Last week overall: 8-8
Last week ATS: 7-9 (-1285/-11 units)
Overall picks: 89-57 (.610)
Upset Picks: 3-4 (+170/+1 units)
ATS Picks: 60-81-5 (-8665/-68 units)
Survivor picks: 8-2 (NE, PIT, BAL, GB, NYG, PHI, NO, SF, DAL, SD)
Upset picks: 14-19 (+1750/+2 units)
Denver Broncos 20 New York Jets 16 Upset Pick (+240)
Pick against spread: Denver +6 (-110) 5 units (+500)
The Jets had it. Last week was their week to shine. The Patriots were on a 2 game losing streak. The Jets had never lost to the Patriots at home in the Rex Ryan era and they had never lost to the Patriots twice in the regular season in the Rex Ryan era. With a home win over the reeling Patriots, they would have control of the division and could be on their way to their first division title and home playoff game in the Rex Ryan era.
And what happened? Well, the Patriots beat them by 21. Think the Jets are going to be flat this week? The Jets are in an awful situation here. Not only are they coming off a brutal divisional loss in their biggest game of the season, they have to travel on a short week, play in Denver’s thin air against the Broncos’ offense, which, hate it or love it, is the most bizarre offense we’ve seen in the NFL in a long time. The Broncos are at a huge advantage because not only do the Jets not have a ton of tape on it, the Jets don’t have a ton of time to prepare for it either.
Road teams are 3-8 ATS on Thursday since 2010. This makes sense. Not only do they have a shorter week, but they also have to travel and play on the road. Now going to the Jets loss last week, non-divisional favorites of 3+ are 33-46 ATS since 2008 after a divisional loss, 7-11 ATS on the road. The Jets are 2-1 ATS in the Rex Ryan era after a loss to the Patriots, but look at the scores, 17-6 win, 10-6 loss, 24-6 win. They’ve scored 47 total points in those 3 games, more than half of which were against Miami this year and Miami flat out didn’t show up to that game defensively. The Jets still didn’t have a first down until midway through the 2nd quarter.
The Broncos have been playing better football since Tebow took over. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny they’re playing better. You can debate how much of that actually has to do with him all you want, but they are playing better football. Tebow kept them in all 3 of his starts last year, he almost led a 16 point comeback after being put in midway through the 3rd against San Diego this year, and in 4 starts this year, he’s 3-1. They might not be great, but they’re good enough to take advantage of the Jets in a really bad situation. Also, this line is ridiculous. The Broncos would be +12 in New York? What?! This is my co-pick of the week.
Baltimore Ravens 27 Cincinnati Bengals 13
Pick against spread: Baltimore -7 (-105) 2 units (+0)
The Ravens have beaten the Steelers twice, the Jets, and the Texans, but have lost to the Titans, Jaguars, Seahawks, and barely beat Arizona. What?! Well, it’s actually quite simple. They just don’t get up for bad teams. Cincinnati is not a bad team. In fact, they almost beat Pittsburgh last week. They might not have won, but just the sheer fact that they hung with them did a lot towards proving they were for real.
The Ravens loss to the Seahawks last week did two things to affect this game. It gave the Ravens extra motivation, as the Ravens are 5-2 ATS off a loss as a favorite since John Harbaugh take over in 2008. It also skewed this line a little bit. The Bengals were +3 at home for Pittsburgh last week, the equivalent of being +9 on the road. They lost ATS. Now they play the Ravens, who beat the Steelers twice. Don’t you think after losing ATS to the Steelers, the Bengals would be at least +9 for the Ravens? Well, because the Ravens lost last week, they’re just +7.
More on the line, the Bengals are missing a key player here. Leon Hall, their top cornerback, went down for the season with an Achilles injury against Pittsburgh. This is a huge loss as the drop off from their #1 to their #2 cornerback is huge. Leon Hall is one of the best in the league. Nate Clements has struggled as the #2 this season. Adam Jones, who hasn’t been a starter in a while, will get the start as the #2 cornerback. I don’t feel the line takes this into account much, if at all.
The Ravens may be in their first of two home games as favorites (San Francisco next week), a situation teams are 28-43 ATS in since 2010. However, when the first game of those 2 is divisional and the 2nd is non-divisional, the record is 12-10 ATS, which I feel negates that trend. The Ravens will be plenty focused this week for Cincinnati, who would leapfrog them in the divisional standings with a win here and push Baltimore into 3rd. If they win, they’re in 1st.
