he sees fit. Gruden’s indecision across the board has hurt the team in the short-term and probably in the long-term as well.
The pick: Take it for what you will, but note that Oakland is just 1-3-1 ATS in its last five at home, while Indianapolis is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 games on the road against teams with a losing home record. I like Luck to lay the hammer down and further expose Gruden’s complete ineptitude. Lay the points.
|10-28-18||Broncos +11 v. Chiefs||Top||23-30||Win||100||116 h 21 m||Show|
The set-up: Denver enters off a 45-10 win over Arizona and I think it’ll have its chances today against the Chiefs vanilla defense. Kansas City enters off a 45-10 win over Cincinnati, one week after coming up short in New England. Note that this is a revenge game for Denver after the Chiefs posted a 27-23 road win in Week 4.
The teams: Denver is averaging 23.6 PPG and it’s allowing 23.4. QB Case Keenum has 1,848 passing yards and an 8/9 TD:INT. The defense dominated last week, limiting the Cards to just 223 total yards.
KC is averaging 37.1 PPG and allowing 26. Patrick Mahomes has been unbelievable with 2,223 passing yards and a 22/5 TD:INT, but I think he’ll have his hands full today with this veteran Broncos defense.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but KC is still just 4-6 ATS in its last ten against teams with losing records. Denver took the Chiefs best shot they had and almost prevailed. I’m expecting a similar “war” here as well. Grab the points.
|10-28-18||Jets v. Bears -7.5||Top||10-24||Win||100||22 h 45 m||Show|
The set-up: Chicago is 3-3 and in desperate need of a victory this week to keep pace in the competitive NFC North. Thankfully the Jets are coming to town, as New York continues to deal with a number of injuries on both sides of the ball. This one has “blowout” written all over it in my opinion.
The teams: The Bears enter off a 38-31 loss to the Pats, as QB Mitch Trubisky continued his fine season with 333 passing yards and two TD’s. Chicago remains one of the best on the defensive side of the ball and Khalil Mack and company look poised for a big night against the Jets patchwork front.
Jets’ QB Sam Darnold was just 17 of 42 for 206 yards, one TD and three INT’s in last week’s blowout loss to the Vikes. The Jets also lost the services of RB Bilal Powell to injury.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but New York is 0-4-1 ATS in its last five games played on “grass,” while Chicago is 11-4-1 ATS in its last 15 at home and 11-5-1 ATS in its last 17 after allowing more than 350 total yards in its previous game. Lay the points.
|10-28-18||Browns +8 v. Steelers||Top||18-33||Loss||-105||22 h 45 m||Show|
The set-up: Pittsburgh has won two straight, but I think it’ll have enough of a “letdown” here to let the hungry Browns sneak in through the back door down the stretch. Cleveland comes in off a tight 26-23 OT loss to Tampa Bay, while Pittsburgh scored the difficult 28-21 road win over the Bengals. Note that these teams played to a 21-21 tie in Week 1.
The teams: Cleveland is averaging 21.6 PPG and it’s allowing 25.3. QB Baker Mayfield has 1,291 passing yards and a 6/5 TD:INT. The Browns looked sharp defensively, posting four sacks and two INT’s against the high-flying Bucs.
Pittsburgh is averaging 28.5 PPG, but it’s allowing 25.7. QB Ben Roethlisberger has 2,033 passing yards and a mediocre 12:6 TD/INT on the season.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Pittsburgh is just 1-8 ATS in its last nine following a SU win, while Cleveland is 3-0-1 ATS the last four in this series. No outright, but expect a battle until the end. Grab the points.
|10-22-18||Giants v. Falcons -3.5||Top||20-23||Loss||-110||12 h 16 m||Show|
The set-up: The winner of this game will keep its slim playoff hopes alive, while the loser will officially be eliminated from contention. I think home field advantage will prove to be a big difference maker in this one. Atlanta is just 2-3, but it held on for a 34-29 win over Tampa last weekend, while New York comes in with a 1-5 record.
The teams: The Giants most recently fell 34-13 at home to the Eagles. RB Saquon Barkley was a bright spot with 100 yards rushing and 99 yards receiving. But the tension between WR Odell Beckham Jr. and QB Eli Manning is real, as the coaching staff continues to move away from having their all star pivot from throwing down the field.
The Falcons continue to look horrible defensively, but the offense continues to put up decent numbers and I have a hard time seeing the Giants keeping pace down the stretch. Last week Matt Ryan had 354 yards passing with three TD’s. Overall he has 1,432 passing with 12 TD’s and an INT.
The pick: The good news for the Falcons? They’re only 2.5 games behind the Saints in the NFC South and this is the start of four very “winnable” games for them as well, with three contests against the NFC East and also the Cleveland Browns. Take it for what you will as well, but New York is just 3-6 ATS in its last nine as a road dog in the 3.5 to 7 points range, while ATL is 5-2 ATS in its last seven as a home favorite in the 3.5 to 7 points range. Lay the points.
|10-21-18||Cowboys v. Redskins||Top||17-20||Win||100||48 h 17 m||Show|
The set-up: These division rivals are very evenly matched, but I think the Cowboys will stumble in this difficult road venue. Both teams enter with identical 3-3 records.
The teams: Dallas comes in off a 40-7 win over a road-weary Jacksonville team. I’m not going to read too much into the victory though and I do believe regression is imminent here as the team has shown a propensity to struggle away from friendly confines already this season. Overall the Cowboys are averaging 20.5 PPG and allowing 17.2.
Washington is averaging 21.2 PPG and it’s allowing 20.9. Last week Alex Smith had 163 yards with two TD’s and no INT’s. I think the veteran pivot will have some opportunities today in front of the home town crowd as well.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Dallas is just 2-8 ATS in its last ten after scoring 40 points or more in its previous contest. Divisional battles are always the most important and they always mean more to the home side. Lay the points.
|10-21-18||Patriots v. Bears +3||Top||38-31||Loss||-115||45 h 52 m||Show|
The set-up: The Patriots look poised for a letdown here in my opinion after their epic shootout victory at home over the Chiefs last Sunday night. The Bears recent momentum was stopped in a humbling loss to Miami last week and I believe they’ll bounce back and find a way to defend Soldier Field.
The teams: Tom Brady faced the league’s worst pass defense last week and he shredded it. It was a dream match-up and the legend delivered the goods. But we’ve already seen Brady struggle this year in difficult road venues against capable defenses.
And Khalil Mack and the Bears’ defense at home is an entirely different “animal” than KC. Brady may have looked great last weekend, but what looked horrible for New England was its defense. The unit is lucky that Brady played as well as he did, otherwise the Chiefs would still be undefeated. Suffice it to say, I think that Bears’ QB Mitch Trubisky will have his opportunities today.
The pick: The Bears have yet to lose at home this year and I believe that trend continues. And take it for what you will as well, but note that Chicago is 4-1 ATS in its last five as a home dog of three points or less. Play on the Bears.
|10-21-18||Vikings -3.5 v. Jets||Top||37-17||Win||100||45 h 52 m||Show|
The set-up: The Vikes come in off a 27-12 home win over the Cardinals and I look for the team to carry that momentum over here. New York enters off a 42-34 home victory over Indianapolis, but it now faces one of its most challenging defenses of the season. In my opinion, this one has “blowout” written all over it.
The teams: Vikes’ QB Kirk Cousins had 233 passing yards with one TD and one INT last week. So far he has 1,921 passing yards with a sharp 12/3 TD:INT. RB LaTavius Murray had 155 rushing yards in the victory. The defense was tremendous, holding the Cards to just 269 total yards, including only 61 rushing yards.
