Spreads/Lines on betonline.com
Last week overall: 9-5
Last week ATS: 5-9 (-1965/-16 units)
Overall picks: 81-49 (.623)
Upset Picks: 3-1 (+1180/+5 units)
ATS Picks: 53-72-5 (-7380/-57 units)
Survivor picks: 8-1 (NE, PIT, BAL, GB, NYG, PHI, NO, SF, DAL)
Upset picks: 14-19 (+1750/+2 units)
Recap: It wasn’t my worst week, but I didn’t make money either. I am now down $5630 on the year, which is almost as much as I won last year. I don’t really have any new ideas except keep at it. This is a weird year. Vegas is losing money too. Nothing is consistent. Maybe people just shouldn’t listen to me until I start winning or until next year. The lockout has screwed everything over.
San Diego Chargers 34 Oakland Raiders 20 Survivor Pick (8-1 NE, PIT, BAL, GB, NYG, PHI, NO, SF, DAL)
Pick against spread: San Diego -7 (-110) 3 units (-330)
The Raiders suck. I know they’re 4-4, but they suck. They’re 0-2 without Jason Campbell, losing to divisional rivals with worse records at the time, the Chiefs and the Broncos, at home. Carson Palmer figures to get better as the weeks go on and he gets more into shape and gets a better grasp of the playbook, but the problem is he just wasn’t that good last year. The Raiders traded for him thinking they’d get the 2006 Carson Palmer and they got the 2010 Carson Palmer, only worse because he’s out of shape and new to the system and the organization. I don’t think Vegas is really fully taking into account how awful the Raiders have become without Jason Campbell.
Meanwhile, the Chargers looked a lot better last week. One week after losing in Kansas City to the Chiefs in embarrassing fashion (botched snap in field goal range late in a tied game), the Chargers returned home and hung within 7 of the Packers even though Philip Rivers threw 2 pick sixes and Aaron Rodgers played out of his mind once again. I picked the Chargers to cover last week because they’re better after week 8 and they’re better at home. They didn’t cover (by 1 point), but they looked a ton better than they did against Kansas City.
I think that should only continue. The Chargers are 29-17 ATS during week 10 or later with Philip Rivers, including 3-1 ATS on week 10 specifically. They’re also at home here. Philip Rivers is 28-20 ATS at home in his career, not a sizable trend, but it’s notable, especially since the Chargers will be at home on Thursday Night. Home teams really have the advantage on Thursday Night, especially last year, which makes sense because the road team has a short week to prepare and has to travel. Last year, home teams were 8-2 ATS on Thursday Night.
Finally, the Chargers lost twice to the Raiders last year. They’ll want revenge for that. Favorites trying to avenge a divisional loss of 14+ (the Raiders beat the Chargers 28-13 in their 2nd matchup last year) are 53-32 ATS since 2002. Normally once the Chargers hit their stride, they start blowing out teams. They obviously couldn’t blow out the Packers last week or even beat them because Aaron Rodgers is too good, but I like the Chargers’ chances to score in the 30s again this week and unlike Rodgers, Carson Palmer and the Raiders won’t be able to keep up.
Atlanta Falcons 31 New Orleans Saints 27 Upset Pick (+100) 4 units (-400)
Pick against spread: Atlanta +1 (-110) 0 units
The Falcons are awesome at home. The Saints suck on the road. It’s actually that simple. First, let’s closely examine the Saints’ road troubles in the past 2 years. They’re 4-10 ATS on the road in the past 2 years, 3-8 ATS as favorites, but I don’t think that even does justice to the extent of their road struggles. Let’s take a closer look. They beat San Francisco (finished 6-10) by 3. They lost to Arizona (finished 5-11) by 10. They beat Dallas (finished 6-10) by 3. They beat Cincinnati (finished 4-12) by 4. They beat Carolina (currently 2-6) by 3. They lost to Tampa Bay (currently 4-4) by 6. They lost to St. Louis (currently 1-7) by 10. They’re not a good road team at all.