The only reason this isn’t a bigger bet is because Cincinnati did hang with Pittsburgh last week. In fact, they’ve hung with everyone this season. They haven’t lost by more than 7. Also, the Bengals are 15-8 ATS as a dog since 2009. However, the Bengals haven’t been 7 point underdogs yet this season. They haven’t faced a challenge like the Ravens yet. It’s one thing to hang within 7 of the Steelers at home. It’s another thing to hang within 7 of an angry Ravens team in Baltimore, while you’re missing your best defensive player.
Cleveland Browns 13 Jacksonville Jaguars 9
Pick against spread: Cleveland +1 (-105) 1 unit (+100)
The Browns are terrible. They can’t do anything offensively, scoring a mere 12 points against the Rams, who have one of the worst defenses in the league. The Jaguars aren’t much better. They might have beat the Colts last week, but they didn’t look very impressive doing it. In Blaine Gabbert’s 7 career starts, he’s completed more than 50% of his passes 3 times, thrown for fewer than 100 yards twice, and thrown for fewer than 120 yards 4 times. The Jaguars have a good defense, which is more than the Browns can say, but there isn’t a lot of talent here.
I wanted to pick the Jaguars because I think they’re the better team. They’ve actually been playing alright football of late. They’ve hung within 10 of Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Houston and they beat Baltimore, as well as the lowly Colts last week. However, the Jaguars aren’t in a very good spot here. Favorites before being divisional dogs are 48-71 ATS since 2008. The Jaguars play the Texans next week.
The Jaguars are also coming off a game against the Colts. This might not be the same anymore because the Colts suck now, but the Jaguars are just 5-11 ATS under Jack Del Rio after playing the Colts. Jaguars are just 12-24 ATS in non-divisional games since 2008. Divisional games seem to be all that matter to them and though there’s not enough data on this to make any clear assumptions, the fact that this is a non-divisional game between two divisional games doesn’t help their chances, especially since the Browns aren’t very good. There isn’t a clear side right now and I don’t really want to bet on the Browns, but I’m taking the home team for a unit.
Detroit Lions 23 Carolina Panthers 21
Pick against spread: Carolina +7 (-115) 5 units (-575)
Detroit has their biggest game of the season next week. Think they could be a little flat for the 2-7 Panthers this week? Favorites before being divisional dogs are 48-71 ATS since 2008. Besides, they don’t just play any team as divisional dogs next week. They play the Packers. Teams are 1-6 ATS before playing the Packers this season, as long as there isn’t a bye in between. It’s also a Thanksgiving Game. The Lions are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 years before their annual Thanksgiving Game.
On top of that, this is a classic sandwich game. The Lions are favorites before and after being underdogs. Favorites after losing as a dog and before being dogs are 45-68 ATS since 2008. Furthermore, this is actually a divisional sandwich. The Lions are non-divisional favorites, after losing as divisional dogs and before being divisional dogs. Teams in this situation are 5-11 ATS since 2008, 9-18 ATS since 2002.
The Lions are playing Cam Newton and the Panthers. A few weeks ago, Cam Newton and the Panthers were known for being the kings of backdoor covers. Cam Newton started out his career 4-0-1 before a recent 1-3 stretch. That 1-3 stretch was likely caused by the Panthers being favorites in 3 straight games. Carolina is 3-1-1 ATS as underdogs this year, with that one loss coming in Atlanta by 14 in a game where the yardage totals were equal and the Panthers actually led by 3 going into the 4th quarter. Besides, I think the Panthers are being undervalued this week because of their horrible loss last week. Bad teams have struggled off their bye this season, probably the reason for their loss last week.
On top of that, the Lions just aren’t playing good football right now. They’re not getting Jahvid Best this week most likely and they’re 1-3 since their 5-0 start, including a 4 interception performance by Matt Stafford last week. Speaking of Stafford, he’s playing with a broken finger and throwing to a banged up Calvin Johnson.