Jets’ QB Sam Darnold has a 9/7 TD:INT after going for 280 yards and two TD’s last weekend. While the offense looked decent though, note that the defense allowed 428 total yards.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but the Jets are just 1-5 ATS in their last six after scoring 30 or more points in their previous game, while the Vikes are 7-3 ATS in their last ten on the road. The Vikes come in with momentum, taking out the Eagles on the road and then the Cards at home. Look for New York to take a predicable step back this week and lay the points.
|10-21-18||Titans +7 v. Chargers||Top||19-20||Win||100||41 h 22 m||Show|
The set-up: I think a trip across the pond does the Titans good after their worst offensive performance in a decade. Conversely, I believe this trip will be detrimental to the Chargers’ recent chemistry. I’m not calling for an outright victory, but Marcus Mariota and the Titans definitely have something to prove this weekend after last Sunday’s performance.
The teams: Despite last week’s 21-0 loss to Baltimore (the Ravens own the leagues’ No. 1 defense), Tennessee is still tied atop the AFC South.
LA comes in complacent in my opinion after winning three straight, most recently a 38-14 victory at Cleveland. Melvin Gordon was a standout with 132 yards rushing and three TD’s.
The pick: Take it for what you will, but Tennessee is 6-3 ATS in its last nine as an underdog in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range and 4-0 ATS in its last four after two or more consecutive SU losses, while LA is just 3-4 ATS in its last seven after two or more consecutive SU victories and only 7-9 ATS in its last 16 as a favorite. Grab the points.
|10-14-18||Bucs v. Falcons -3||Top||29-34||Win||100||120 h 1 m||Show|
The set-up: The Falcons have lost three in a row. This has essentially become a “must win” game for the Falcons, as another loss to a divisional foe and a 1-5 record would be too much of a hole for them to climb out of. Tampa started the year on fire, but it went into its “bye week” off two straight losses. And now the Bucs welcome back Jameis Winston under center, a situation which will surely need some time to develop property chemistry. In my opinion, the stage is set for a lop-sided home blowout victory.
The teams: Tampa’s defense though is the main reason why I believe that Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan and company can bounce back today. Last year the Bucs were last in the league in the pass rush, and this season they’re ranked 30th.
Despite the 1-4 record, Ryan continues to put up impressive numbers with 1,601 passing yards so far, ranked 7th overall.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but the Bucs are a terrible 1-4 ATS in their last five road games against teams with losing home records, while the Falcons are 7-2 ATS in their last nine after two or more SU losses, including a loss to a divisional foe in their most recent. As mentioned off the top, this one has “rout” written all over it. Lay the points.
|10-14-18||Cardinals v. Vikings -10||Top||17-27||Push||0||120 h 0 m||Show|
The set-up: Arizona comes in off a 28-18 divisional road win over San Francisco and I think it’ll stumble in this difficult venue. Minnesota enters off a much-needed and confidence building 23-21 over Philadelphia and I look for it carry that momentum over here. The teams: Despite last weeks victory the Cardinals are still averaging only 13 PPG. The defense has been decent in allowing 22.4. Rookie QB Josh Rosen so far has 386 passing yards and a 2/1 TD/INT. The Vikes are averaging 22.6 PPG and they’re allowing 26.5. QB Kirk Cousins had 301 yards and a TD in last week’s victory and he so far has 1,688 passing yards, along with an 11/2 TD/INT. The pick: The Vikes’ defense looked a lot better last week, giving up just two TD passes. Take it for what you will as well, but Minnesota is 17-6 ATS in its last 23 home games against teams with losing road records and 8-2 ATS in its last ten games after posting 250 passing yards in its previous game, while Arizona is only 3-12-1 ATS in its last 16 following a SU victory. I’m banking on a blowout from start to finish. Lay the points.
|10-14-18||Seahawks v. Raiders +3||Top||27-3||Loss||-115||120 h 60 m||Show|
The set-up: I like the Raiders to find a way to get the job done in London Sunday. Oakland is 1-4 and it’s playing for its playoff life today. Seattle is the perfect opponent to get untracked against in my opinion though, as it had won two in a row before a crushing home loss to the division rival Rams last weekend. The teams: The Seahawks opened up their offense last week, but it still wasn’t enough to get the job done against the Rams. As good as Seattle’s offense looked against a shaky Rams’ defense, is as poor as the Hawks defense performed. And I think that’s a major issue heading into this matchup against this hungry non-conference foe. Marshawn Lynch gets to face his old team for the first time. Raiders’ QB Derek Carr has been above average this season and I believe he’ll have plenty of opportunities today against this clearly struggling Seattle secondary. The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Seattle is just 9-14 ATS in its last 23 as a favorite and only 3-4 ATS in its last seven non-conference games, while Oakland is 12-6 ATS in its last 18 games when the line in the game is between +3 and -3 and 3-1 ATS in its last four off a loss against a division rival. Grab the points and expect a “nail biter.”
|10-11-18||Eagles v. Giants +3||Top||34-13||Loss||-105||55 h 21 m||Show|
The set-up: The Giants lost 33-31 last week on a last second 61 FG by Graham Gano in Carolina last weekend. I’m expecting New York to bounce back here and take out its frustrations on a clearly struggling Eagles team. New York is only 1-4, but the Eagles are just 2-3 and they also come in with more questions than answers. An outright win? Of course it’s not out of the question. In the end though, I’m grabbing the points. The teams: New York is still only 1.5 games behind Washington which sits at 2-2, so it’s still very much in the race in the NFC “L”East. Philadelphia is 29th in the NFL with 395 penalty yards and its turnover margin is a horrible minus-four. The Eagles red zone offense is just 38.5 percent in three games since Carson Wentz returned: “I’m concerned,” lamented Eagles tight end Zach Ertz after Sunday’s contest. “It’s not where we thought we would be.” The pick: To add insult to injury, Philadelphia RBY Jay Ajayi, the one standout each week, tore his ACL on Sunday. Take it for what you will as well, but Philadelphia is just 7-11 ATS in its last 18 on the road and just 5-7 ATS in its last 12 against the division. The defending champs are ripe for the picking (but grab the points!)
|10-08-18||Redskins +6 v. Saints||Top||19-43||Loss||-108||21 h 37 m||Show|
|10-07-18||Cowboys v. Texans -3||Top||16-19||Push||0||28 h 4 m||Show|
The set-up: Both teams won last week, but I think the Texans will find a way to defend their home field. Dallas held on for a 26-24 home win over Detroit, while Houston prevailed 37-34 in OT over the Colts.
The teams: Despite last week’s decent effort, the Cowboys are still averaging only 16.8 PPG. The team’s strength is clearly on the defensive side of the ball as it’s allow only 19.2 PPG. Dak Prescott had 255 yards and two TD’s last week, while Ezekiel Elliot had 152 rushing yards.
Houston QB DeShaun Watson had 375 yards, two TD’s and an INT last week. Like their counterparts today though, the Texans’ have struggled at times on both sides of the ball.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Houston is 5-2 ATS in its last seven after scoring 37 or more points in its previous contest, while Dallas is just 12-26-1 ATS in its last 39 on field turf. Lay the points.
|10-07-18||Titans v. Bills +5.5||Top||12-13||Win||100||21 h 45 m||Show|
The set-up: Tennessee comes in tired in my opinion after its 26-23 OT win over Philadelphia, while the Bills come in focused and hungry after their humbling 22-0 road loss in Green Bay. Clearly the “outright” isn’t out of the question, but I’m grabbing the points in a game which I envision coming right down to the wire.