Meanwhile, Matt Ryan is 22-4 straight up at home in his career and 17-9 ATS, including 3-1 ATS as a dog. Of those 26 home games, 3 were against the Saints and though the Saints did win here by 3 last season, Matt Ryan is 2-1 straight up against the Saints at home in his career. There aren’t any other situational trends here, but I love betting against the Saints as road favorites and on the Falcons as home dogs. That’s enough reason to put 3 units on the Falcons. However, instead of putting 3 on the spread line +1 (-110) and one on the money line (+100), I’m just putting 4 on the money line. 1 point games are rare.
Carolina Panthers 27 Tennessee Titans 24
Pick against spread: Tennessee +3.5 (-110) 1 unit (+100)
I couldn’t really find any trends here, except for, of course, that Cam Newton is 5-3 ATS in his career. Rookie quarterbacks tend to be underrated by Vegas. Sam Bradford was 8-4 ATS last year before Vegas stopped underrating him. He finished the season 1-3 ATS. However, Cam Newton is actually 1-2 ATS in his last 3 so maybe something similar is happening here. The Panthers are more than field goal favorites here against a team that isn’t putrid and they’re also coming off a bye.
Meanwhile, I thought Tennessee was overrated coming into last week but after Cincinnati beat them at home, that seems to have changed. I actually like them this week. They’re underdogs of more than 3 against a Carolina team that isn’t very good. Carolina is also coming off of a bye and bad teams have struggled off of byes this season. The bottom 9 teams in my Power Rankings are 0-5-1 ATS off of their byes this season (Miami, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Arizona, Washington, Seattle, Jacksonville, Carolina, Cleveland). I’m taking the points for one.
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 Cincinnati Bengals 20
Pick against spread: Pittsburgh -3 (-115) 1 unit (+100)
The Bengals are 6-2. The Steelers are 6-3. I don’t think anyone predicted this at the beginning of the season. However, the Steelers are the toughest opponent the Bengals have had. Their toughest game so far was a home loss to the 49ers week 3 before the 49ers really started playing well. They’ve also beaten Buffalo at home, but that was because Buffalo was flat after an emotional win over the Patriots.
The Steelers are still favorites on the road here, a situation they’re 5-9 ATS in since 2008. In that same stretch of time, the Bengals are 9-3 ATS as home dogs. However, there are contrasting angles here. Road favorites before a bye, which the Steelers are, are 15-7 ATS since 2008. Meanwhile, since 2002, divisional home dogs are 21-32 ATS before being divisional road dogs. The Bengals have division leading Baltimore next week and might be more focused on that one than this one if history is any indication because that is a road game.
Overall, I don’t have a strong opinion on this one. Some of the angles say Pittsburgh, some say Cincinnati. As much as I want to say this line makes Cincinnati underrated (they’d be -9 in Pittsburgh), my gut says Cincinnati won’t win this game. They haven’t played a team like Pittsburgh yet and Pittsburgh is going to be mad after losing last week. Ben Roethlisberger is 15-11 ATS after a loss as a favorite, which isn’t the strongest trend, but it’s something. Maybe if this line was -3.5 or more, I’d take Cincinnati, but I’m taking the veteran Steelers for one.
St. Louis Rams 16 Cleveland Browns 13 Upset Pick (+125)
Pick against spread: St. Louis +3 (-120) 2 units (+200)
Brandon Lloyd is really helping this Rams offense since he’s arrived. He’s brought their number of legitimate pass catchers up from 0 to 1. I know the Rams lost last week to Arizona, but that was more on special teams. Plus, it was Bradford’s first game with Lloyd as he missed the first 2 with injury. Another week healthier and another week with his favorite target should help this Rams offense.
The Rams are in a good situation as road dogs after being road dogs. Teams in that situation are 72-48 ATS since 2008, while the Browns are in likely in their first of two as home favorites with Jacksonville coming to town next week. Teams in that situation are 23-41 ATS since 2010.
The Browns also suck. Their offense is miserable. Colt McCoy is a mediocre quarterback at best and he has no one to throw to. Without Peyton Hillis, they can’t run the ball either and the defense isn’t much better. The Rams should be able to win here on the road as small underdogs given the situations and the fact that they have more talent on their team. Their offense is better and their defense can get after the quarterback as well. However, excluding the 2011 49ers, NFC West teams are 15-30 ATS on the road in the last 2 years so this isn’t going to be a very big bet.