Even when they were 5-0, they weren’t that impressive. They needed comebacks to beat Dallas and Minnesota and they weren’t that impressive looking in their win over Chicago. I’m not picking the Panthers to pull the upset on the road, but they’ve hung within a touchdown of the Bears, Saints, and Packers this season. I think they can do the same this week against the Lions. This is my other co-pick of the week.
Green Bay Packers 37 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17
Pick against spread: Green Bay -14 (-110) 3 units (-330)
Green Bay is just in a zone right now. Yes, they’ve struggled a bit on the road, letting Minnesota, Carolina, and San Diego hang within a touchdown of them. Yes, they’ve struggled with elite offenses, surrendering 69 points in 2 games to the only two elite offenses they’ve faced, New Orleans and San Diego. But, guess what? Neither of those situations are in play here.
The Packers are at home. How good have they been at home? They’ve won 4 games by an average of about 23 points per game. Yes, they’ve played Minnesota, St. Louis, and Denver in 3 of those games, but they’ve won those 3 by an average of 28.3 points per game, covering as double digit favorites on each occasion.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay just doesn’t look good. They were able to hang with a lot of teams last year, but they’ve been blown out in 2 of their games this year, losing big time to Houston and San Francisco, so it’s not like their immune from being blown out any more. Their offense just looks out of sync and they’re missing key players on a young defense that wasn’t all that great to begin with.
Rarely will you see me put more than 2 units on a double touchdown favorite, but I’m doing it here. The Packers are rolling right now off a huge MNF win. Since 2002, teams that win by 21+ on MNF are 23-10 ATS, 13-5 ATS when that MNF game was divisional. The Packers are 31-15 ATS since 2009, including 15-6 ATS at home, 9-1 ATS in their last 10 at home.
They have already covered 3 times as double digit home favorites this season, blowing out crappy teams in the process. They might not win this one by 28 points like they’ve been averaging, but the Buccaneers aren’t very good and look due for another at least 14+ point loss, probably 20+ point loss.
Buffalo Bills 27 Miami Dolphins 17 Upset Pick (+110) 5 units (-500)
Pick against spread: Buffalo +1 (+100) 0 units
The Bills started the year looking like this would be the year they would finally make the playoffs. They began the year 3-0, beating the Patriots for the first time since 2003 and though they had a hiccup against Cincinnati, they bounced back well to beat the Eagles and improve to 4-1. Since then, the Bills are 1-3, losing their last two by an embarrassing 71-18. Ironically enough, before that two game stretch, they gave Ryan Fitzpatrick an out of nowhere 6 year 60 million dollar contract extension. He’s responded by going 35 of 62 for 337 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 5 picks.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, seem to have found their groove by winning 2 in a row. Or at least that’s what people seem to think. Remember who they’ve beaten. They’ve beaten the Redskins and the Chiefs, two teams that are currently in the bottom 5 of my Power Rankings. Meanwhile, yes, the Bills have looked awful, but they’ve played tough teams. I think they should be able to bounce back here against a Miami team that isn’t very good and is looking pretty overrated by Vegas.
Miami is a terrible home team under Tony Sparano. I know they won here last week, but since Sparano took over in 2008, the Dolphins are just 8-21 ATS at home, as opposed to 19-10 ATS on the road. Including last year, the Dolphins are 2-10 straight up at home. Since 2008, they are 2-11 ATS at home as favorites, 4-13 ATS as favorites in general. They beat every single one of those trends last week, but they’re still strong trends and they’re not playing Washington this week. They’re playing a Buffalo team that blew out Washington earlier a few weeks ago. One more trend, Buffalo is an underdog off a loss of 29+. Teams are 62-39 ATS in this situation since 2002.
This line suggests that Buffalo and Miami are basically equal, which is ridiculous, especially considering Miami’s struggles at home. The reasons this isn’t a 5 unit spread bet are twofold. Miami has been playing well in their last 2, as opposed to Buffalo, who has been doing the opposite. Also, Buffalo plays the Jets next week. Favorites before being divisional dogs are 48-71 ATS since 2008. I know they’re not favorites here, but road dogs of less than 3 are 5-8 ATS in that situation as well. But I’m still putting 4 units on Buffalo. Well, not really. Instead of putting 4 on the spread and one on the money line, I’m putting it all on the money line and hoping the Dolphins don’t win by 1.