The teams: The Titans are averaging only 18.8 PPG, but they’re allowing just 18.2. Last week they had to rally from a 17-3 deficit to knock off the defending champs. QB Marcus Marriota was a stand out with 344 passing yards, two TD’s and an INT. The defense is the strength of the team, but it looked pretty pedestrian last week in allowing 315 passing yards.
The Bills are averaging only 12.5 PPG while allowing 26.5. So far rookie QB Josh Allen has 666 passing yards and a 2/4 TD:INT.
The pick: Take it for what you will though, but Tennessee is just 2-6 ATS in its last eight as a favorite in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range and only 6-11 ATS when playing against a team with a losing record, while Buffalo is 7-2 ATS in its last nine home games after getting shutout in its previous outing. I think the more “desperate” team takes this one down to the wire. Grab the points.
|10-07-18||Giants +7 v. Panthers||Top||31-33||Win||100||21 h 45 m||Show|
The set-up: Carolina enters off its bye week and I think it’ll get caught flat-footed here, just enough to allow the desperate Giants to sneak in through the back door.
The teams: New York is averaging 18.2 PPG and it’s struggled on the defensive side of the ball as well. Hence the 1-3 record. RB Saquon Barkley has been a bright spot though, he so far has 453 yards from scrimmage.
Fortunately for the Giants they face a Carolina offense which is averaging just 203.7 yards passing per game. The defense is weak against the run as well, allowing 110 yards per game on 4.93 yards per carry.
The pick: And that doesn’t bode well facing Barkley and this underachieving Giants offense. Take it for what you will as well, but Carolina is 0-4 ATS in its last four home games as a favorite in the 3.5 to seven points range. Expect a battle to the end and grab the points.
|10-04-18||Colts +10.5 v. Patriots||Top||24-38||Loss||-110||22 h 18 m||Show|
The set-up: The Pats broke a two-game slide with a 38-7 win over Miami last Sunday, while the Colts came up on the short end of the stick in a 37-34 OT setback at Houston last Sunday. These teams haven’t played since 2015.
The teams: Indianapolis had a 478-466 edge in offense last week, but it just wasn’t to be in the end. QB Andrew Luck so far has 1,126 yards, nine TD’s and three INT’s. Adam Vinatieri continues to be a steady source of production as well, hitting all eight extra points and eight nine field goals with a long of 51.
The Pats smashed the Dolphins last week with a 449-172 yardage advantage. So far QB Tom Brady has an unremarkable 918 yards with nine TD’s and four INT’s. RB Sony Michels has 196 yards and a TD.
The pick: Take it for what you will, but Indianapolis is 7-5 ATS in its last 12 as an underdog in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range (including 2-0 ATS this season) and 9-7 ATS in its last 16 on the road (including 2-0 ATS this year), while New England is a horrible 0-4 ATS in its last four as a home favorite in the 7.5 to ten points range. I think Luck will match Brady. Grab the points.
|10-01-18||Chiefs -3.5 v. Broncos||Top||27-23||Win||100||11 h 4 m||Show|
The set-up: The Chiefs are 3-0 and feature the most explosive offense in the league. While the defense has been a weak point, KC catches a break this week facing the inconsistent Broncos. I think the Chiefs keep the foot on the gas in Week 4 and pull away down the stretch for a comfortable cover.
The teams: KC is seventh in total offense with 398.3 YPG.Denver is 21st in the league in pass defense, allowing 262.7 YPG through the air. The Chiefs already have 15 pass plays that covered at least 20 yards this season. Broncos’ QB Case Keenum has three TD’s and five INT’s and his passing yards have declined each week (last week he was 22 of 34 for 173 yards and an INT in the loss to the Ravens.)
The pick: The Chiefs are 4-1 ATS in their last five MNF contests, while Denver is just 2-7-2 ATS in its last 11 MNF appearances. Lay the points and expect a rout, play on Kansas City.
|09-30-18||Ravens v. Steelers -3||Top||26-14||Loss||-115||80 h 44 m||Show|
The set-up: Pittsburgh comes in off a big win over the Bucs last week, but it’ll still be desperate to avoid a 1-3 start. Baltimore though has struggled on the road over the last few years and after beating the Broncos at home last week, I think it’ll predictably stumble here.
The teams: Ravens’ RB Alex Collins has yet to post a 100 yard game and Baltimore ranks among the worst rushing offenses in the league. QB Joe Flacco continues to look decent one game and horrible the next. Pittsburgh has struggled against the run, but Baltimore’s one-dimensional offense isn’t going to fool the home side I don’t think tonight.
Pittsburgh had/has plenty of off-field drama to contend with with player hold-outs, but it took a big step in the right direction in last weeks convincing victory over Tampa Bay. Big Ben looked sharp under center and I think the pivot carries that momentum over here.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Baltimore is just 1-4 ATS in its last five against teams with losing records. I think Flacco struggles in this difficult venue and I look for Roethlisberger and company to step up on the National stage. Lay the points.
|09-30-18||49ers v. Chargers -10||Top||27-29||Loss||-110||76 h 44 m||Show|
The set-up: Both teams come in at 1-2 and each will be hungry for a victory here. The only difference is, the 49ers lost the services of starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo for the remainder of the season to injury last week. I think veteran QB Phillip Rivers takes full advantage and puts the pressure on the visitors from start to finish.
The teams: San Fran enters off a 38-27 loss to KC. Not only is Garoppolo out, but so too is defensive specialist Richard Sherman with a quad injury.
LA comes in off a 12 point loss to the Rams. Rivers already has 906 yards, eight TD’s and one INT, while Melvin Gordon has 172 yards and two scores on the ground. WR Keenan Allen has 219 receiving yards and a TD as well.
The pick: Take it for what you will, but LA is 7-1-1 ATS in its last nine after allowing more than 30 points in its previous game, while San Fran is interestingly just 1-8 ATS in its last nine after posting more than 150 yards rushing in its previous outing. Look for the Chargers to go straight for the jugular. Lay the points.
|09-30-18||Dolphins +7.5 v. Patriots||Top||7-38||Loss||-140||72 h 20 m||Show|
The set-up: Miami is 3-0 to open the season and it’ll be looking to kick New England when its down. The Pats enter off a horrible 26-10 road loss to Detroit and I think they’re ripe for the picking here. The outright isn’t out of the question. Note that New England took the first game last season 35-17, before the Fish countered with a 27-20 home win in the second.
The teams: Miami’ QB Ryan Tannehill had 289 passing yards and three TD’s in a victory over the Raiders. He now has 687 passing yards and a 7:2 TD/INT. WR Kenny Still had 61 receiving yards last week and overall he has 184. Miami is averaging 25 PPG and it’s allowing 17.3 (good for sixth.)
New England’s season will essentially be over if it falls to 1-3. Miami can smell the blood in the water and will look to take advantage of a Patriots team which is averaging 19 PPG and allowing 25.7 (21st overall).
