Last week overall: 8-6
Last week ATS: 6-8 (+360/+9%)
Overall picks: 91-53 (.632)
ATS Picks: 72-67-5 (+$1630)
Lock picks: 6-4
Upset picks: 15-18
Week 10 recap: I didn’t have a winning record against the spread, but I still made money nonetheless. People who bet the same on each game, didn’t pay attention to my unit suggestions, or were betting in win-loss spread pools aren’t happy with me, but those betting straight bet who followed my suggestion, earned a 9% profit on their original bets. I did this by hitting on all my big picks and losing on all my low picks. Though I was 6-8 on the week, I was 5-1 in bets of 3 or more units, 3-0 in bets of 4 or more units, and 1-7 in bets or two or fewer. I hit with New England (5), Atlanta (4), Detroit (4), Philadelphia (3), and Denver (3) and missed with Minnesota (3). My only other victory was NY Jets (1). In straight picks, not against the spread, I was a decent, but unspectacular 8-6, going 2-2 in upsets and missing my lock pick for the 3rd straight week. First Denver lost to San Francisco week 8, Indy to Philly week 9, and now the Giants to the Cowboys week 10.
Miami Dolphins 26 Chicago Bears 17
Spread: Miami -1
Pick against spread: Miami 3 units -330
Tyler Thigpen is expected to start this one for Miami, with Chad Pennington out for the season and likely his career with yet another shoulder injury, and Chad Henne out for at least this week, if not longer with a knee injury.
Thigpen was 230 for 420 for 2608 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 12 picks in 2008 for Kansas City. He also rushed for 386 yards on 62 carries so he is mobile, which will help with left tackle Jake Long likely out.
He did only lead Kansas City to one victory in 12 starts in 2008, a 20-13 victory over Oakland. He struggles to lead consistent drives to the end zone. However, so did Chad Henne. In fact, in 9 games this season, the Dolphins have only 14 offensive touchdowns.
They win games on the strength of their kicking game, defense, and overall dominating field position. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler is on a nice little 2 game winning streak for the Bears, but that’s because Buffalo only has 13 sacks and Minnesota only has 12. The Dolphins have 23, which will force Cutler into bad throws and a few turnovers, which will help the Dolphins play their field position game.
I also expect the Dolphins supporting cast to play at 110% with their backup in the game and the Bears to not play at 100%, overlooking the Dolphins 3rd string quarterback.
Also, Miami is a +.500 team at home on a Thursday night. +.500 teams at home on a Thursday have lost twice since 2006, and one of those teams were the Lions who were in the middle of a 3 game losing streak and finished that season under .500.
Buffalo Bills 27 Cincinnati Bengals 24 upset pick
Spread: -5 Cincinnati
Pick against spread: Buffalo 3 units +300
A matchup here of two bad teams, 2-7 Bengals and the 1-8 Bills. They Bills, however, are coming off their first victory of the season, albeit a 2 point win over the 2-7 Lions who were playing without their starting quarterback.
However, since 2002, teams who win their first game after starting 0-8 are 3-0 against the spread in their next game. That record could certainly be 4-0 in a week with the Bills facing the 2-7 Bengals as a 5 point underdogs.
I’m not sure the Bills aren’t the better team straight up here. Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing decent, better than Carson Palmer, whose stats are elevated because he’s amazing in garbage time against good teams. He can only play well when his team is so far down that it doesn’t matter anymore. Plus, defensive backs have dropped countless should-be picks of his.
Palmer only put up 20 on Carolina and 20 on Cleveland. Buffalo’s defense isn’t worse than those and their offense is good enough to actually pull out a victory (unlike Carolina). I’m picking the Bills to win straight up, in a close one, and I have 5 points to work with if they lose.
Dallas Cowboys 31 Detroit Lions 27
Spread: -6.5 Dallas
Pick against spread: Detroit 2 units (-220)
Call me crazy, but I don’t think the Cowboys should be almost touchdown favorites after winning one game. I don’t think all their problems are solved, especially defensively where they still struggled to stop anyone and almost let New York back within a touchdown.
Since, teams that finish 6-10 or worse are 19-49 against the spread when favored by 6 or more. I think it’s safe to say the Cowboys won’t win more than 6 games (they’d have to go 5-2 to do that).
The Lions have also only lost by more than a touchdown twice this season, an 8 point loss and a 14 point loss. They play it close and I think Shaun Hill can move the ball and put up points on Dallas’ defense.
Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Oakland Raiders 13
Spread: -7.5 Pittsburgh
Pick against spread: Pittsburgh 1 unit (+100)
I have been waiting for Oakland to lose for weeks. After they destroyed Denver week 7, which I predicted, I have been betting against them waiting for them to fall back down to earth. That’s gotten me a loss and a push, but I’m going to bet against them again.