Oakland Raiders 23 Minnesota Vikings 17
Pick against spread: Oakland -1 (-115) 1 unit (+100)
I wanted to take Oakland in this one because I think Minnesota could be really flat off of last week’s loss to the Packers. Teams that lose by 21+ on MNF are 10-22 ATS the next week since 2002, 6-12 ATS after a divisional loss. The Raiders are also in their 2nd straight road game, a situation teams are 152-116 ATS in since 2008.
However, we’re getting no line value here. A week ago this line would have been maybe -1 in favor of Minnesota, probably -1.5. That means this line has shifted 2-3 points in the last week. Is that deserved? I don’t think so. Yes, the Raiders beat the Chargers, but the Chargers suck. The Chiefs beat them and we all know that they’re not very good. The only teams the Chargers have beaten are the Donovan McNabb Minnesota Vikings, the Chad Henne Miami Dolphins, the Kyle Orton Denver Broncos, and the Chiefs, who get revenge on them and none of those teams lost to the Chargers by more than 10 points.
Meanwhile, the Vikings looked awful last week against Green Bay, but Green Bay is just really, really good. I don’t think enough happened for this line to legitimately shift 3 whole points in a week. Besides, I had the Vikings as one of the most underrated teams in the league going into last week. They had been playing better football with Ponder under center and even with McNabb under center, they only lost one game by double digits.
As strange as it sounds, losing to the Packers by 38 shouldn’t change that. The Packers are that good. The Vikings have been playing much better football with Ponder under center. You just can’t tell because somehow Ponder got stuck playing the Packers in two of his first 3 career starts. On top of all this, the Raiders are just 1-4 ATS since 2003 as road favorites.
All this makes a tough decision. The trends say the Raiders are the right side, but we’re getting absolutely no line value with them and I think the Vikings are still one of the league’s most underrated squads. I’m picking the Raiders because I think they can win straight up here and because I don’t want to bet on what could be a very deflated Viking team after last week’s loss, but I’m not confident in either side here.
Dallas Cowboys 34 Washington Redskins 10
Pick against spread: Dallas -9 (+115) 1 unit (-100)
The Redskins suck. It’s really that simple. I can’t tell who is worse between John Beck and Rex Grossman. John Beck checks down every other snap and can’t complete anything longer than 5 yards and Rex Grossman is erratic with turnovers. Tim Hightower is gone as well and neither Ryan Torain nor Roy Helu can run the ball. Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson are both out at receiver as well and they have several injuries on the offensive line.
I would really not be surprised if they didn’t win another game. It’s just a shame they got out to that hot 3-1 start because it cost them a chance at Andrew Luck. They might deserve him more than anyone else in the league. There aren’t any prevalent trends here, though home divisional dogs of 3+ are 42-56 ATS since 2008. I’m just not betting on Washington.
San Francisco 49ers 20 Arizona Cardinals 17
Pick against spread: Arizona +9.5 (-110) 3 units (-330)
The Cardinals were 1-6 with Kevin Kolb and are now 2-0 with John Skelton. Skelton hasn’t played well, but he’s been decent enough for this team to win against the Rams and the Eagles. The 49ers will be a tougher test, but I still like Arizona’s chances to cover here for several reasons.
For one, this is a divisional revenge game for the Cardinals. Dogs of 7+ are 39-28 ATS trying to avenge a divisional loss of 21+ since 2002. The 49ers embarrassed the Cardinals week 17 of last year. Arizona is also in a good situation in their 2nd of 2 road games as dogs of 7+. Teams in that situation are 48-26 ATS since 2002, 8-2 ATS after covering in their first game.
Meanwhile, while this will be a divisional revenge game for Arizona, it will mean absolutely nothing to the 49ers who have basically already clinched the division. The 49ers primary objective right now is to prove their doubters wrong. Beating Arizona isn’t going to do that. However, they play Baltimore next week. They’ll be much more focused on that one than this one, especially after beating the Giants last week in a thriller. Divisional favorites of 7+ before being dogs are 32-56 ATS since 2002.
Besides, it’s not like the 49ers are blowing teams out. They struggled to put away both the Browns and the Redskins. Terrible Washington hung within 8 of them, while Cleveland hung within 10, but the 49ers needed a late field goal to even do that. They’re not a team meant to blow other teams out and it shows. Arizona is at the very least no worse than Cleveland and Washington. Also, as horrific as Arizona has been, they’ve only lost by double figures twice this year and both of those times were with Kevin Kolb. As I said earlier, they’re playing better with John Skelton.