The pick: Take it for what you will, but the Pats are just 1-4 ATS in their last five after posting less than 150 passing yards in their previous game, while the Fish are 4-1 ATS in their last five following a SU victory. “The Changing Of The Guard” is happening right before our eyes. Get ready for it. But grab the points just in case!
|09-30-18||Texans v. Colts -1||Top||37-34||Loss||-120||72 h 19 m||Show|
The set-up: Houston enters off a 27-22 home loss to the Giants, while Indianapolis returns home after a 20-16 loss to the Eagles. Note that the Colts took both meetings from the Texans last year. And that was without Andrew Luck. The teams: While the Texans rank eighth in the NFL in YPG with an average of 396.3, that production has not translated into much scoring so far. Houston is essentially already out of playoff contention after starting the year 0-3. QB DeShaun Watson has a 5:3 TD/INT. Last week the defense surrendered 379 total yards. The Texans average 19.7 points and they allow 24.7. Indianapolis is averaging 20 PPG and it’s allowing 21. Luck has 662 passing yards and a 5:3 TD/INT. TY Hilton so far has 179 receiving yards. The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Houston is just 4-7 ATS in its last 11 against teams with losing records, while Indianapolis is 6-3 ATS in its last nine against clubs with losing records. With a chance to stick a final nail in the Texans coffin, I look for Luck and the home side to find a way to get the job done here.
|09-30-18||Bills +10.5 v. Packers||Top||0-22||Loss||-120||72 h 19 m||Show|
The set-up: Buffalo comes in off a commanding 27-6 road win over Minnesota last week and I think it’ll carry that confidence and momentum over here. Green Bay comes in dejected after it’s 31-17 road loss to Washington.
The teams: Buffalo is averaging 16.7 PPG and it’s allowing 28. Those numbers are a bit skewed though I think after two really horrible games to open the season. With QB Josh Allen finally getting comfortable, clearly the Bills looked a lot better last week. Allen was 15 of 22 for 196 yards, one TD and he also added two more rushing TD’s. The defense also rebounded in a big way and it’ll have some opportunities to make some plays today too I think.
Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers had 265 passing yards with two TD’s. He played with a brace on his knee and he was seen many times hobbling around. The run game mustered a paltry 87 yards. overall the Pack is averaging 23.3 PPG and it’s allowing 27.7.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Green Bay is just 4-9 ATS in its last 13 following a SU loss, while Buffalo is 8-2 ATS in its last ten after allowing less than 15 points in its previous contest. I’ll even recommend “sprinkling a little” on the money line. That said, grab the points!
|09-23-18||Patriots -6 v. Lions||Top||10-26||Loss||-110||125 h 27 m||Show|
The set-up: Detroit is desperate for a win at 0-2, but the Patriots are coming off a humbling 31-20 road loss in Jacksonville and they’ll be eager to deliver the knock-out blow to the Lions here. The teams: NE QB Tom Brady had 234 passing yards and two TD’s last week, but it wasn’t enough as his defense would uncharacteristically struggle. Brady has 511 yards and a 5/1 TD:INT after two weeks. So far the Pats are averaging 23.5 PPG and allowing 25.5. Detroit is averaging 22 PPG and it’s allowing 39 PPG. That’s dead last in the NFL. Last week it allowed 190 rushing to Matt Breida of the 49ers. The pass defense was decent, but No. 1 CB Darius Slay went down with a concussion last week. The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but NE is 6-0 ATS in its last six as a road favorite in the 3.5 to seven points range, while Detroit is just 3-6 ATS in its last nine non-conference games. The Lions’ terrible defensive play is just what the doctor ordered for Brady to get back on track. Lay the points.
|09-23-18||Chargers v. Rams -6.5||Top||23-35||Win||100||121 h 12 m||Show|
The set-up: The Chargers rallied for a 31-20 road win in Buffalo last Sunday, while the Rams smashed the Cardinals 34-0. The teams: The Chargers got back on track defensively and into the win column against an inept Bills team, but in Week 1 against the Chiefs they looked horrible. On both sides of the ball. And now the Bolts face last year’s No. 1 offense. So far the Chargers are averaging 29.5 PPG and allowing 29. The Rams are averaging 33.5 PPG and allowing 6.5. That’s No. 1 in the league. Jared Goff and Gurley form a difficult “one, two-punch.” LA was able to rest many of its starters in last week’s blowout victory. The pick: This game features a couple of great running backs and two dynamic QB’s. But the Rams have the far superior defense and special teams. They also have the home field advantage. This is a statement game for the Rams and I look for them put on a show. Lay the points.
|09-23-18||Colts +7 v. Eagles||Top||16-20||Win||100||118 h 8 m||Show|
The set-up: Indianapolis comes in off a 21-9 road win over Washington and I think it’ll be able to keep this one competitive as well against an Eagles team which comes in off a 27-21 loss to Tampa Bay. The teams: Colts’ QB Andrew Luck had 179 passing yards, two TD’s and two INT’s last week. TY Hilton had seven catches for 83 yards. So far the Colts are averaging 22 PPG, while allowing 21.5. Last week the defense was especially sharp in not allowing a TD. The Eagles are averaging 19.5 PPG and they’re also allowing 19.5. QB Carson Wentz makes his debut (finally), but clearly the pivot is going to have to go through some “growing pains” before obtaining his previous form. Philadelphia looked horrible against the pass last week, giving up 402 yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick. The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Indianapolis is 6-3 ATS in its last nine non-conference games, while Philadelphia is just 2-3 ATS in its last five as a favorite in the 3.5 to 9.5 points range. I think Luck keeps this one close. Grab the points.
|09-23-18||Broncos +5.5 v. Ravens||Top||14-27||Loss||-110||118 h 7 m||Show|
The set-up: Baltimore comes in deflated off a road loss in Cincinnati, while the Broncos come in “under the radar” at 2-0. Denver plays its first road game of the season and I think the defensive minded Broncos will keep this one interesting. The teams: Broncos’ RB Phillip Lindsay has posted back-to-back 100 yards games, becoming the first undrafted player in league history to do so. He had a 53 yard run in his team’s 20-19 victory over the Raiders last week. Look for QB Case Keenum to take advantage of a Ravens’ secondary which will be without CB Jimmy Smith (suspension.) Baltimore is allowing almost 170 yards through the air. The Broncos held Oakland to just 92 rushing yards, but gave up 288 passing yards and a TD through the air. Baltimore gave up four sacks in the loss to the Bengals last week. The Ravens are averaging just 3.3 yards per carry on offense, which is third-worst in the NFL. Joe Flacco has been serviceable, but the QB match-up today is definitely a “wash” in my opinion. The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Baltimore is 0-3 ATS in its last three as a home favorite in the 3.5 to 7 points range. I think Denver’s defense is a difference maker in this one. Grab the points and expect a “nail biter.”
|09-23-18||Giants v. Texans -6||Top||27-22||Loss||-102||118 h 7 m||Show|
The set-up: This is going to be a war. New York is 0-2 and Houston is 0-2. The Giants fell 20-13 to the Cowboys last week, while the Texans lost 20-17 to Tennessee. The teams: Giants’ QB Eli Manning had 279 passing yards, but he was also sacked six times. So far Manning has 503 passing yards with one TD and one INT. RB Saquon Barkley was shut down, finishing with just 28 yards on 11 carries last week. Overall the Giants are averaging just 14 PPG. The defense has been a bright spot, allowing 20 PPG so far. Texans’ QB DeShaun Watson has looked a lot better than his counterpart in the early going, last week he had 310 passing yards with two TD’s and an INT. Overall he has 486 passing yards and a 3/2 TD:INT. Lamar Miller was a bright spot last week as well with 68 yards on 14 carries. The Texans only scored 17 points last week, but the unit did produce 437 total yards. The pick: Houston’s offensive yardage production so far hasn’t led to a lot of points, but I expect that trend to start normalizing itself here. The Giants have been decent defensively, but I think the unit takes a step back this week in this difficult road venue. Look for Watson to finally have his break out game and lay the points.
|09-17-18||Seahawks v. Bears -3||Top||17-24||Win||100||34 h 59 m||Show|
The set-up: Both teams come in at 0-1 and only one will leave this contest with a victory. I think that home field will prove to be the difference for Chicago.