Pittsburgh is still a talented bunch. They looked bad against New England last week, but the Patriots are a very good team. I don’t think the Raiders can come into Heinz Field, across 3 time zones and beat Pittsburgh, who will be trying to avenge a loss to Oakland at home last year.
However, I’m only going with 1 unit because Oakland’s burned me before and might actually be a good team. This week will tell us whether or not they are. Pittsburgh’s also banged up on the offensive and defensive line.
New York Jets 27 Houston Texans 23
Spread: -7 NY Jets
Pick against spread: Houston 2 units (+200)
The Texans are playing badly lately, but their last 2 losses were by a touchdown or less, giving them 7 losses by a touchdown or less in their last 12 losses.
The Jets, meanwhile, aren’t playing well right now, beating Denver by 4 on a late PI call, getting shutout by Green Bay, and needing overtime to beat Detroit and Cleveland in their last 4 games.
This team isn’t playing like a 7-2 team. Houston is more talented than Denver, Detroit, or Cleveland and is simply getting shafted by a tough schedule. I like the Jets to win, but in a close one so I’m going with the Texans and the 7 points.
Baltimore Ravens 31 Carolina Panthers 3 lock pick
Spread: -10.5 Baltimore
Pick against spread: Baltimore 3 units (+300)
Carolina is terrible. They’re going to be on their 3rd string quarterback this week, with Jimmy Clausen likely out with a concussion. Tony Pike will be making his first career start and against Baltimore. Yikes!
Their running backs are banged up and they’ll be missed 2 starters on their offensive line. They’re also missing Dan Connor on their defense, in addition to Thomas Davis, and they can’t stop the run at all. Tampa Bay ran all over them last week. Imagine what Baltimore can do.
I don’t think this line can be high enough. However, Baltimore does always seem to shoot themselves in the foot and I don’t like double digit spreads, so I’m not putting a ton on Baltimore.
Update: Brian St. Pierre will start for the Panthers. St. Pierre has 5 career attempts, didn’t go through a training camp, and has been a stay at home dad since January. I’ll have more on why John Fox is a douche for making this move in next week’s power rankings, but this line can’t be high enough, especially for a team in the Ravens working on 10 days rest. 3 unit pick.
Cleveland Browns 27 Jacksonville Jaguars 16 upset pick
Spread: Jacksonville -1
Pick against spread: Cleveland 3 units (-330)
Cleveland is playing well right now, but simply getting screwed with their schedule. They have beaten the only sub .500 team they have played and in their last 3 games, they beat New Orleans, New England, and hung with the Jets until a minute left in overtime.
They’re much better than their 3-6 record would indicate and thus should not be underdogs here, even by 1 point. The Jags are 5-4, but they’re not as good as that record would show.
Their 5 wins this season, were against a bad Denver team, a bad Buffalo team, a bad Dallas team, and 2 good divisional foes, both of which were won in the final seconds on a 59 yard field goal and a Hail Mary respectively.
They can beat bad teams and get up for divisional foes, but good teams like San Diego and Philadelphia can crush them. Cleveland is a good team. They’re not as good as San Diego and Philly who beat them by a combined 50, but they can still beat Jacksonville by a good amount. Colt McCoy can take advantage of the Jags’ terrible pass defense and Peyton Hillis can run on them with ease.
Tennessee Titans 24 Washington Redskins 20
Spread: -7 Tennessee
Pick against spread: Washington 1 unit (+100)
The Redskins aren’t as bad as they looked on Monday Night Football. This is still at least an average team with an above average quarterback, so I feel like we’re getting good line value with Washington. Michael Vick just absolutely destroyed them.
I like how they fought back and still scored 28 points. In fact, if you take away that first quarter, they would have only lost by 3. Defense is obviously an issue for them. There’s no way around it, but they’re hardly a bad team with a bad offense.
That being said, I like this matchup for Tennessee. With Randy Moss taking men out of the box, Chris Johnson had 117 yards on 17 carries last week. He’ll get more carries this week if the game is closer, something that just wasn’t true last week.
Miami’s offense was clicking on all cylinders, eliminating Tennessee’s strong pass rush with their stronger offense line and picking on Tennessee’s mediocre secondary. Washington’s offensive line isn’t nearly as good and Donovan McNabb isn’t as mobile as he used to be.
This will keep the game closer and allow the Titans to run their way to victory. However, the 7 point spread is ridiculous. The Redskins aren’t 7 points worse than the 5-4 Titans. I’m taking Tennessee to win, but not cover.
Kansas City Chiefs 19 Arizona Cardinals 17
Spread: -9 Arizona
Pick against spread: Arizona 4 units (-440)
Both of these teams are terrible. The Chiefs do have 5 wins, but they’ve played terrible in the past few weeks, as bad as most people thought they’d be to start the season.
However, they’re still favored by 9 points, which makes no sense to me. Yes, Arizona is worse, but 9 points? I’m not going to pick this Chiefs team to beat anyone by 9 points.