St. Louis Rams 24 Seattle Seahawks 13
Pick against spread: St. Louis -1 (-120) 3 units (-360)
Since acquiring Brandon Lloyd, the Rams have been a better team. In his 2nd game with the team, the Rams beat the Saints for their first win of the season. In his 2nd game with Sam Bradford, the Rams beat the Browns for their 2nd win of the season. It took him a little bit to get into a rhythm with first AJ Feeley and Sam Bradford, but now that Bradford is in a better rhythm with him, the Rams offense looks, at the very least significantly less miserable than it did when they started 0-7.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks are coming off a home win over Baltimore, which seems to have inflated this line a little bit. Baltimore may be a good team, but they’ve also lost to Jacksonville, Tennessee, and almost Arizona so I don’t know how much credit you can give the Seahawks for their win last week. Besides, now they have to go on the road, where they’re a miserable 12-26 ATS since 2007. That’s opposed to 25-13 ATS at home. Besides, NFC West teams are 9-18 ATS on the road in the division since 2009.
The Rams are in a bit of a tough situation in their first of two as home favorites. Teams are 28-43 ATS in this situation since 2010. However, I’m still taking them here. I don’t like Seattle’s chance to win straight up here on the road against St. Louis, who was a very good home team last year when they were a solid team.
They’re playing better football of late and are starting to look more like the solid 7-9 bunch they were last season. I think they’re underrated because of their record at 2-7, but remember how brutal their early season schedule was and now they’ve gotten better lately. This line suggests that the Seahawks are 2 points better than them and I don’t agree with that and that doesn’t even take into account how bad the Seahawks and NFC West teams are on the road in general.
Atlanta Falcons 24 Tennessee Titans 17 Survivor Pick (8-2 NE, PIT, BAL, GB, NYG, PHI, NO, SF, DAL, SD)
Pick against spread: Atlanta Falcons -6 (-105) 1 unit (+0)
There are two opposing sets of trends here. On one hand, the Falcons are really good at home. Matt Ryan is 17-10 ATS at home and has only lost 5 games at home in his career, 4 times since his rookie season. Those 4 games were all against teams that would eventually win 11+ games, assuming the 2011 Saints and 2011 Packers do so, which they almost definitely will. The Titans? They’d be lucky to win 8. They hardly fit that group.
The Falcons may be coming off an emotional home loss to the Saints in overtime thanks to one of the most bonehead coaching decisions of all time by Mike Smith. However, the Falcons have responded well after losing in the Mike Smith era. Like really well. Like 15-3 ATS well.
On the flip side, Tennessee is in their 2nd straight road game as underdogs, a situation teams are 74-50 ATS in since 2008. Meanwhile, the Falcons are in their first of 2 home games as favorites, with Minnesota coming to town next week. This is a situation teams are 28-43 ATS in since 2010. These trends are actually combinable. Since 2002, home teams in their 1st of 2 as favorites are 34-57 ATS against teams in their 2nd of 2 road games as underdogs.
Ultimately, I’m going to side with the earlier set of trends. Trends on an individual team level are more powerful and that 15-3 ATS trend with the Falcons off a loss is the most powerful of all. The Falcons haven’t had any trouble at home with bad or average teams and they never seem to have any negative residual effects after a loss. This is only a 1 unit bet however because so many different things are conflicting here.
Chicago Bears 23 San Diego Chargers 20
Pick against spread: San Diego +3.5 (-110) 1 unit (-110)
I don’t trust either of these teams. 5 weeks ago, the Bears were a mess. Now they look like legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Jay Cutler is playing the best extended stretch of football of his career. Matt Forte looks like a top 5 running back. Earl Bennett has stepped up as Cutler’s favorite target. This offensive line can actually block and Mike Martz hasn’t made any moronic play calling in a long time. I don’t know if I buy this. How long can they keep this up?
On the flip side, the Chargers always get better as the season goes on, but what if they just don’t this year. Philip Rivers has never played this poorly and if you forget history and just look at this season, they’re a 4-5 team on a 4 game losing streak that has beaten the Donovan McNabb led Vikings, the Kyle Orton led Broncos, the Chad Henne led Dolphins, and the Chiefs, who got revenge on them, and they haven’t won any of those games by more than 10 points. That’s pretty terrible, but at the same time, what if this is the week they’re actually good?