The teams: Seattle threw everything it had on the line in Week 1, but it still came up short in a 27-24 setback in Denver. The offense lost star WR Doug Baldwin to injury and his return in unknown at this point. RB Chris Carson had 51 yards, but no receiver caught more than four passes. QB Russell Wilson had 298 yards, three TD’s and two INT’s, but he was just 19 of 33 overall.
The Bears lost 24-23 in Green Bay. The defense looked great until the final moments when it gave up a 75 yard TD strike to Randall Cobb. QB Mitch Trubisky had 171 passing yards and 32 yards and a TD on the ground. RB Jordan Howard at 85 yards on 15 carries. Khalil Mack put on a show defensively and I think he’s going to have a big night here as well against the Seahawks’ suspect O-line.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Chicago is 9-3-1 ATS in its last 13 at home (also 6-2 ATS in its last eight MNF contests), while Seattle is interestingly 0-4 ATS in its last four Week 2 contests. The Hawks were a terrible 2 for 12 on third down against the Broncos and now they face a similar swarming defensive unit. I like Trubisky to find a way to get the job done at home. Lay the points.
|09-16-18||Giants +3 v. Cowboys||Top||13-20||Loss||-104||34 h 9 m||Show|
The set-up: Both teams looked terrible last week. This one has the feel of a “chess match,” one which is going to be decided by whichever side has its hands on the ball last. In a scenario like that, I’m going to grab the points every time.
The teams: New York lost 20-15 at home to Jacksonville. RB Saquon Barkley was a stand out with 106 yards and a TD. Eli Manning had 223 yards, no TD’s and an INT. The veteran should make significant progression as the season wears on though. The defense was sharp overall, allowing just 305 yards.
Dallas looked horrible offensively in Week 1 and it all falls onto QB Dak Prescott’s shoulders. He was 19 of 29 for 17 yards. He also lost a fumble. He was also sacked six times. The beleaguered Cowboys’ QB is getting progressively worse with each outing as he’s now thrown for 200 yards or less in seven of his past nine games.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Dallas is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven at home, while New York is interestingly 4-1 ATS in its last five Week 2 contests. The Jags have one of the best defensive units in the league, but New York faces a much more manageable opponent this week. The outright isn’t out of the question, but I’m going to grab the points.
|09-16-18||Lions +7 v. 49ers||Top||27-30||Win||100||30 h 55 m||Show|
The set-up: I like the Lions to bounce back on the road here after a tough setback in Week 1. The 49ers also lost in Week 1 and I think they’re ripe for the picking.
The teams: Detroit was humbled 48-17 last week and new head coach Pat Patricia is already on the hot seat. The Lions would give up 31 third-quarter points: “It came to a point there in the third quarter where we just didn’t have control anymore in all three phases,” Patricia assessed. “We just have to do a better job. Obviously, we have to coach this a lot better than what we did tonight and we have to go out and execute a lot better on the field. We have to do a better job altogether. It starts with me.” QB Matt Stafford had 286 yards, while the defense allowed 169 rushing yards.
San Francisco didn’t look too much better in its 24-16 loss at Minnesota. QB Jimmy Garoppolo looked poor, going 15 of 33 for 261 yards, one TD and three INT’s. Is there any QB more over-rated than this guy? The 49ers finished with just 13 points on four trips inside the Red Zone. The team lost the services of WR Marquise Goodwin to injury also.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but San Francisco is just 5-11 ATS in its last 16 at home and only 1-4 ATS in its last five as a favorite. I expect a hard-fought battle, one which will likely be decided by whichever of these hungry sides has its hands on the ball last. Grab the points.
|09-16-18||Panthers +7 v. Falcons||Top||24-31||Push||0||27 h 60 m||Show|
The set-up: The Falcons have been over-rated for quite some time in my estimation. Atlanta had several chances to deliver the knock out blow to Eagles in Week 1, but the offense stalled in the Red Zone on three different occasions, with the visitors coming up completely empty. With that loss still on their minds, I think the Falcons are ripe for the picking here. The Panthers will be happy to oblige as they look to move to 2-0 and gain an early critical victory over a divisional foe.
The teams: Carolina prevailed 16-8 against Dallas last week, holding the Cowboys to 0 for 5 on third down in the first half. Cam Newton had his hands full for the most of the game, but he made some big plays when he needed too. And now he faces a much more suspect defensive unit in the Falcons.
Atlanta QB Matt Ryan had 251 yards, no TD’s and an INT in last week’s 18-12 loss at Philadelphia. The defense looked decent, but the book is still out on the Eagles offense at this point, so it’s hard to read too much into what the Falcons’ unit did in Week 1.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Carolina is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 on the road, while Atlanta is just 12-13 ATS in its last 25 as a favorite. Grab the points, play on Carolina.
|09-10-18||Jets v. Lions -6.5||Top||48-17||Loss||-110||32 h 25 m||Show|
The set-up: The Jets turn to rookie QB Sam Darnold in Week 1 and while the sky could in fact be the limit for the red-headed pivot, I think he’ll stumble trying to match pace with Lions’ veteran Matt Stafford. The teams: In three exhibition games Darnold went 29 of 45 for 244 yards and two TD’s with an INT. The Jets have talent, but no big names. Jermaine Kearse had 65 catches for 810 yards last year, but note that he could be unable to play in Week 1 due to an injury he suffered in the preseason. Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell lead a decent ground game. The defense was a strength for New York last year and the unit should be again this season as well. Matt Patricia takes over as head coach for the Lions, as he looks to get the team over the hump. Stafford finished with 4,449 yards, 29 TD’s and ten INT’s last season. LeGarrette Blount was signed in the offseason and he’s expected to bolster a run game which was severely lacking last year. Also note that both of Stafford’s 1,000 yard receivers return in Marvin Jones Jr. and Golden Tate. The pick: Take it for what you will as well but Detroit is 5-1 ATS in its last six Monday Night Football games, while New York is 0-4-1 ATS in its last five road games as an underdog in the 3.5 to ten points range. Lay the points and expect a rout. Play on Detroit.
|09-09-18||Chiefs v. Chargers -3||Top||38-28||Loss||-122||149 h 1 m||Show|
The set-up: KC won the AFC West last year with a 10-6 record, but then it fell 22-21 at home to Tennessee in the Wild Card round. LA went 9-7 last year, but missed the playoffs. Note that this a “double revenge” game for the Chargers though after the Chiefs took both games last season. The teams: Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes was 22 of 35 for 284 yards, no TD’s and an INT in his limited time last year. KC’s ground game looks strong though with Kareem Hunt, who had 1,327 rushing yards and eight scores, along with 53 catches for 455 yards and three more TD’s. Travis Kelce will also be leaned upon heavily after finishing with 1,038 yards and eight TD’s last season. The Chargers go with veteran QB Philip Rivers, who had 4,515 yards, 28 TD’s and ten INT’s last year. RB Melvin Gordon had 1,105 rushing yards and eight TD’s, along with 476 receiving yards and another four TD’s. WR Keenan Allen had 1,393 yards receiving and six TD’s. The pick: Take it for what you will, but the Chargers are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six Week 1 games and 4-1 ATS in their last five home games overall, while KC is just 1-4 ATS in its last five on the road. I’m banking on Rivers easily out duelling Mahomes. Lay the points.
|09-09-18||49ers v. Vikings -4.5||Top||16-24||Win||100||1369 h 25 m||Show|
The set-up: Kick Cousins makes his Vikings debut against the 49ers and QB Jimmy Garappolo. The 49ers blew up their team after ten games last year and they never looked back with Garappolo under center. That said, I think he’ll be in for a rude awakening at what will undoubtedly be a rowdy atmosphere at the US Bank Stadium.