Dallas Cowboys 28 Buffalo Bills 27
Pick against spread: Buffalo +5.5 (-115) 2 units (-230)
Last week I said Buffalo was underrated as mere 1 point favorites at home against the Jets. They lost to the Jets, but I still feel they’re underrated. The Jets came to play last week and destroyed Buffalo’s offense so much that the Bills didn’t stand a chance. The Cowboys won’t be able to do that so this week they should be able to get back to moving the ball well.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys will be missing Miles Austin so their offense is taking a hit. I don’t have any trends here, so this isn’t a bigger bet, but this line is too high. Without Miles Austin, the Cowboys are not 2.5 points better than the Bills. The Bills were +6.5 at Kansas City, +9 at home for New England, +3 at home for Philadelphia, and -6 at home for Washington. They’ve been consistently underrated all year. One loss at home to the Jets doesn’t change that in my mind. I’m taking the points for 2.
Indianapolis Colts 13 Jacksonville Jaguars 9 Upset Pick (+150)
Pick against spread: Indianapolis +3 (-105) 3 units (-315)
If Indianapolis can’t win here, they might go winless. They do have another home game against Carolina and a home game against Tennessee and they pay Jacksonville a visit later this season, but this is their easiest chance to win a game. First of all, Jacksonville is coming off of a bye. Bad teams (teams ranked 24-32 in my Power Rankings) are 0-5-1 ATS off of a bye this season.
Second of all, Jacksonville is just 6-11 ATS under Jack Del Rio as divisional favorites. Third of all, the Jaguars offense is horrific. They have a solid defense, but the Jaguars don’t have the offense to pull away from the Colts. Blaine Gabbert might even be worse than Curtis Painter. Gabbert is completing just 46% of his passes and has thrown for fewer than 100 yards in his last 2 starts. The Colts still have Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. They haven’t been as effective as they normally are because the Colts have been trailing so much this season, but they’ll be effective here as Jacksonville can’t pull away. Even better, Blaine Gabbert has the pocket presence of a blind man.
This is a divisional game so I expect the Colts to play with some more urgency this week. They’re the last winless team in the league and though their front office might want them to Suck for Luck, these players are still playing for their dignity. They don’t want to be remembered as just the 2nd 0-16 team in NFL history. I expect them to play their best game of the season in an ugly grind it out win with not a lot of points scored.
Denver Broncos 27 Kansas City Chiefs 24 Upset Pick (+145)
Pick against spread: Denver +3 (-105) 3 units (+300)
The Chiefs were exposed last week as overrated frauds by losing by 28 at home to Miami. They’ve won 4 games against the 2-6 Vikings, the 0-9 Colts, the Jason Campbell-less Raiders, and the choking Chargers by a combined 101-61, but lost to the Bills, Lions, Chargers, and Dolphins by a combined 140-30. Ouch!
There are conflicting trends here. The Broncos are in their 2nd of 2 road games as underdogs, a situation teams are 72-48 ATS in since 2008. More specifically, since 2002, road dogs of 3+ are 17-8 ATS after winning as road dogs of 7+. The Chiefs, meanwhile, are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 instances as favorites. However, the Chiefs will want revenge for last week. Divisional favorites after a loss as divisional favorites are 22-13 ATS since 2002, while favorites who lose by 21+ are 20-13 ATS since 2002 the next week as favorites.
In the end, I’m taking the Broncos. This line is 3+ and I don’t think the Chiefs should be favored by 3+. With the exception of the Detroit game, all of Tebow’s games have been close and the situations that favor the Broncos are more powerful than the ones that favor the Chiefs. Also, I’m not betting against Tebow. He’s a winner. It’s not pretty in the stat sheet, but he makes clutch throws, runs for big gains and first downs, opens things up for the running game, and motivates his teammates.
Washington Redskins 16 Miami Dolphins 12 Upset Pick (+170)
Pick against spread: Washington +4 (-115) 5 units (-550)
The Dolphins beat the Chiefs by 28 in Kansas City last week. Matt Moore played so well that some Dolphins fans have actually said that they don’t need to Suck for Luck because Matt Moore is a capable quarterback (they’re idiots). However, now they head home, which is normally a good thing for teams, but not for the Dolphins. Though the Dolphins are 19-10 ATS on the road under Tony Sparano, they’re 7-21 ATS at home.