They’ve only beaten two teams by more than 9 this year. The 49ers and the Jaguars with their 3rd string quarterback and that was before this last 3 week stretch where they needed overtime to beat Buffalo, lost to Oakland, and got destroyed by Denver.
Green Bay Packers 38 Minnesota Vikings 27
Spread: -3 Green Bay
Pick against spread: 2 units Green Bay (+200)
Minnesota hasn’t beaten anyone with more than 2 wins and Green Bay is at its strongest health wise since week 1, coming off a bye. The Packers would like nothing more than to deliver to finally blow to Brett Favre and the Vikings.
They’ve already beaten the Vikings once this season, but they’re a different team now, destroying Dallas and shutting out the Jets since then. This game is in Minnesota, where the Vikings play well, but I can’t see them losing this one.
Atlanta Falcons 34 St. Louis Rams 24
Spread: -3 Atlanta
Pick against spread: Atlanta 3 units (+300)
The Falcons aren’t anywhere near as good on the road as they are at home and the Rams haven’t lost at home since the opener, but I’m still going with the Falcons.
The Falcons are a very good team, deserving of their 7-2 record. They’ve gone into New Orleans and beaten the Saints so they can win on the road in tough conditions.
Both of the Falcons road losses this year were in non-dome settings. The Falcons are used to domes because that’s where they play their home games and, counting road games, are 6-0 in domes this season. The Rams have a dome.
Matt Ryan is the superior quarterback so I’m going with the team with the better quarterback and the better record on 10 days rest against a field goal spread, but I’m not putting a ton on it.
The Rams are very good at home and the Falcons have an exploitable secondary. The Falcons also could be caught looking forward to Green Bay next week. There’s a lot working against Atlanta, but we aren’t getting a lot of line value at all with St. Louis. They’re more than 3 points worse than Atlanta.
New Orleans Saints 28 Seattle Seahawks 24
Spread: -12 New Orleans
Pick against spread: Seattle 4 units (-440)
The Seahawks are a bad road team, but they do have a win in Chicago this year. I’m not going to pick them to go into the Superdome and win. However, they can still put up points on the board.
Hasselbeck is playing better of late and should get Russell Okung back this week, not like the Saints have the pass rush to take advantage of the Seahawks offensive line problems.
The Saints also should be at full strength with Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas back, but the Saints are notoriously bad against double digit spreads, 2-9 ATS in the Sean Payton era as double digit favorites. Plus, I don’t even think any team should be 12 point favorites against a good team like Seattle.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 San Francisco 49ers 16 Upset pick
Spread: -3 San Francisco
Pick against spread: Tampa Bay 3 units (+300)
This is weird. The Buccaneers are 6-3. Why are they 3 point underdogs against 3-6 San Francisco? San Fran is playing better under Troy Smith and opposing quarterbacks tend to struggle in San Francisco, where the Niners play well. They’re 2-2 in San Fran, and hung with both the 49ers and the Eagles. They were also 6-2 at home last week.
However, Tampa Bay is a good bad team that can beat bad teams. They haven’t lost to anyone who had a worse record than them so San Francisco qualifies.The teams they’ve lost to are a combined 19-8. Also, that +3 line for Tampa is ridiculous.
Philadelphia Eagles 31 New York Giants 24
Spread: -3 Philadelphia
Pick against spread: Philadelphia 2 units
The Giants lost last week because they gave up a ton of big plays. That was how they lost last season, big plays. Now they have to face the kings of big plays, the Philadelphia Eagles. Between Mike Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and LeSean McCoy, this team has no shortage of speed at the skills positions. The Giants defensive line is better equipped to contain Vick, but I can still see their secondary giving up big plays and their offense committing turnovers, which they struggle with, in a Philly victory at home.
New England Patriots 34 Indianapolis Colts 27
Spread: -3 New England
Pick against spread: New England 2 units (-20)
Normally taking Peyton Manning as an underdog is a good idea, but not against the Patriots. The Pats and Tom Brady have given Manning 2 of his 3 losses in his career as underdogs and the Pats haven’t lost at home with Brady in the regular season in 23 straight.
These are fairly evenly matched teams, but I think New England is better coached and I like them at win at home again. This is definitely going to be a high scoring one. Neither team really has a good defense and the Colts’ injuries at linebackers are really going to hurt them as they try to contain the Pats’ short throw offense and their screen game.
San Diego Chargers 37 Denver Broncos 24
Spread: -10 San Diego
Pick against spread: San Diego 1 unit
The Broncos terrible defense is prime to be destroyed by Phillip Rivers and company. The Chargers offense is amazing and the Chargers are on an amazing roll right now, winning 2 straight against good opponents with injuries at receiver.
All their receivers will be back this week and I like the Chargers to beat a double digit spread, albeit as a 1 unit pick. Don’t pay attention to the Broncos 49 last week. They aren’t good offensive team. They struggled in the red zone up to that game and will continue to do so this week against a much stronger San Diego defense.