The teams: Garoppolo was 5-0 as a starter for San Francisco last year. It was an unbelievable run, but regression seems imminent in my opinion.
The Vikings possessed the best defensive unit in the league last year, one which was even better in front of the home town crowd.
The pick: This is an “early,” release, so I plan on updating my analysis as we get closer to game time. However, over the time of this release and when this one kicks off, I do indeed expect this line to climb. Normally at this time of year the defensive units are many steps ahead of the offensive side and that’s exactly what I’m expecting in this one. Combined with the competent Cousins and a Vikings team looking to take out its frustrations after the loss in the NFC Championship Game last year, this one has “blowout” written all over it in my opinion. Lay the points, play on the Vikes.
|09-09-18||Steelers v. Browns +6||Top||21-21||Win||100||146 h 57 m||Show|
The set-up: Many will be on Pittsburgh here I think. But the Browns looked sharp in the preseason with their “new look” line-up and I think they’ll keep this one interesting late. The Steelers were 13-3 last year, while Cleveland was 0-16. Not surprisingly this is indeed a “revenge” game for the Browns, who lost both games last season.
The teams: The Steelers averaged 25.4 PPG last year and allowed 19.3. Ben Roethlisberger is back under center, and Le’Veon Bell is back as RB. Note Bell did not play in a single preseason game, the same as last year.
The Browns have plenty of new weapons on both sides of the ball and up and down the lines. Tyrod Taylor had 2,799 passing yards with a 14:4 TD/INT ratio last year for the Bills, as well as adding 427 rushing yards. Taylor, along with RB Carlos Hyde and WR Josh Gordon present a difficult challenge for anyone. In 11 games last year Myles Garrett made seven sacks, but the talented defender now comes into this season at 100% health finally.
The pick: While they did lose both games to the Steelers last year, the Browns would make it competitive each time, falling 28-24 and 21-18. When the smoke clears at the end of this one I think we’ll see similarly hard-fought battle. Grab the points.
|09-09-18||Titans v. Dolphins||Top||20-27||Loss||-125||146 h 57 m||Show|
The set-up: The Titans finished 9-7 last year and they beat the Chiefs 22-21 in the Wild card round of the playoffs, before then falling 35-14 to New England in the Divisional round. The Fish were just 6-10 last year, but with the return of QB Ryan Tannehill, Miami is hoping for a return to the postseason. Tannehill though lacks talent around him and I think the “deeper” Titans will pull away down the stretch.
The teams: Tennessee’ QB Marcus Mariota had 3,232 yards with 13 TDs and 15 INTs last season. He also had 312 yards and five scores on the ground. RB Derrick Henry leads the ground attack after DeMarco Murray retired and he had 744 yards and five TD’s last year.
Tannehill makes his first appearance since 2016, when he went for 2,995 yards 19 TD’s and 12 INT’s. Kenyan Drake had 644 yards and three TD’s rushing last year, while WR Danny Amendola had 659 yards and two TD’s.
The pick: For this pick I’m going to focus on the starting QB’s and while Tannehill could be the saviour once again for Miami, I think Marriota is the correct call here. The Titans’ pivot comes off a very successful season and he should only be better again this year under the same system. This one has blowout written all over it, play on Tennessee.
|02-04-18||Eagles +5.5 v. Patriots||Top||41-33||Win||100||314 h 58 m||Show|
The set-up: The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles meet Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for Super Bowl 52. It's common knowledge that the Patriots have a chance to win the sixth Super Bowl title in franchise history, all of which have come since the 2001 NFL season, during the Belichick and Brady era. Meanwhile, the Eagles are looking for the first Super Bowl title in franchise history (lost to the Raiders in Super Bowl and the Pats in Super Bowl), as well as the franchise's first NFL championship since the 1960 season. That team beat Lombardi's Packers, handing the coaching legend his only postseason loss (9-1). Both teams went 13-3 SU, with the Pats going 11-5 ATS and the Eagles, 10-6.
Philadelphia: Carson Wentz was a MVP candidate before getting hurt in Week 15. Nick Foles has endured an uneven ride as his replacement. while filling in for the injured Carson Wentz. He replaced an injured Wentz against the Giants and completed 24 of 38 with four TD passes but then was a combined 23 of 49 for 202 yards (one TD / two INTs) in Weeks 16 & 17. However, he completed 23-of-30 passes for 246 yards in the 15-10 win over the Falcons and then 'exploded' in the NFC championship game romp over the Vikings. Foles completed 26 of 33 for 352 yards with three TDs and zero INTs, giving him a 141.4 QB rating. He's backed by a solid running game that averaged 132.3 YPG on the ground during the regular season, 3rd-best in the NFL. Jay Ajayi stumbled out of the blocks with a fumble on his first carry against Atlanta, before finishing with 54 yards rushing and 44 receiving on three catches. He then ran for 73 yards vs. the Vikings and caught three more passes for 26 yards. He has become Philadelphia's top option out of the backfield following an in-season trade with Miami, although LeGarrette Blount (team-high 776 yards in the regular season) had a rushing TD in each of Philly's two playoff wins. Philly owns an excellent defense. It ranked 4th in scoring (18.4 PPG) and total D (306.5 YPG) during the regular season and held Matt Ryan and the Falcons scoreless in the second half of that divisional round win and to just 10 points for the game on just 281 yards. It then followed by allowing the game's first TD against the Vikings, before shutting them out the remainder of the game.
New England: Brady had another remarkable season (4,577 passing yards with 32 TDs and just eight INTs for a 102.8 QB rating), as the Pats led the NFL in total offense (394.2 YPG) and scored the second-most points at 28.6 PPG. Brady owns the most postseason wins in history and added to his playoff legacy vs the Titans by passing for more than 300 yards (337) for the 13th time and surpassing Joe Montana with his 10th three-touchdown performance. Brady and his "injured" right hand then led the Pats to two 4th-quarter TDs in coming back from 20-10 down against the Jags, to win 24-20. He was 26 of 38 for 290 yards with two TDs, zero INTs and a 108.4 QB against Jacksonville's dominant defense, giving him his 27th postseason win. Four New England players had at least 56 catches in the regular season with TE Rob Gronkowski topping the list with 69 receptions (15.7 YPC) and eight TDs. Gronk was KO'd against heh Jags but is expected to be back. However, in Gronk's absence, Cooks had six catches for 100 yards and Amendola had seven catches fo 84 yards, including both TDs in the fourth quarter. RB Dion Lewis had rushed for at least 60 yards in seven of his last eight games but was held to 34 yards. However, he caught seven passes against the Jags, after catching nine against the Titans. New England finished the season allowing 18.5 PPG but it allowed 32.0 PPG through its first four games, before allowing only just 14.0 PPG over its last 12. In two playoff wins, the Pats then held the Titans to just 14 points and 267 yards and the Jags to 20 points (just two FGs in the second half).