Furthermore, their win last week inflated this line. The Chiefs are an overrated bunch. Last week’s win wasn’t that impressive when you consider that. Now Vegas says the Dolphins are better than the Redskins. I know the Redskins suck, but I find it hard to believe that Miami is better than them, especially at home where Miami plays worse. Miami is 1-10 straight up at home over the past 2 seasons and a mere 1-11 ATS at home as favorites in the Tony Sparano era.
Diving further into the Dolphins’ struggles as favorites under Tony Sparano, the Dolphins are just 3-13 ATS as favorites since Sparano took over in 2008, including 2-10 ATS as favorites of 3+ and, as I said earlier, just 1-11 ATS as home favorites. The Dolphins are also 0-6 ATS as favorites after winning straight up as an underdog in the Sparano era.
The Dolphins could also be in a tough situation this week. They have Buffalo coming to town next week. Buffalo will probably be favorites in Miami next week. Favorites before being divisional dogs are just 49-70 ATS since 2008. In general, favorites before being dogs and after being dogs are 67-90 ATS since 2008, 23-35 ATS before a divisional game. If, for whatever reason, Miami is favorites next week, this is still a tough situation for them. Teams in their first of two home games as favorites are 24-41 ATS since 2010.
Overall, I expect this to be a low scoring one. Neither team has a good offense. The Dolphins’ offense isn’t as dreadful as Washington’s, but Washington has a solid defense so that negates that. This is going to be an ugly game and a close one, but all of the situations seem to go against Miami. Besides, there’s no way in hell I’m betting Miami as 3+ favorites. If Miami wins, I doubt it’s by more than a field goal. Washington is my co-pick of the week.
Philadelphia Eagles 28 Arizona Cardinals 10
Pick against spread: Philadelphia -14 (-110) 1 unit (-110)
This was a tough one with a lot of conflicting stuff. The Eagles have the Giants next week, at New York, so they’ll probably be underdogs in that one. Favorites before being divisional dogs are 48-70 ATS since 2008, 25-41 ATS after a loss. Since 2002, double digit favorites before being divisional dogs are 12-20 ATS, 5-9 ATS after a loss.
However, the Eagles are coming off a tough loss to the Bears, losing as favorites. Favorites before being divisional dogs after a loss as a favorite are 22-27 ATS since 2002, which doesn’t make the trend nearly as strong. Besides, Andy Reid is 21-16 ATS in his career after losing as a favorite, though sticking with the theme of conflicting stuff, Reid is 1-5 ATS in his last 6 in that situation so perhaps he’s losing his touch.
The Eagles are also going to have a short week coming off of Monday Night Football, though that seems to not affect Andy Reid, who is 13-8 ATS after MNF, though only 4-3 ATS after a loss on Monday Night football.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals suck. I know they won last week, but that was at home against the lowly Rams in a special teams led effort. John Skelton is horrific. He went 20 of 35 for 222 yards and a touchdown, but that doesn’t highlight how awful he is. The Rams were selling out on the run all game, so much so that the Rams terrible run defense held Beanie Wells to 20 yards on 10 carries. I know Wells was banged up last week, but he’s not too much healthier this week. On top of that Skelton also took TWO safeties. How does that happen?!
Now the Cardinals have to travel 3 time zones for a 1 PM ET start on the East Coast against a Philadelphia team that has shown the ability to blow out bad teams and bad defenses especially (St. Louis, Dallas). The Eagles have also lost to a bunch of good teams so they may not be as bad as their 3-5 record suggests. They also tend to get better as the season goes on.
If you exclude the 2011 49ers, the NFC West is 15-30 ATS on the road since 2010, 2-6 ATS as double digit underdogs. That’s going to be the tiebreaker here for me in this game with so many conflicting trends. This is obviously going to be a 1 unit pick only, especially since I don’t know if Philadelphia deserves to be 14 points favorites over anyone. Finally, fun fact, the Cardinals have only lost 1 game by more than 2 scores this year. Oddly enough, it was against Minnesota.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 Houston Texans 21 Upset Pick (+150)
Pick against spread: Tampa Bay +3 (+100) 3 units (-300)
I’m going against a very powerful trend in this game this week. The Buccaneers are 2-11 ATS as home dogs under Raheem Morris. However, I just feel like this is going to be a letdown game for Houston. They’ve won 3 in a row against an unimpressive bunch, Tennessee, Jacksonville, and Cleveland and they’ve looked good, but do they really deserve to be 3 point favorites on the road? Tampa Bay is a good team.