I don’t have a good enough read on either team to make a strong bet either way. The Bears could look awesome again or they could revert to crap. The Chargers, meanwhile, could continue playing like crap or they could finally turn it on and become awesome. I’m taking the points because this line is bigger than 3 points and also because of Philip Rivers’ awesome career ATS record as an underdog. Excluding games against his arch enemy Tom Brady, Rivers is 10-6 ATS as an underdog, 8-2 ATS after week 8. However, I don’t really feel strongly either way. Anything could happen in this game.
Philadelphia Eagles 31 New York Giants 27 Upset Pick (+200)
Pick against spread: Philadelphia +5 (-110) 5 units (-500)
This line opened at -3 when it looked like Michael Vick could play. I didn’t immediately bet on either side because I like Philadelphia this week regardless of whether or not Vick plays (more on that later, obviously) and I was hoping as it looked less and less likely Vick would play that the line would increase. The line has increased slightly, going up to -5 as it looks like Vince Young is going to get the start for Philadelphia. The line has been steady there for most of the day and Vick is all but ruled out so it doesn’t look like this line is going to get any higher. Besides, if Vegas really had any real uncertainty about Vick’s availability, there wouldn’t even be a line posted.
I was hoping for more than a 2 point swing with Vick being ruled out, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think a mere 2 point swing is fair. The mere 2 point swing could also mean this is a trap line (more on that later). The common belief right now seems to be, the Eagles are 3-6 and now Vick is out. They’re screwed. However, it’s not like Vick is what’s holding this team together. He’s not playing particularly well right now. I’d say he’s more of the problem than anything right now. He’s clearly not healthy right now and teams have figured out how to exploit his weaknesses, something they couldn’t do very well last season.
On top of that, Vick just isn’t as motivated as he was last year. I’m not calling him unmotivated or anything, but his motivation is just not at the same level it was last season. Last season he had so much to prove in his first year as a starter after being released from jail. Now that he’s in his 2nd year and he earned back a huge contract, that same level of motivation just isn’t there, which makes sense.
Vince Young, on the other hand, is the opposite. He’s very motivated. He didn’t get the starting job he was looking for in the offseason, but if he puts together a couple strong starts this season in relief of Vick, that could be a different story this offseason. He could very well get a starting job or at least a crack at a starting job. He’s also fully healthy and he can do some of the same things Vick can do, move around in the pocket, extend plays, pick up chunks of yardage on the ground, and, of course, he’s got his cannon arm. He’s not the most accurate or fundamentally sound quarterback, but neither is Vick. I don’t think the drop off is going to be that huge.
I really like Vince Young and I think he’s deserving of a starting job. I really believe he never got his fair chance in Tennessee. Jeff Fisher never wanted him. Bud Adams made him draft him and thus Fisher would always bench him at the first sign of any trouble. Even still, Young’s winning percentage in Tennessee was roughly .650, where they were under .500 when he didn’t start and that includes a random 12-3 year by Kerry Collins.
Besides, Andy Reid has had success in the past with backup quarterbacks. Andy Reid makes quarterbacks look better than they are. Look at former McNabb backups AJ Feeley, Jeff Garcia and Kevin Kolb. They did well in relief of McNabb in Philadelphia, but when other teams traded for them or signed them, they stunk. Hell, look at McNabb. He stunk once he left Philadelphia.
This is a last stand game for Philadelphia. Contrary to popular belief, they are not definitely out of it. They’re about 95% out of it, but not 100%. If they win here, they’re 2 back in the division with 6 to go. Not impossible. If they lose here, they’re basically 5 out with 6 to go as they’ll be 4 back and they won’t have the tiebreaker. That’s pretty impossible.
They won in a last stand type game when they were 1-4 and needed to beat Washington. I think they have one of their best games, if not their best game of the season here for that reason. I also expect, as we’ve seen before, Vince Young’s supporting cast to step up and play 110% to compensate for the loss of Vick. Veteran teams typically do well in their first game without their starting quarterback and as I’ve said before, this is especially true in Philadelphia under Andy Reid.