The pick: Physical play still matters in this league and the Eagles have the edge in that department. The Patriots famously use a committee in the backfield (although Lewis has been the "main man" lately) and it's hard to ignore that the Eagles led the NFL against the run, allowing just 79.2 YPG. They then held Atlanta and Minnesota to a combined 156 yards in the two playoff wins. Philly can lean on Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount against a New England rush D that allowed 4.71 yards per rush, second most in the NFL. Ajayi, who ran for more than 1,000 yards with the Dolphins last year, was traded to Philly in October and had an impressive 5.8 yards per carry while sharing the workload with Blount, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Pats last year and is an excellent short-yardage (goal-line) runner. Of course, no one is comparing Foles with Brady but he has completed 77.8 percent of his passes in two playoff wins, without an INT in 63 attempts. Also, just how does one ignore that the first five Belichick/Brady Super Bowls were decided by four points or less, before last year's game ended in OT, with the Pats winning by six. Take the points and make Philly a 10* play.
|01-21-18||Vikings v. Eagles +3.5||Top||7-38||Win||100||165 h 50 m||Show|
The set-up: The Minnesota Vikings were 8-8 in 2016 and the Philadelphia Eagles went 7-9. However, each went 13-3 during the 2017 season and after both escaped with wins last weekend, the two will meet in the NFC championship game this Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field (note: The Eagles won the tie break over the Vikings based on best win percentage in common games). Minnesota earned a stunning last-second comeback 29-24 victory over the Saints to reach this game (do I really need to recap it?), while the Eagles benefited from a late defensive stand to fend off Atlanta, 15-10. From the "you can't make this stuff up" department, we have the following. Nick Foles was traded from Philly to the Rams for Sam Bradford, who was later traded to Minnesota, where he started in ahead of Case Keenum before he got hurt. Now Foles is back in Philly and will lead the Eagles in the NFC Championship game, where he will face the Vikings, whose two QBs are Keenum (now the starter) and Bradford (injured).
Minnesota: Case Keenum entered this season with a 9-15 record as a starting QB but has thrived as Minnesota's starter in 2017, after Bradford was lost to an injury. He threw for career-high 3,547 yards 22 touchdowns and seven INTs for a 98.3 QB rating. He then threw for 318 yards against the Saints with his only TD pass coming on that game's final play. It will be forever known as the "Minneapolis Miracle," a 61-yard scoring pass to Stefon Diggs which gave the Vikings a 29-24 triumph over the Saints. Diggs overcame a slow start to finish with six catches for 137 yards and a TD against the Saints, giving him 28 receptions and four scores in his last five games. Fellow WR Adam Thielen (team-leading 91 catches for 1,276 yards) finished with six receptions versus New Orleans. The Vikings running game was solid this season (122.3 YPG ranked 7th) but was held to just 95 yards vs. the Saints. However, Latavius Murray rushed for a touchdown last week to increase his total to 22 since 2016 (including playoff games). Minnesota's defense could not stop the Saints in the second half (after shutting them out in the first half) but on the season ranked No. 1 in the NFL in both scoring D (15.8 PPG) and total D (275.9 YPG).
Philadelphia; Nick Foles has endured an uneven ride while filling in for the injured Carson Wentz. He repalced an injured Wentz against teh Giants and completed 24 of 38 with four TD passes but then was a combined 23 of 49 for 202 yards (one TD / two INTs) in Weeks 16 & 17). He hadn't given Philly's fickle fans much to cheer about in leading the Eagles to just 16 points in their last nine quarters of the regular season. However, he completed 23-of-30 passes for 246 yards in the 15-10 win over the Falcons. He's backed by a solid running game that averaged 132.3 YPG on the ground during the regular season, 3rd-best in the NFL. Jay Ajayi stumbled out of the blocks with a fumble on his first carry last week before finishing with 54 yards rushing and 44 receiving on three catches. He has become Philadelphia's top option out of the backfield following an in-season trade with Miami, although LeGarrette Blount (team-high 776 yards in the regular season) scored the only Philly TD vs. the Falcons. Like Minnesota, Philly owns an excellent defense. It ranked 4th in scoring (18.4 PPG) and total D (306.5 YPG) during the regular season and held Matt Ryan and the Falcons scoreless in the second half of last weekend's win and to just 10 points for the game on just 281 yards.
The pick: Minnesota is hoping to snap a string of five straight losses in the NFC championship game and advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since Super Bowl XI (note: The Vikings are 0-4 all-time in Super Bowls). Philadelphia lost its last NFC title game appearance against Arizona in the 2008 season but it did win the last time it hosted the contest (27-10 win over Atlanta, in the 2004 season). Philly fans should be buoyed by the fact that home team has won the last EIGHT conference championship games (AFC and NFC the last four years!). One last thing I picked up from ESPN Stats. The last five NFL teams that won playoff games with a walk-off TD lost their next game, by an average of 23 points! Make Philly an 8* play.
|01-21-18||Jaguars +9.5 v. Patriots||Top||20-24||Win||100||161 h 14 m||Show|
The set-up: No one is surprised that the Pats are once again in the AFC championship game or that they are the AFC's No. 1 seed. After all, this mark the 12th AFC title game in the Belichick/Brady era (seventh at home), including the team's SEVENTH straight appearance in an AFC title game. The Pats are 7-4 SU but just 6-5 ATS in this duos previous 11 appearances, including 5-1 SU and 3-3 ATS the six played here in Foxboro. The same thing can't be said for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who when from last (3-13) in the AFC South in 2016 to first (10-6) in 2017 and then has beaten the Bills (10-3) and Steelers (45-42) to advance to the franchise's third-ever AFC title game (previous appearances came in 1996 and 1999). However, Bill Belichick dismissed the idea that the been-there-won-that factor gives his team a huge edge. "I don’t think experience has anything to do with that," Belichick, who has guided New England to seven Super Bowls - winning five - since 2001, told reporters. "It is what happens Sunday, not what happened last year, two years ago, five years ago, 15 years ago, 1996 or whatever it is. Those games don’t make any difference, with all due respect."
Jacksonville: The Jags played what many people called an "unwatchable" game in edging the Bills 10-3 in the wild card round but are brimming with confidence in the wake of last week's 45-42 win at No. 2 seed Pittsburgh. Jacksonville featured the league's top-ranked rushing attack in the regular season (159.5 YPG on 4.6 YPC) led by rookie Leonard Fournette (1,40 yards and nine rushing TDs), who ran for 109 yards and three TDs last week. QB Blake Bortles was close to being benched in the preseason but with no other real options, the Jags stuck with him. He was nothing special this season but did cut down on his mistakes in leading the team to a 10-4 record but he then rasied concerns by throwing five INTs in the season's final two games. However, while he's completed just 53.1 percent of his passes in the two playoff wins, he has not committed a turnover. The Jaguars' D has been excellent all season, surrendering a league-low 169.9 YPG passing while ranking second in sacks (55) and interceptions (21). Overall, the defense ranked second in total D (286.1 YPG) and scoring D (16.8 PPG).
New England: That Jacksonville D will be tested by Brady, who had another remarkable season (4,577 passing yards with 32 TDs and just eight INTs for a 102.8 QB rating). The Pats led the NFL in total offense (394.2 YPG) and scored the second-most points at 28.6 PPG. Brady owns the most postseason wins (26) in history and added to his playoff legacy last week, passing for more than 300 yards (337) for the 13th time and surpassing Joe Montana with his 10th three-touchdown performance. RB Dion Lewis (896 yards on 5.0 YPC in the regular season) has rushed for at least 60 yards in seven of his last eight games and added a season-high nine catches last week. Four New England players have at least 56 catches with TE Rob Gronkowski toppomh the list with 69 receptions (15.7 YPC) and eight TDs. He has 34 receptions and four TDs over his last four contests. The New England finsihed teh season allowing 18.5 PPG but it allwed 32.0 PPG through its first four games, before allowing only just 14.0 PPG over ist last 12. The Pats then held the Titans to just 14 points and 267 yards last weekend.