Plus, Gary Kubiak has been a head coach for about 5 and a half seasons now. He’s won more than 3 in a row 3 times. That’s it. They’re also 14-20 ATS after a win in the Kubiak era, though they’ve covered in that situation in the last 2 weeks. I think they’re due for a let down here in a game where Vegas is overrating them any way.
On top of that, Tampa Bay has been better at home this season, going 3-1 straight up and beating the likes of New Orleans and Atlanta. Besides, what’s Houston’s motivation here? Their division sucks. They can win it in their sleep. Tampa Bay has to win here to keep pace with New Orleans and Atlanta, who are playing better football than them right now.
Baltimore Ravens 19 Seattle Seahawks 16
Pick against spread: Seattle +6.5 (-110) 4 units (+400)
Seattle is awesome at home. Everyone knows that. They haven’t even been a good football team since 2007, but they’re 24-13 ATS at home since then. They lost in their last game at home against Cincinnati pretty badly, but they’re 2-1 ATS overall this season at home, so I’m not too worried about that. They should still bring their A game this week, especially since Tarvaris Jackson, the least crappy of their two quarterbacks, is now fully healthy, which he wasn’t against Cincinnati.
Seattle is also one of the league’s better teams against the run, which is a huge part of Baltimore’s offense. If they can contain Ray Rice and make Joe Flacco beat them, they’ve got a very good chance of keeping this game at least close. Flacco is inconsistent at best. Remember, Joe Flacco has yet to put together back to back good games this season. The Ravens have been inconsistent as a whole this year, losing to Tennessee and Jacksonville and needing to stage a comeback to beat Arizona, yet beating Pittsburgh twice, Houston, and the Jets.
The Ravens in general haven’t done well against bad teams this year and they haven’t done well in games after Joe Flacco has had a good game. Besides, they’re coming off a huge win against the Steelers, possibly even bigger than their first win against the Steelers because it was in clutch fashion, on the road, and it clinched them the tiebreaker should both teams finish with the same record. After their first win against the Steelers, they lost to the Titans in Tennessee.
It doesn’t help that teams are actually 17-36 ATS after beating the Steelers since 2002, a remarkable number. Finally, this could be a bit of a sandwich game for them. They played Pittsburgh last week and next week they get another team near the top of their division, Cincinnati. This just in general seems like the type of game the Ravens struggle in. They’re coming off a huge win, and against the Steelers to boot, coming off a game in which Joe Flacco played well, and playing a bad team that stuffs the run well and plays well at home. Give me the points.
San Francisco 49ers 23 New York Giants 20
Pick against spread: NY Giants +3.5 (-110) 1 unit (-110)
The 49ers are the only team in the league to have yet to lose a game ATS. They are 7-0-1 ATS this season and they are getting better every week. They’ve covered in 6 of their last 6 games. Meanwhile, the Giants may be 6-2, but this is the time of year every year when they start to struggle. In the Tom Coughlin/Eli Manning era, they are 47-17 in the first half of the season and 24-32 in the 2nd half. That’s a remarkable difference. On top of that, they have to travel to the West Coast.
However, I am taking the Giants here. This line is more than 3 and I just don’t know if the 49ers have the track record to deserve to be favorites of more than 3 at home against a good, veteran team like the Giants. The 49ers have some nice wins, but against young teams, the Bengals, the Buccaneers, the Lions. They also beat the Eagles, but the Eagles seem to be proving that they just aren’t very good.
The situational angles also all say New York is the right side. The Giants are 14-6 ATS under Tom Coughlin after winning as underdogs, 4-0 ATS after winning as 7+ point underdogs. The Giants are in their 2nd of 2 road games as underdogs, a situation teams are 72-48 ATS in since 2008. More specifically, since 2002, road dogs of 3+ are 17-8 ATS after winning as road dogs of 7+.