In case they needed any more motivation, this is a divisional revenge game. Teams trying to avenge a loss as 7+ divisional favorites are 33-25 ATS since 2002 and 92-65 ATS since 1989. As underdogs, teams in that situation are 10-6 ATS since 2002 and 23-11 ATS since 1989. Andy Reid in particular is awesome in divisional revenge games, going 25-12 ATS in that situation since he took over in 1999.
Now let’s move onto the Giants. This game won’t mean nearly as much to them as it does to Philadelphia. If Philadelphia loses, they’re done. If the Giants lose, they’re still 2 up on the division. Obviously they won’t completely overlook their division rival Eagles, but they won’t have the same level of motivation as the Eagles. Furthermore, this is a sandwich game for them. They’re favorites after losing as underdogs and before being underdogs. Teams in this situation are 45-68 ATS since 2008. The Giants lost as dogs in San Francisco last week and head to New Orleans next week.
Besides, the Giants always seem to blow a strong start to the season. Since Tom Coughlin took over, they are 47-17 straight up in the first half of the season and 25-33 straight up in the second half of the season. Weeks 9-12 are especially brutal for them, as they are 10-18 ATS under Tom Coughlin in those 4 weeks since he took over in 2004. What better way to blow a strong start to the season than by losing here in a game that they could have finished off their division rival Eagles with a win, especially since it’s the Eagles. Tom Coughlin is a mere 1-5 ATS as favorites against the Eagles as head coach of the Giants.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, there’s a good chance this is a trap line. The definition of a trap line is simple. A trap line is whenever all the trends say one side, but there is absolutely no line value and the public is pounding the side opposite of the trends, yet the line isn’t moving. Vegas knows about trends. They’re not stupid. They know the trends are saying Philadelphia this week so they’re keeping the line small in hopes that everyone bets on New York and it’s working. A large majority of the money is on New York. That explains why the line only moved 2 points even though Vick is out.
This is my 3rd and final co-pick of the week. I expect the Eagles to give 110% here to compensate for the loss of Michael Vick, who is overrated, to get revenge on the Giants, who embarrassed them as underdogs earlier this season, and most importantly to save their season. Besides, Andy Reid coached teams always do better as the season goes on. The Giants are in an opposite spot. They always get worse as the season goes on and they struggle when they have chances to put teams away and when they’re favored against the Eagles. This game also won’t mean nearly as much to them with New Orleans next week and having lost to the 49ers last week in demoralizing fashion.
New England Patriots 34 Kansas City Chiefs 10
Pick against spread: New England -14.5 (-110) 3 units
I find it ridiculous that people wrote Brady and Belichick off after 2 losses. There have been so many times people have written the Patriots off, only for them to come out the next week and destroy the opposition. They did so last week beating the Jets as underdogs by 21 points. People need to learn from history.
Going forward with learning from history, if history is any indication, the Patriots will destroy the Chiefs again this week. Remember what the Patriots did last season after losing to the Browns. They beat the Steelers as underdogs and then didn’t drop a single regular season game the rest of the way. They play nothing but sub .500 teams for the rest of the season, until a week 17 matchup with the fading Bills, who could easily be under .500 by then. They could easily go 13-3 starting with this week. Belichick is like an elephant. He never forgets. Not only does he have an awesome ATS record as underdogs, since he took over in 2000, the Patriots are 30-16 ATS the week after being underdogs.
Besides, the Chiefs suck. They’ve played two good teams all season (the Bills and the Lions) and neither of those teams are that great. They still lost both of those games by 34 or more points. The Patriots are their toughest opponent yet. They should have no trouble blowing them out. Hell, the Dolphins blew them out. The Raiders blew them out late last season, as did the Ravens in the playoffs, and all those games were with Matt Cassel in the lineup.
Cassel is out this week, for the rest of the season actually, and I really wouldn’t be surprised if the Chiefs just gave up. They’re 4-5, after losses to the Broncos and the Chiefs, and now they’re missing their starting quarterback, on top of key contributors like Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki, and Eric Berry. Like with the Packers, this is one of the rare occasions where I will put more than 2 units on a double touchdown favorite.
LV Hilton Super Contest: Denver +6, Philadelphia +6.5, Carolina +7, Buffalo +2, Arizona +9.5 (22-28)