The pick: The Patriots are 6-1 in AFC title games at home(5-1 under Belichick/Brady) and have won 10 of their 11 all-time meetings with Jacksonville.However, as everyone knows, the status of Brady's right hand is an unknown factor. He may be just fine but then again...Either way, this Jacksonville defense gives the Jags a "punchers chance," as the three teams that beat the Pats this season were able to rush Brady, force mistakes and prevent the offense from getting in a groove. The Jags are certainly capable of doing just that. Jacksonville led the NFL with seven defensive TDs during the regular season and added another score versus Pittsburgh. The Jags' pass D held opposing QBs to a league-low 56.8 completion percentage and a league-low QB rating of 68.5. I'm taking the big points and making the Jags a 10* play.
|01-14-18||Saints +4 v. Vikings||Top||24-29||Loss||-110||161 h 6 m||Show|
The set-up: The Saints visited Minnesota in Week 1 of the 2017 season and the Vikings came away with a 29-19 victory. The two teams meet again Sunday in the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs, after both teams captured their respective divisions. The Saints won the NFC South and then edged the Carolina Panters 31-26 in last weekend's wild card round, setting up this re-match with the 13-3 Minnesota Vikings, winners of the NFC North and owners of the No. 2 seed. In most cases, the Saints and Vikings would take a strong look at their Week 1 matchup as they prepare for Sunday's NFC playoff game but taht won't be the case here. Both teams have undergone significant changes since that Sep. 11th meeting. Minnesota QB Sam Bradford completed 27-of-32 passes for 346 yards and three TDs that one, earning NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. However, Bradford played only a single half the rest of the season, as Case Keenum has replaced injured Bradford and put himself in MVP consideration.
As for New Orleans, the Saints jettisoned former Vikings RB Adrian Peterson after a miserable four-game run and have thrived with Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara, becoming one of the league's most dangerous running back duos.
New Orleans: Drew Brees completed 23 of 33 last Sunday for 376 yards with two TDs and one INT. He made up for a Minnesota running game which struggled, as Kamara led the team in rushing with 23 yards on 10 carries with Mark Ingram adding just 22 yards on nine carries. That's not indicative of that duo's play during the regular season, as Ingram ran for a career-high 1,124 yards (12 TDs) and Kamara added 728 yards (8 TDs) plus had 81 catches for another five scores. Michael Thomas was the team's leading receiver on the season (104 catches) and led the team with eight catches for 131 yards, while Ted Ginn Jr. (53 catches) added four catches and a TD. The Saints made great strides defensively this season but couldn't stop Cam Newton (349 yards and two TD passes), as the Panthers rolled up 413 total yards.
Minnesota: Case Keenum came into this season 9-15 as an NFL starter but became a dark-horse MVP candidate after recording career highs in completions (325), attempts (481), yards (3,547), touchdowns (22) and passer rating (98.3) while posting an 11-3 mark as a starter. The QB position wasn't Minnesota's only notable change from the season opener ,as Latavius Murray's workload was nondescript before impressive rookie Dalvin Cook saw his season end due to an ACL injury. Murray recorded eight TDs in his last 10 games of the season (finished with 842 yards rushing), while fellow RB Jerick McKinnon (570 yards rushing) caught 43 of his 51 receptions over the last 12 games. Minnesota ended the regular season averaging 122.3 YPG on the ground, ranking 7th. WR Stefon Diggs overcame injury issues to catch 64 passes and matched TE Rudolph (57 catches) for a team-high eight TD receptions. Thielen led all Viking receivers with 91 catches and 1,276 receiving yards. Minnesota had a better than expected offense but it was the defense which was he "star of the show," ranking first in the NFL in points allowed (15.8 per) and total defense (275.9 YPG) on the season.
|01-14-18||Jaguars v. Steelers -7||Top||45-42||Loss||-110||158 h 31 m||Show|
The set-up: The Jacksonville Jaguars made their first playoff appearance since 2007 last weekend vs. the Buffalo Bills, after winning the franchise's first division title since 1999 by winning the AFC South with a 10-6 record. That Jags were a huge surprise in 2017, as the team entered the season with a pathetic 22-74 (.229) record the previous six seasons. The Jags' 10-3 victory over the Bills was generally said to be "unwatchable" at times but so be it, the Jags will head to Pittsburgh's Heinz Field on Sunday with a chance to advance to the AFC championship game. The postseason is nothing new to the Steelers, as Pittsburgh is in the playoffs for the 8th time in Mike Tomlin's 11 years as the team's head coach. A highly controversial 27-24 home loss to the Patriots in Week 15, is the only thing keeping the 13-3 Steelers from being the AFC's no. 1 seed (that loss cost them the tie-breaker with the 13-3 Pats). However, Pittsburgh could just as easily blame its 30-9 Week 5 home loss to Jacksonville as the culprit for failing to earn the No. 1 seed.
Jacksonville: Blake Bortles was almost replaced as the team's starting QB in the preseason but the Jags really had no "Plan B." The former UCF star had a solid season, keeping his TOs to a minimum (21-13 ratio) and benefiting from the NFL's No. 1 ground game. The Jags averaged 141.4 YPG in the regular, led by rookie Leonard Fournette (1,040 yards and 9 TDs but just 3.9 YPC). The Jacksonville offense kept putting its defense in trouble last season but that all changed in 2017. The Jags' D is the reason this team went 10-4 to clinch its playoff berth. The Jags did lose their final two games but the defense still ended the regular season second in both scoring D (16.8 PPG) and total D (286.1 YPG). The defense showed up last week vs. Buffalo, holding the Bills to 263 yards and only a mere FG. However, the Jags' offense was awful, Leonard Fournette had just 57 rushing yards on 21 carries in his playoff debut and Blake Bortle's passing numbers were just plain 'ugly!' He was 12 of 23 for a pathetic 87 yards (76.8 QB rating, although he did pass for the game's lone TD (did not throw a pick) and added a game-high 88 yards rushing. Still, one wonders how the Jags will fare against Pittsburgh's defense?
Pittsburgh. The 2017 Steelers' D is not the dominant "Steel Curtain" of years past but it's a quality stop-unit allowing 19.2 PPG (7th) on 306.9 YPG (5th), while leading the NFL with 56 sacks. After that 30-9 loss to the Jags, Pittsburgh won 10 of its last 11 games down the stretch to finish 13-3. Ben Roethlisberger completed 64.2% for 4,251 yards with 28 TDs and 14 interceptions. RB Le’Veon Bell led the team with 1,291 rushing yards (9 TDs) plus caught 85 balls for two TDs. WR Antonio Brown led Pittsburgh’s receiving corps with 101 catches for 1,533 yards and 9 TDs, despite sitting out Weeks 16 & 17. JuJu Smith-Schuster chipped in 917 receiving yards and seven TDs in his 58 catches. He had 15 receptions and two TDs in the final two weeks with Brown sidelined.
The pick: Roethlisberger wondered aloud "if he still had it" when meeting with reporters after that 30-9 Week 5 loss to the Jags. He had thrown five interceptions in that contest, two of which were returned for TDs by the Jags. However, Big Ben would throw 22 TDs and just seven INTs over his final 10- games, then sat out Week 17. He's still "got it" plus owns arguably the NFL's best all-around RB in Bell and its best WR in Brown. That's not to mention an always excellent defense to "have his back." Pittsburgh owns the most playoff victories in league-history at 36, while Jacksonville's 10-3 win over Buffalo was just the team's second playoff win in the new millennium. It's Big Ben vs. Blake Bortles! You make the call? Then again, let me. Make Pittsburgh an 8* play.