The 49ers are in likely in their first of two as home favorites with Arizona coming to town next week. Teams in that situation are 23-41 ATS since 2010. I’m taking the Giants, but only for a unit and only because the line is more than 3. I think the 49ers win straight up here at home against a Giants team that is going to start struggling at some point.
Chicago Bears 27 Detroit Lions 20
Pick against spread: Chicago -2.5 (-125) 2 units (+200)
There aren’t a ton of trends at play here and I’m actually going to go against the most prominent one. Chicago is likely in its first of two home games as favorites (San Diego next week). They’re -2.5 here and will probably be between -1 and -3 next week at home for San Diego. However, Chicago is trying to get revenge on Detroit, who beat them earlier this season in Detroit. There aren’t any trends to suggest Chicago is any better in revenge games, but you know that will be motivating them this week.
On top of that, Chicago is playing much better football since that loss in Detroit. They’ve won 3 straight, with a bye week wedging in between, and they’ve hardly played the little sisters of the poor. They beat Minnesota, which isn’t terribly impressive, but they handed Minnesota its biggest loss of the year, beating them by 29 points. They haven’t lost any other game by more than 7. They’ve also beaten Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. Their offensive line has really come together and Earl Bennett has established himself as a legitimate receiving threat for Jay Cutler.
Meanwhile, Detroit has dropped 2 of 3 since they played Chicago, with a bye week wedged in. They looked very good in Denver before their bye, but they lost to both San Francisco and Atlanta at home. They don’t really have a win over a proven veteran team yet this season, unless you count Dallas who handed them the game or these Bears, who weren’t nearly as good then as they are now. Both San Francisco and Atlanta beat them at home. I think Chicago can beat them here in Chicago.
New England Patriots 31 New York Jets 20 (+115) 6 units (+690)
Pick against spread: New England +1.5 (+100) 0 units
The Patriots haven’t lost 3 in a row since 2002. In fact, they’ve only lost 2 in a row 3 times since 2003. Good luck Jets. Going further with that, Tom Brady is 14-6 ATS off a loss as a favorite, while Belichick is 17-10 ATS off a loss as a favorite. Tom Brady is 24-10 ATS as an underdog, 13-4 ATS in his last 17, which dates back to 2003. As an underdog after a loss as a favorite, he’s 5-1 ATS.
This game reminds me a lot of last year’s game against the Steelers. The Patriots were on the road, off a loss, and underdogs. That was one of my favorite picks of last year and the Steelers won by 13 as 5 point underdogs. They’re only 1 point underdogs here, but I just can’t see them losing 3 in a row, especially with all of the other trends in their favor. That’s why this pick is my other co-pick of the week. However, instead of putting 5 on the spread line +1.5 (+100) and one on the money line (+115), I’m just putting 6 on the money line. 1 point games are rare.
Green Bay Packers 35 Minnesota Vikings 24
Pick against spread: Minnesota +13.5 (-115) 2 units
I think the Vikings are an underrated team. Christian Ponder has them playing much better football and he’s 2-0 ATS in his 2 starts. Rookie quarterbacks in general seem to be doing well ATS in the past couple years, the good ones at least (sorry Blaine Gabbert and Jimmy Clausen). Sam Bradford started last year 9-3 ATS. Cam Newton started this year 5-1 ATS. Andy Dalton is currently 7-1 ATS. Besides, the Vikings only lost one game by more than a touchdown when crappy Donovan McNabb was their starting quarterback.
That being said, I don’t want to bet heavily against the Packers here. Aaron Rodgers is playing out of his mind right now. Aaron Rodgers is on pace to go 384-530 (72.5%) for 5238 yards (10.0 YPA), and 48 touchdowns to 6 picks. Quarterbacks aren’t supposed to do that. Christian Ponder can have an awesome game here and lose ATS 42-28 or something. Rodgers is that good. I’m taking the Vikings because I think Vegas is underrating them and because they haven’t lost a lot of games by 7+ this year, but you can never be confident betting against Aaron Rodgers.
Teaser: San Diego -1, New England +7.5 4 units (-440)
LV Hilton Super Contest Picks: New England +1.5, Washington +3.5, Seattle +6.5, Indianapolis +3, Denver +3